The power of gratitude
"If the only prayer you ever say is “Thank You”, that will be enough."
- Eckhart Tolle
We were raised knowing that it is polite to say "thank you" when someone helps us out or gives us something. It's a common courtesy most people abide by and is the polite thing to do. Expressing gratitude toward others is almost an afterthought for most people. However, expressing gratitude towards others is merely scratching the surface when considering everything in life there is to be grateful for. Sometimes we can feel grateful just to be alive or for having our basic needs met. When we are being grateful, it can take away many of our reasons to shift into negative attitudes or emotions. Gratitude is powerful!
Science tells us that gratitude can help improve our physical and psychological health. It can help us sleep better and improve our sense of wellbeing. It almost seems magical how giving thanks can make us feel good about what's going right in our lives, especially when not everything seems to be going well. Practicing gratitude can help us gain perspective on the most important aspects of our lives. Sometimes, the immediacy of a negative situation can seem overwhelming, but in the grand scheme of things, it pales in comparison.
If life does not seem to be going our way at times, it can be difficult to find reasons to be grateful. We may want to look for reasons to be upset or depressed. It can be easy to get sucked into a world of negativity. Gratitude can become the antidote to our sorrows. It can be an instant mood-changing elixir. It can be as simple as reframing our thoughts to find the good in any negative situation. We can choose to focus on the good, knowing the pitfalls and setbacks are all part of the rollercoaster ride of life. We can also be grateful, knowing that even the seemingly worst of times don't last, especially when we choose to move on.
What are you grateful for right now? What unfortunate part of your past are you grateful for now that you see it more clearly in hindsight? There is always something to be grateful for, we just have to be willing to step outside our egos long enough to recognize it. Our past can help us create better futures for ourselves. It's all part of the learning and growing we do in life, if we are willing to put in the effort. That in itself is something to be grateful for. If we want to make the most out of life, we can see the past and present for what it is, and be grateful for the opportunity to create a more fulfilling life moving forward.
Healthline: The Benefits of Gratitude and How to Get Started
Forbes: Make Gratitude A Habit