Are You Feeling Grateful?
Do you wonder how anyone could feel grateful in times like these? Developing an attitude of gratitude is something that can be started early in small ways and then developed into a daily perspective that is an effortless habit. Gratitude involves learning to first, be aware and secondly, to frame the situation in a positive way.
There are three common myths about gratitude that often interfere with practicing it. Let’s debunk these myths:
- Gratitude should be spontaneous and flow naturally – While it is awesome when we naturally experience and express gratitude, it is more important that a spirit of thankfulness be built into the fabric of our daily lives. Think of gratitude as an important aspect of one’s character and daily routine rather than something to be practiced only at certain times during the year. Once the habit is established it is even more likely to to appear spontaneously.
- Gratitude is determined by your circumstances – Everyone can be grateful, no matter their age, circumstances or lifestyle. There is always something to be grateful for, if one adopts a thankful perspective. This is true even in times of crisis or tragedy. In fact, an attitude of gratitude often helps individuals cope with the most difficult of situations. Focus on changing your perspective from things happening to you — to things happening for you– and finally, to things to happening through you. The latter involves taking ownership and making the most of every situation.
- Gratitude only benefits the receiver – When someone expresses gratitude for a gift or a holiday meal, it certainly helps the giver feel appreciated, but the benefits of being grateful predominately enrich the lives those who are grateful. In fact, research has shown that those who regularly practice gratitude experience more joy and happiness in their lives even in tough times. This is one reason why teaching children to practice gratitude on a regular basis will benefit them in later life as they establish the habit.
Developing an attitude of gratitude challenges us all to take a positive perspective and further develops us as adults of compassion and character.