Many of us are faced with significant challenges today. Perhaps you’re among the millions of people dealing with financial issues and the mayhem that can ensue. Maybe you’re a sandwich adult, caring for young children and elderly parents, perhaps even under the same roof. Are you one who has traded in significant aspects of your "old" life to pursue creatively a whole new way of earning income, engaging relationships, and simply being? These situations and many others have countless numbers of us struggling to find the joy, peace and satisfaction in our lives that our hearts desire.
Often when this happens, we can start down a slippery slope of behaviors that can rob us of our life force in insidious yet significant ways. One of the worst things we do is surrender our vibration to the dark side. We tell the story of the tough situation, we ruminate about the situation, we worry about the situation, and so on. I have definitely experienced these times in my life. I got stuck in the negative. Personal development guru Chuck Gallozzi calls this condition "negativitis" and says it’s almost as pervasive as the common cold, but it’s far more serious.
You see, it’s impossible to be happy when you’re complaining. It’s also difficult to find solutions, and we may even literally be making ourselves sick. When focused on the problem, our brains are engaging in the dynamics of the problem and it’s harder for the low-hanging-fruit solutions to become apparent. Our negativity creates stress related to the situation, which in turn can cause heart disease, ulcers and weakens our immune systems making us susceptible to other health problems (for more info on how your thoughts effect your immune system, investigate psychoneuroimmunology). As Chuck says:
"Everything negative we say about ourselves to ourselves and to others is a suggestion. We are unwittingly practicing self-hypnosis, programming ourselves for failure and creating self-fulfilling prophecies."
One way to get out of the doom and gloom scenarios of our lives is to practice an attitude of gratitude. According to Wikipedia, the term gratitude is derived from the Latin word gratia which is associated with the terms grace, gratefulness and graciousness, which suggest the ideas of kindness, generousness and the beauty of receiving. Gratitude is a centerpiece of the major religious and spiritual practice the world over. It has also been the focus of several recent studies into its correlation with health and well being.
These studies have shown that gratitude not only increases happiness, life satisfaction, purpose and self-acceptance, it also lowers stress and depression. Grateful people show less problem avoidance, blame, and
denial, and they’re less likely to succumb to substance abuse as an escape.
Here are three practices in the studies that were proven to produce the most significant positive effects :
- Do a gratitude meditation. Hold grateful thoughts for a person or situation in mind and heart for a minimum of five minutes. Do this at least once daily.
- Pay a gratitude visit on someone special in your life. Write and personally deliver a letter of gratitude to a person you want to thank for how they’ve contributed to your life.
- Keep a gratitude journal. On a daily basis, write down three to four things for which you are grateful. Commit to keeping the journal for a minimum of one month. If you’re like the study participants, your results will be so positive that you’ll keep this going for many months to come.
Importantly, the people in the studies still had things going on in their lives that were stressful, disappointing, and debilitating. Yet practicing gratitude in the midst of these things, made a real emotional, psychological, and physiological difference. Immerse yourself in gratitude right here and now and begin to heal your life.
Gratitude Quotes and Poems
Here are some thoughts about gratitude that can help you get started shifting to an attitude of gratitude right here, right now.
"You simply will not be the same person two months from now after consciously giving thanks each day for the abundance that exists in your life. And you will have set in motion an ancient spiritual law: the more you have and are grateful for, the more will be given you."
— Sarah Ban Breathnach
"Whatever our individual troubles and challenges may be, it’s important to pause every now and then to appreciate all that we have, on every level. We need to literally "count our blessings," give thanks for them, allow ourselves to enjoy them, and relish the experience of prosperity we already have."
— Shakti Gawain
"Blessed are those that can give without remembering and receive without forgetting."
— Author Unknown
The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.
— Marcus Aurelius
Be thankful that you don’t already have everything you desire,
If you did, what would there be to look forward to?
Be thankful when you don’t know something
For it gives you the opportunity to learn.
Be thankful for the difficult times.
During those times you grow.
Be thankful for your limitations
Because they give you opportunities for improvement.
Be thankful for each new challenge
Because it will build your strength and character.
Be thankful for your mistakes
They will teach you valuable lessons.
Be thankful when you’re tired and weary
Because it means you’ve made a difference.
It is easy to be thankful for the good things.
A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who are
also thankful for the setbacks.
GRATITUDE can turn a negative into a positive.
Find a way to be thankful for your troubles
and they can become your blessings.