Ever find yourself thinking about how things could have been different? Ever log onto social media, and see friends sharing about how great things are with their new car, new boat, on a trip or something, and you’re left feeling down about yourself, because you can’t afford those things?
If so, know this; that’s normal. We all do that from time-to-time. We all have a tendency to compare our lives with others’, but there’s something to remember; what you see on social media isn’t an actual portrayal of real life. And look around you, don’t you have things that you’re proud of?
There’s one way to get past all of the negative feelings in this comparative world.
Gratitude is the ability to be thankful for the things we have. And I’ll tell you, it has amazing powers. But you have to know how to get there. Let me share a bit of a story.
You know where I come from, what happened in battle, being severely wounded like I was, fighting for my life. You wanna know what never crossed my mind as I was lying there on the battlefield, potentially bleeding out? My things. My stuff. I never thought about my truck, although it was an awesome truck. I never thought about my motorcycle, or the money in my bank account. Not once.
You wanna know what I did think about? My family. Those at home, who I knew would miss me if I didn’t make it back. Those who I depended on to be my rock, and those who depended on me. So, I fought to stay alive, for them. Not my F150. But my loved ones.
It was gratitude that got me through that situation, fully. It helped me get where I am today—to this positive, Overcome mindset, that allows me so many benefits. But it didn’t come easy. An attitude of gratitude doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a process, just like anything else.
I want to share with you part of that process. Some tools you can use in case you’re in that negative space, looking for internal happiness through external means. So that you too can experience all the benefits of being grateful for what you currently have.
The first thing I want to share is that writing about what you’re grateful for helps your brain remember to look for those things. And over time, you will begin to do that automatically. Studies have shown, if you write down three things you’re grateful for each day, mixed with the next few tools, your brain will train itself to look for the positive things first.
And this is extremely important today, with the COVID-19 pandemic, that we find positives in things. So, taking these little notes each day, will start to open our eyes to how rich we really are, and how material things do not equal success and more importantly, happiness.
Give someone a random compliment. Telling someone you’re grateful for something about them, not only helps you find lasting happiness and positivity, but it also spreads it. And who doesn’t like making people smile?
Pray. And it doesn’t matter which faith you have. By praying, you’re showing belief in something outside of yourself, something that has more control over things than you do, and by doing that, you’re able to really notice more of what you have to be grateful for.
But, Jay, what are the lasting benefits? I’m glad you asked. Because there are many. I’ll just share five with you, and if you can’t find them reason enough to try out the tools I have given you, well, do it anyway. HA!
But seriously, gratitude makes us happier. We always tend to go back to searching for happiness outside of ourselves, but real, lasting happiness is only found within. And what better way to find that than reminding ourselves of what we have to be grateful for? Over time, we find peace, contentment, and harmony with everything around us during this process.
Gratitude makes others like us more. Happiness makes us attractive. It gives us confidence in ourselves, and we even begin to carry ourselves differently. Our minds can change our bodies, just as our bodies can change our minds, studies have shown this.
Gratitude is healthy for our brain and our body. Just like I said before, they’re connected. A healthy body can help the mind become healthy too, and vice-versa. Staying in a positive mindset can lower cortisol levels, which has been called the stress hormone. It’s been tied to heart disease and other stress-related illnesses. So, keeping it low, with a grateful, positive mindset is a great way to stay healthy.
Gratitude boosts our career. Allow me to elaborate. A positive mindset, a grateful mindset, helps to boost performance and production in the workplace. We’re also a pleasant type of person to work with, when we have a positive outlook which means people want to work with us. All of this translates to longevity in your job and the ability to move up faster.
Gratitude strengthens our other positive emotions. Love, grace, compassion, and other positive feelings are amplified when we’re grateful. We feel deeper and stronger about the things we care about, because we know what and where we would be without them.
These are the things that I’m focusing on during this troubled time. The things I care about the most. I’m also going to use what I have been blessed with to get outside of myself, and help others when I am able to.
So, if you’re sitting there, not knowing how to help yourself feel better, looking for a way to change your outlook while we fight this virus, just look around you. Take note of things you’re grateful for. And keep doing it. Soon, you’ll be out of that rut, out of that depressed state many of us are facing at the moment, and into an attitude of gratitude.
And most importantly, if you continue your gratitude journey, you’ll be on your way to a happier life.