Make Gratitude An Attitude

Chances are that when you read the headline of this article you might have wondered with all that’s happening around the world if it’s possible to be grateful for anything at the moment. It’s easy to feel grateful and full of joy when everything is going our way. But when life throws some curveballs our way and there is disruption in our seemingly perfect lives, we feel off track. Obviously feeling grateful becomes difficult. Or does it?

Gratitude is a state of mind. No matter what the situation, being grateful sets the tone for a happier and healthier life. Sounds too good to be true? Harvard Health Publishing has featured various articles on the mental health benefits of expressing and being grateful. Positive psychology research has shown that people who express gratitude are happier. Having a grateful attitude makes people experience more positive emotions, enjoy experiences, have a healthier life, deal with problems better and have binding relationships.

Being thankful and nurturing the habit of showing appreciation has far reaching benefits than we often perceive. In a study done by UCLA’s Mindfulness Awareness Research Centre, expressing gratitude literally changes the molecular structure of the brain, keeps the brain cells functioning, and makes people healthier and happier.

The benefits of being grateful and showing appreciation leaves its imprint not just in personal but also professional front. Gratitude is a powerful emotion that touches just about every aspect of life. Employees who are appreciated for their work not only are happier but also feel valued and perform better. In a corporate environment where the management shows gratitude to their employees, productivity levels tend to be higher. Moreover, gratitude spreads positivity and happiness. Who wouldn’t like to work in an organisation where appreciation, positivity and cheerfulness is the mainstay?

The attitude of being grateful is also a powerful step to manifestation. According to the Law of Attraction, ‘every time you appreciate something, every time you praise something, every time you feel good about something, you are telling the Universe: “More of this, please.” You need never make another verbal statement of this intent, and if you are mostly in a state of appreciation, all good things will flow to you.’

Ways of Practising Gratitude

  • One of the simplest and easiest steps is to keep a gratitude journal. Every day, either in the morning or at night, write down five things you are grateful for. It could be your daily cup of coffee, the bed you sleep on, the pay cheque you get every month, the friends who make you laugh…the list is endless. Do this every day and you are bound to see a shift in the way you view your life and the world around you.
  • If writing sounds tedious, list out mentally five things you are grateful for everyday as soon as you wake up. Or if you prefer doing this at night, then just before you switch off your bedside lamp mentally express gratitude for the day and the experiences you have had up until then.
  • Take on a 21-day gratefulness challenge. If you are on social media, this is a great way to inspire others as well. Every day, for 21 days, list out one thing, person, experience or resource you are grateful for. You can do this using words, images and/or videos.
  • Write ‘thank you’ notes to people. Be it friends, family or co-workers, let them know you appreciate them. Even if we live in a primarily digitally connected world, the joy of receiving a handwritten thank you note is immeasurable.
  • Whenever a negative thought pops up, try to find moments and experiences that you are thankful for. Focus on the positive even if you are not able to change the situation at hand right away. Gratitude changes the way you think and more often than not, helps in coming up with solutions when faced with adversity.

It's quite easy to fall into the rabbit hole when things aren’t going our way. Covid-19 and its ramifications aren’t helping either. But the minute you decide to take control of your thoughts, focus less on your troubles and instead look for instances to be grateful for, you will notice what matters more. Everything from people to instances to experiences, you will have more to be thankful for than to complain about. As the practise of expressing gratitude becomes a habit, it is inevitable but for your life to change and adversities diminish in front of your gratefulness attitude.