A proud man is seldom a grateful man, for he never thinks he gets as much as he deserves. – Henry Ward Beecher
It’s easy in today’s world to get swept up in the swell of negativity that bombards us constantly. 24-hour news cycles and social media posts intended to cause outrage and dissent. It may seem like an impossible chore to block out all this negativity.
With the busy lives we lead compounded with the increase in daily stress, you can fall into a “negativity cycle.” You may find quick spurts of thankfulness, but almost instantly, you get swept back into the dark side.
The good news is that being more grateful is a natural habit of changing just by practicing better mindfulness. Becoming more grateful can be as simple as stepping back and realizing that what we have might be more than we ever bargained for.
Definition of Gratefulgrate· ful | \\\\ ˈgrāt-fəl \\\\
1a: appreciative of benefits receivedb: expressing gratitude grateful thanks
b: pleasing by reason of comfort supplied or discomfort alleviated
For me, grateful has always meant merely appreciating what we have. Society puts too much pressure on people to always be one-upping their neighbors. Social media reminds us of this with constant posts of our friends showing off their new house, or car, or expensive dinner.
We need the best new car or a bigger house just so we can feed our egos, but instead, we should be grateful for all we have.
I can admittedly be guilty of this at times in wanting more. It’s more out of a desire to want more beautiful things, and sometimes I attribute those nicer things to achieving success. It takes my level-headed wife to reel me back in and remind me that I am already successful and should be grateful for what we do have because it’s more than many people have. I need to remember that I have healthy, intelligent caring daughters, a roof over our heads, clothes on our backs, a stable marriage, and many other things.
We need to focus more on what we do have as opposed to what we don’t. When you become more grateful, you begin to block out negative emotions. Therefore, you find yourself happier.
Showing gratitude doesn’t always have to be about significant accomplishments. Everyone wants a little fanfare in their life when something momentous happens, but you can also express appreciation for smaller things as well. At your next BBQ, let the cook know how great their burger was. Us cooks appreciate a good compliment as do most people.
5 Ways To Be More Grateful In Life
Find new things to be grateful for
Try to find different things each day to be grateful for. It’s easy to always be thankful for the same things, like family, friends, and loved ones. Expand your horizons and notice new things each day that you are grateful for. Some suggest keeping a journal to keep track of what you were grateful for on that particular day. Journaling can also change your perception. Seeing these thoughts in writing and reflecting on them can be a powerful motivator.
Let people know
Make sure to express your feelings of gratitude to the people around you. Thank someone for going out of their way to help you. Let your loved ones, friends, co-workers know how much you appreciate them and how grateful you are that they’re in your life. Everyone likes a compliment now and again. Focus on all things positive with your loved ones.
There is no better way to allow you to see all that you have in life than to volunteer for those who are less fortunate than you. Volunteer at a soup kitchen on Thanksgiving morning or help out once a week at a hospital or veterans’ home. It will warm your heart to see the reactions and faces of the people you help who are less fortunate. Even something as simple as helping out at your church or synagogue for an event will go a long way toward helping you be more grateful. Here is a website that can help point you in the right direction for volunteering.
Don’t dream about what you could be doing, be present for what is happening right now, right in front of you. Appreciate all that you have at that moment. I’d always rather be on a beach with nothing to do, but I know, in reality, that can’t happen right now and might not ever happen, and that’s OK. It’s ok to dream and have aspirations, but don’t forget what you have right now. Life is going to go on with or without you. Why not participate in it while it’s happening?
For some people, complaining is the norm. It’s their means of communicating from morning until night. Being around people who complain can be draining on others. Everyone wants more money or a better job. If you see yourself heading down the road to complaining about what you don’t have, stop and replace those thoughts and be thankful for what you do have!
It’s easy to be more grateful if you take the time to realize what you do have in life right in front of you. Practice an attitude of gratitude, and you will find more happiness in your life.
How do you show gratitude, and what are you thankful for? Please comment below and share with a friend.
Being grateful is something that I’ve been working on a lot this year. Appreciating the little things like hearing birds singing in the trees or the taste of a nice cup of tea can really lift your mood and outlook on life. The next thing I need to do is start a gratitude journal.
The little things are sometimes the best.
The fact that we are born human is itself a blessing we should be grateful for. A lot of times we tend to get carried away by our achievements. Instead we should sit back and be grateful for the opportunities. Lovely read.
This is a perfect article to read right before Thanksgiving! There’s so much to be grateful for, the mindset of gratitude is a true key to happiness
It never fails when I’m in a bad mood that something small pops up that changes it. It could be all the traffic lights are green on my way to work, a front parking spot, a red bird or a warm breeze. Silly things. But I think it’s recognizing them and being thankful.
This is actually very good and very needed. It goes long with mindful attention and being present. I literally have to start to think of my feet and feel the ground beneath my feet and it settles me. Then I think of everything going on right now that is good and try to let that feeling take over all the stress. For instance, right now after spending the morning at the park with a very overwhelmed toddler having a meltdown in my arms while I tried to stay as long as possible for my 6-year-old, I am now home trying to work and yet my toddler keeps talking to me. I’m getting frustrated trying to read this post and answer questions. But your post actually helped me get re-centered. And in being recentered I am remembering the amazing feelings I had when the other foster home my then baby now toddler was in placed him in my arms and how elated I was that God had blessed me with a baby of my own FOREVER! And you’re right! Even in chaos, we can find so much to be thankful for. Thanks for this post!
You are an amazing woman Alexandra.
Being grateful is so important in our life! Being grateful is being positive about everything around us. Loved the last option of eliminating any complaints and instead viewing the bright side of things. Let’s be grateful for life itself!
I think it’s important to be grateful in order to be really happy. Even on our worst days we can all find something to be grateful for. Sometimes, we just have to focus on the positive instead of the negative.
There is plenty of stuff we should be grateful for and sometimes we forget to remember those things. Those are some great points to know and actually quite neede by most of us.