I am by no means Susy Sunshine, or always full of rainbows and skittles of encouragement, but I have found that being appreciative what I have as oppossed to paying attention to the things that I do not has helped me survive, even thrive through some pretty tough times.
Today I felt several flashes of gratitude, and it was not thanksgiving, nor was it 10 gram 8th day at my favorite dispensary. It was my neighbor understanding a look that crossed my face, it was my friend Jerry telling he believes in me, it was a text from my son saying hello, it was the softness of the blanket I slept under last night….
The older I get, I find that I appreciate the people and creature comforts that are wrapped in love and a feeling of contentment. I read a study that estimated that every ten years of life gratitude levels increase 5%. People who are regularly grateful who acknowledge the goodness in life and the sources of it are generally happier healthier people.
When people are grateful they even feel more alert and alive! The expression of gratitude strengthens relationships… Perhaps, if you are like me though you may notice that your gratitude really are more like little burst of thankfulness that are simply fleeting thoughts that quickly dissolve in the choas of the day. Between our busy lives and the bigger stressors that we face every day it is no wonder that our country suffers from gratitude deficit disorder.
Do not fear, if you are a cynical grump all hope is not lost there is a cure! Gratitude is the most changeable charater strength because its about mindfullness something anyone can do. While genetics account for half of our happiness level the other half is under our every day control… and it gives long term health benefits as well like lower blood pressure, stronger immune system better sleep and fewer bouts of depression, this mainly because when you are conciously aware of things that your are grateful for or things that you are happy about to buffer stress and we are less likely to be effected by the perils that come with stress overloads.
Posting sticky notes around the house tthat encourage you or that remind you of things that make you happy or that you want to accomplish are great visual reminders to be grateful.
I find I get the most enjoyment out of people and experiences as oppossed to the things I posess wether it is a new TV or dress you got on sale perhaps consider if the objects add value to your life. Does the new dress you bought make you feel slim and confident? Does the new TV have better resolution. Keep a journal, a gratitude journal wether its handwritten or on your cell phone just try and do it at least once a dayy write down 3 things that you are grateful for and read it once a week it will be impossible not to see how blessed you are.
Count your blessings and feel the love, but feeling it is only half the equation you need to express it to recieve the full benefit. It is not in saying Thank You it is showing or expressing that gratitude.