“Gratitude and attitude are not challenges. They are choices” – Robert Braathe
Do you agree with the above quote? After much thought and contemplation about the events of my life, I agree that our attitude and whether or not we practise gratitude are both choices.
And this isn’t to say that we go around telling each other in a blank statement that we need to be more grateful. Because the act of gratefulness goes deeper, we need to find ourselves in a position of transparency and honesty and admitting that we are perhaps not the most positive or grateful. When that takes place, I think we can begin the work towards having a more grateful heart.
I look back to when I was a teenager and think about how often I chose to be ungrateful. From not having the coolest clothes to having to go to school and attend classes I wasn’t interested in and the thought of my parents liking and loving my sister more than they did me. I wasn’t grateful for the roof over my head, parents in the home, and a good sibling—all of who loved me in their way. I chose to focus on what I thought I didn’t have. And that’s where I concluded that gratitude is a choice.
You just need to spend some time on social media or listen to people speak daily to see and hear that gratitude has become foreign to many. Complaining is typical, and we consume it for all of our meals as if it were nourishment to our minds and bodies, but it’s not.
We all lack gratitude in some aspects of our lives because we naturally hold on to adverse events more than positive ones. I also think about how the environments in which we are raised and the people we surround ourselves with can impact our attitude, and if we are in close contact with those who are ungrateful, we soon absorb that type of energy. This doesn’t remove the opportunity of choice, but it does affect what we choose. Rest assured, if we can absorb negative energy, it’s safe to say we can absorb positive. So why not be the positive energy this world needs.
I have a challenge for you, and it’s something I did for a year that changed how I thought and lived. I challenge you to start a gratitude journal, and it’s not as complex as it sounds. You don’t have to spend hours writing. It’s pretty simple. Write down 3-5 things you are grateful for every day and if you miss a day, don’t beat yourself up over it; just get back to it. That’s it! Try that for a year, as I did, and I promise, your thinking will change and dare I say, your life will begin to shift for the better.
I will help you get started.
- I am grateful for God in my life and for helping daily
- I am grateful for the people around me who support me
- I am grateful for my son.
- I am grateful for the sunshine
- I am grateful for a roof over my head
If you want, take the gratitude journal a step further; you can watch YouTube videos on gratitude to better understand your current mindset and change it to one that is more positive. Do you want to go further than that? I dare you to tell the people you are grateful for them and do it often, and while you’re at it, look in the mirror and tell yourself.
When I began my gratitude journal, I was negative, I wasn’t coping with my stress, and my mental health wasn’t as balanced as it could have been. But when I completed the task of being deliberate in my gratitude, I noticed, and those around me acknowledged that I was complaining less. My mindset shifted to be more positive, my heart was at peace, and my perspective on life was brighter. I realized that our time here on earth is precious, and I needed to enjoy all of its goodness.
The benefits of being grateful will be different for everyone, so here are a few things I think you can expect as you are intentional with your attitude of gratitude.
- Gratitude shields you from negativity
- It rewires your brain
- It helps to eliminate stress
- It heals
- Gratitude helps improve your sleep
- It boosts your self-esteem and performance
- It helps to strengthen your relationships.
Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.” – Eckhart Tolle
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