An Attitude of Gratitude


Alan White

In previous blogs I have spoken about stress and how to cope with it. Stress has a way of creeping up on us without us really noticing and before we know it we are rushing around trying to be all things to all people, frantically trying to do more and more.

This has become a way of life, or more accurately a way of existing for many of us. We lose track of the important things in life as we constantly try to reach the next target in our lives, that promotion in work, the new car, the new Kitchen. For our young people this might be the new clothes, the new games console or the latest smartphone.

I have often had conversations with people who are only too ready to tell me about all the things they have, their next holiday, the new car they have just bought or the renovations they are planning for their house. I myself have often caught myself thinking that I don’t have enough. I am not achieving enough, quickly enough, that the things I have are old and I want new things. All of this thinking prevents us from appreciating the good things that are already in our lives and we begin to feel unfulfilled.

I am not saying that wanting to have nice things in our lives is a bad thing necessarily, but when all of our focus and energy goes on only getting these things, we are forfeiting our current happiness for a materialistic future happiness that will never be completely fulfilling. This is because once we get the next thing that we feel we need, our minds will create the need for another thing. This process can be an addiction that both fuels negative thinking and creates negative stress, which in turn has a negative effect on our mental well-being.

We are a product of our thoughts and I have seen how both negative thinking and constantly feeling that I don’t have enough can affect my well-being and I have seen the same process effect the important people in my life. It’s a cycle of negativity that can spread through families, friends and workplaces.

Developing an attitude of Gratitude can greatly improve our well-being and has a positive effect on how we not only live our lives but how we feel about ourselves. Taking just five minutes a day to focus on all the good things we have in our lives is proven to improve our mood. Do this on a daily basis and it will become a habit to focus more on what we have rather than what we don’t and you will notice a huge improvement in your general well-being.

One thing that we often forget to be thankful for or take for granted are the important people in our lives. It is ultimately the relationships we develop rather than the things that we can buy that bring us lasting happiness. It is important to appreciate the relationships in our lives and how they add to our quality of life. By not only being consciously thankful of these things, its even more important to take time to be thankful for the people we have. And don’t forget to tell them. Tell the important people in your life that you are thankful for them and that you appreciate what they bring to your life.

By taking a little time each day to be thankful we are unlocking the potential to be happy. Why not try taking five minutes every day to think about all the things that you are thankful for, and always remember:

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend”.
– Melody Beattie.

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