Gratitude is not emotional bypassing. Gratitude changes everything. Being grounded in gratitude is about adopting an approach to life where being grateful becomes your default position. With so much negative or fake news induntating the airwaves it’s easy to become cynical.
In his research on “Why Gratitude Is Good,” Psychologist Dr. Robert Emmons, states that practicing gratitude can block negative emotions such as depression, envy, regret, and resentment.
It also allows for a more substantial capacity for joy and positive emotions. His research suggests that regularly practicing being grateful increases your resilience, strengthens your relationships, and improves your sense of well-being.
So, how do you cultivate an attitude of gratitude?
Recognize What You Can Be Grateful For
Start by listing all the things that are going well in your life that you can be grateful for, no matter how small or insignificant they may be – a bed to sleep on or a hot cup of coffee.If you are feeling defeated, believing nothing is going right in your life, it may seem difficult initially to think of things you can be thankful for.
But no matter how hopeless things appear, there is always something to be thankful for. If you find yourself on a trajectory of negativity, immediately change your direction by focusing on as many things as you can for which to be grateful.
Expressing gratitude is not about ignoring painful emotions. Painful emotions need to be processed. Wounds not healed continue to fester. What expressing gratitude does is that it is about choosing to reframe your state of being into one of being thankful for what you do have despite the circumstances around you.
Expressing gratitude is recognising the power within to choose the response you want to have in difficult situations. And deciding to choose a more empowering respons to those emotions.
Re-Write Your Script
Photo by Aaron-Burden
It is choosing gratitude as a state of being. We have all had painful experiences. The death of a spouse or another family member, the loss of a job. A breakup in a marriage. Poverty. Not dealing with the feelings that come as a result of these experiences will not make them go away. What you resist will persist.
Start a gratitude journal. List all you can be thankful for. Be grateful for your family and friends. Go further by writing how you would like the outcome of your life to be. If a new relationship is what you are desiring, write down what life would look like if you were in a loving relationship.
Some of the best ways to nurture a sense of gratitude is through mindfullness and meditation. I see it as a recalibation back to self – a connection to your inner being that truly wants the best for you.
Midfullness is a practice of increasing your awareness by being present. It’s one effective way to catch yourself and break the habit of ruminting.or dwelling on negative thoughts.
Realize That This Too Shall Pass
Photo by Joshua-Earle
I recall my “Dark Night of the soul” – my job and my marriage ended all within months of each other. The pain was excruciating. I woke up every day, wishing life would just end. But then I started listing at least three things I could be grateful for each morning and the feelings of despair dissipated. I also started meditating and incorporated my mantra of gratitude in my daily meditation. It became a habit for me.
Time does heal all wounds. And dusk comes before dawn. Negative experiences do not last, any more than happy experiences.
I liked what it was doing to me so much so that I decided to think of 3 things I could be grateful for about my day before going to sleep. Robert Collier said, “constant repetition carries conviction.”
Even on my darkest days, and there were many of them that year, I promised myself never to let the day start or end without listing all I could be grateful for – and some days, it was hard to believe there was anything to be thankful for.