Stop and smell the roses…
How often do we just pause…? Pretty much anyone you talk to these days feels the increased pressures of life and struggle to just keep calm. We are so stressed due to the pressures of economics, relationships and work, just to mention a few. And if you’re having to work two or more jobs to make ends meet, then it’s even worse.
Perhaps the problem is that we feel we don’t have the luxury of time to just stop and listen, just to stop and take in the fresh morning air – even though it will only take you a few seconds to just switch off and absorb the beauty around you, and smell the roses.
There is a substantial amount of research to support the idea that experiencing gratitude can positively impact both your mental/emotional state and your ability to achieve the life you want.
Gratitude is simply “the quality of being thankful”, nothing more and nothing less; just a simple “I am grateful.”
Have you ever been in a situation where you were chopping up some veggies and the knife nearly took off your finger, or perhaps you avoided a potentially severe car accident by the skin of your teeth? In that moment you feel so thankful for the fact that you survived and are alive for another day! Suddenly you begin to appreciate everything you have, your health, your family, friends – you get the warm sense of absolute appreciation for everything you have.
Research has shown that gratitude is closely related to happiness (people who feel gratitude on a regular basis self-report being happier), and many studies show, for instance, that happiness is not dependent on income, social position, or age. Researchers have found that some people simply approach their lives with an attitude of thankfulness — and some people rarely feel thankful at all, no matter how wealthy, powerful, beautiful, or healthy they may be.
There was a great little article on Inc.com a couple of years ago by Goeffrey James about the power of gratitude. He talks about gratitude as “an emotional muscle,” one that can (and should) be used and strengthened. He notes, and I completely agree:
People who approach life with a sense of gratitude are constantly aware of what’s wonderful in their life. Because they enjoy the fruits of their successes, they seek out more success. And when things don’t go as planned, people who are grateful can put failure into perspective.
I am of the opinion that people who are grateful draw success into their own lives as well as the lives of others, because others will want to be around them and that gratitude / attitude will latch on to them too.
For example: Customers (and potential customers) love to feel that you are grateful for their business; it creates strong bonds of loyalty and mutual support. Employees are more committed and productive when they know that you are thankful to have them on your team. Great resources and partners of all sorts are attracted to you when they feel appreciated for who they are and what they bring to the party. Your relationships with family and friends are more likely to be loving and supportive when you express your gratitude for all that they bring to your life.
And gratitude feels wonderful, too. It’s like a warm emotional light, shining within you to banish greed, bitterness, selfishness, jealousy, envy, meanness – all the most limiting and corrosive emotions.
So, how do you get more grateful?
As Geoffrey James suggests, it’s helpful to think of gratitude as an emotional muscle that will grow and strengthen with intentional use. We’ve all see those little magazine articles that tell you how to “Build Great Abs at Your Desk in Just 5 Minutes a Day.” I don’t know whether it works for abs, but it definitely works for gratitude.
I suggest you make little cards (you can just cut an index card in half, or use the back of your business card) which say, “I’m glad…” or “I’m thankful…” Put one on your desk, so you see it when you’re at work, and the others somewhere at home where you’re most likely to see them often.
Whenever you notice one of the cards, complete the sentence starter in a way that’s true for you at that moment. So: “I’m glad…the presentation went well this morning,” or “I’m thankful…for my husband’s support.” “I’m glad…they decided to do something about the food in the cafeteria,” or “I’m thankful that my daughter got a job she likes.” It can be a big thing or a small thing, personal, professional, or global. As you do this, and begin to cultivate the experience of gratitude, I suspect you will notice all kinds of subtle and not-so-subtle positive changes: in how others relate to you, in how you feel about your life, in how you weather difficulties. You may even see changes in your health, or in your closest relationships.
So, how grateful are you for the life you’ve been given, for the lives of the people around you – your family, friends, school or work? Are you grateful to God for everything you have? Do you want to become a more grateful person, click the banner below and we’ll show you how.