Many of us live hectic lives without an appreciation for what we have. We multi-task daily, rarely living in the moment or practicing gratitude. This state is what I refer to as a “Drive-by Life,” which steals our joy. Increasing gratitude will be the catalyst for more joy in your life.
A feeling of appreciation for all that you have in your life and all that you are. It is the expression of thanksgiving for the things that make life worth living and for the hidden blessings that are often overlooked. It’s being able to say thank you for the little things that make you smile and for those that add joy to living.
Do you find that most days, you’re just thankful to complete the tasks on your to-do list? The thing is, that’s not the type of gratitude that’s life-changing. Research has proven that having an attitude of gratitude is the most effective action to improve our lives' facets, ultimately increasing our joy.
Life is not infinite – there is a start and end date.A few years ago, I went through a transitional stage, where I began to evaluate everything in my life. It started when I realized life is not infinite – there is a start and end date. Following this revelation, I made a point to slow down when I was walking in or out of work to look up at the sky and appreciate everything around me. I became more conscious of the abundance of my life and began to have an appreciation for the little things around me.
Gratitude must be practised. It’s not innate.
In my book Giving Back: How to Find Your Personal Joy and Make a Difference to Others, I wrote an entire chapter on gratitude to share the positive effect gratitude has on my life, increasing my joy twofold.
We must start our day with gratitude – imagine if the first thought you have when you wake is an appreciation for your sleep – beginning every day with a positive thought will set your path in the right direction. We need to focus on the positive to help us through daily challenges; stress can quickly overtake us. Gilbert Ross says,
“The real power of gratitude is that it makes you pick out and focus on what is working in your life.” He reinforces that “quite often we pick out the pain points, the problems, the bottlenecks, whatever it is that is not working in our life and causing friction, anxiety, and unhappiness. This is like constantly rewriting the script of your life with a negative or tragic overtone. Your subconscious mind follows faithfully that script you write whether it is a negative or positive one.”
Practicing gratitude from the moment we wake up can genuinely make a difference.
4 Tips for Practising and Realizing Gratitude
- Focus on all of the positive aspects of your life > Think about things you’re grateful for – big and small. When you concentrate on what you have, you’re sending a positive message to yourself and others, which will increase the things you’re thankful for in your life.
- Speak about your abundance > Express what you’re thankful for in your life. Positive self-talk affirms all you appreciate. Share your appreciation with others. Let them know how grateful you are.
- Cultivate your relationships with others with gratitude > The healthier your relationships with others, the better your health will be, your stress will be reduced, and the happier and more appreciative you will be.
- Practise gratitude daily > Following the tips above will create new habits and an appreciation for the goodness in your life.