Have you ever noticed how some folks are thankful for and appreciate everything they have, while others complain about everything they don’t have? What type of person are you? When you see the water in the glass, do you view it as half full or half empty? How you view the level of the glass’s content gives amazing insight into your general happiness and frame of mind.
Happiness and well-being are more important than status and possessions. Materialism is not happiness. That feeling of entitlement will never bring joy. Happiness is peace of mind, and all too often in this fast-paced roller coaster life, that concept is lost, especially during the holidays, the most stressful time of year.
We go through trials every day, and it doesn’t take surviving a hurricane or personal tragedy to incorporate gratitude into your day-to-day routine. The characteristics that define one who can handle adversity are the same characteristics that define who will have a happy, healthy and productive life.
Faith: The belief in something bigger than you are, whether it’s God, family, a higher power, or a cause.
Hope: The knowledge that no matter how bleak things are at the present, there’s a belief it will get better.
Love: Whether an individual, family or group, feelings of love towards and from others can enrich your life in countless ways.
Gratitude: Being thankful for the things you have, rather than being bitter about what you don’t have.
Gratitude is something that can be learned, practiced and developed, yielding a sense of well-being, optimism and happiness. What’s more, when children see a thankful parent, they are more likely to become thankful children.
Starting today, implement these suggestions into your daily life:
• Each morning before you get out of bed, think of the things within your life that you’re grateful for — it could be the spouse by your side, the child in the next room, or the eyes you use to view the world. If you do this, you will start your morning off on a positive note and this sets the standard for a positive day.
• We all have bad days because life is not perfect. When life gives you a blow, rather than ruminating on your bad luck, take the time to write down the current things you’re grateful for. Seeing these in writing, and even the act of writing, can be calming and cathartic.
• Be grateful for life’s challenges because it’s those very challenges that serve as lessons and allow us to grow. View each challenge as a way to learn and build a better life.
• Be thankful for what you have. Envy will suck the life out of you. Instead of wishing you had the mansion, the fancy sports car, etc, give thanks for what you do have. Be grateful that you have enough.
• Finally, help others. Every time you see someone less fortunate think, “There but for the grace of God go I” and lend a hand, even if it’s only a smile and a word of encouragement.
So, this holiday season when you feel the need to reflect on the hard times, stop. Turn your attention instead to what you have faith in, who you love, who loves you, and your hopes for the future.
Life is a gift. Freedom is a gift. Employment is a gift. Friends and loved ones are gifts. Your very breath at this moment is a gift. Viewing life with grateful eyes gives insight that life owes you nothing, allowing gratitude to work its humbling magic. Give thanks daily.