In my opinion, gratitude is a feeling of warmth. It is both beautiful and humbling with a hint of feeling like your heart’s exploding with love and happiness. It has the ability to shift your mindset from negative to positive and it helps you realize that everything you are given is in fact enough. Gratitude enables you to understand that the things you have and the people you are surrounded by are life’s greatest treasures.
When we are in a positive mindset, it is much easier to stay positive and have confidence in ourselves, but life isn’t always “easy”. Sometimes life throws us a curve-ball, and sometimes it tests our patience. So what happens when you’re having an off day? What happens when you’re stuck in a downward spiral and you’re finding it hard to be grateful? From my experience, when my outside circumstances aren’t changing, I am forced to look from within. We have to remember that life doesn’t give you an outline on how to live, we are all learning as we go, so don’t be so hard on yourself.
“I am in charge of how I feel and today I am choosing happiness.”
The past two years of my life have been a beautiful mess. I say beautiful mess because even though I’ve had my fair share of ups and downs, I was able to find strength and take charge of my life. I started doing things that made me happy and I started living a life that I was proud of. I traveled to beautiful places, spent time alone to reflect, and I started to appreciate my struggles. The moment that I started appreciating my struggles instead of judging myself, I could feel my mind starting to shift. It has not only helped changed my outlook on life, turning it into a positive and healthy lifestyle, but it has allowed me to be grateful for the little things and the things that sometimes we take for granted. Being grateful, even for the smallest things, can change your whole outlook on life, leading you to live a life you’ve always dreamed of.
“Talking about our problems is our greatest addiction. Break the habit. Talk about your joys.” – Rita Schiano
Practicing gratitude has given me a ton of benefits. I am happy and optimistic. I have gained confidence in myself and I constantly strive to look for the good in every situation.
Here are a few ways on how I practice gratitude:
Wake up with a positive mind and a grateful heart
Since I am far from a morning person, I make sure that I give myself enough time to wake up. During the time that I am laying around, I take the time to see how I am feeling.
Am I tired? Did I get enough sleep? Am I energized? I definitely woke up on the wrong side of the bed.
From there, I make sure to tell myself that the day is going to be amazing. If I know I am feeling off, or if I woke up cranky, I always make sure that I acknowledge how I am feeling and then I will always end my pep talk with myself in a positive way. (Yes, I do talk out loud to myself)
I already feel like today’s going to be annoying, but that doesn’t mean that it’s going to be a bad day. I am going to get out of bed, put on some music and power through.
When you’re feeling down and need a little pick me up
After I indulge in all of the comfort foods, I realize that nothing’s going to change how I am feeling until I change my attitude. If my mind wanders to the past, I take a trip down memory lane to reminisce. I acknowledge all feelings, good and bad, and then I get to a place where I become grateful. I am grateful for my past, my struggles and my accomplishments. I am grateful for the memories that I have, good and bad, because it has led me to where I am now. When my mind arrives to the present, I start to think of the things that I am grateful for at that time. You can get in depth and deep with things like having a roof over your head, having food in the fridge, having clean clothes, my health and mobility. Or it can be as simple as being grateful for the sunny days, the music that you’re listening to, and so on. Once you allow yourself to take a step back, you start to notice that it really could be worse. From then on, you start making the best of each day because you know that what you have is enough.
I have learned to not only trust myself but to trust the timing of my life and to believe that everything happens for a reason. You may have a rough day, but you can always find the good in a bad day.
Helping others to express gratitude
When you start cultivating gratitude, you start changing your attitude on life. And when you start changing your attitude on life, others start gravitating towards that mindset of being grateful. You see, when being grateful becomes a lifestyle, people can see and feel all of that positive energy that’s surrounding you. It makes you a person that people want to be around because you are constantly looking to inspire others to feel the same way.
I always make sure that I say my please and thank you’s. Even though it is a small gesture, it creates that connection between you and the other person. It shows that you appreciate the effort they made to make your day a little simpler, and vice versa. Another thing that I try to do is smile. You never know what people are going through or how their day has been and a simple smile can go along way. Lastly, I always encourage others to find the good. Turning the negatives into positives, trying to get them to see different perspectives. When you become so focused on the negative, I find that you get yourself stuck in a rut. So taking a moment and taking a step back from the situation and looking at it from a different point of view, can help you to let it go and move on.
Going to bed with a clear mind, a brave heart and the feeling of being proud
At the end of the day I crawl into my cozy bed, sprawl out, and I take a deep breath in order to let go of my entire day. With one hand on my chest and the other on my heart, I lay there waiting for my heartbeat to get to a relaxed pulse. Once my mind clears, I do a recap of my day. I speak out loud to myself. It might sound weird but it actually helps me focus so that my mind doesn’t wander. I go over my day and start naming the things that happened that I am grateful for, I then move to what I am grateful for in general and then I proceed to set intentions and goals for myself for my future. It can be for the next day, the next week, or something that I wish to pursue within the year. After I am done setting my intentions, I take three more deep breaths to let everything go, I smile, and then I go to sleep.
Whenever you start to feel overwhelmed or stressed, pause, breathe and focus on things you are grateful for. Once you start practicing gratitude, you will notice that it starts to become apart of your lifestyle instead of a chore. Gratitude is a beautiful thing and if you take the time to reflect and to acknowledge the things and people you are grateful for, happiness will shine right through you. Encourage others to express gratitude and together we can spread kindness into this beautiful world.
“It is not happy people that are grateful. It is grateful people that are happy.”