The meaning of gratitude

Appreciation is something that we are all familiar with and I believe that gratitude is a similar emotion to this.

What is gratitude?

Gratitude can alleviate negative emotions and make you aware of the good that other people do for you, enhancing wellbeing, love, joy and happiness. I really believe that gratitude can protect us from destructive emotions, such like bitterness, resentment and envy. We are best to view it as a ‘self-esteem’ booster, and improver for one and all. 

What do you have to be grateful for?

As my dear mother kindly taught me, at a young age, it is best to appreciate everything that you have. Focusing on what you have, at any given time, and not to focus on what you don’t have will keep you mentally balanced and well. It is so easy, in society today, to become ‘picky’ and to only appreciate the materialistic things that you have around you. I firmly believe that true gratitude is when you can appreciate everything that you have, at any given time, and to still have an understanding that the ‘small’ things in life, are actually the ‘big’ things.

What are the benefits of gratitude?

Gratitude can strengthen ones immune system making you feel happier, less lonely and isolated, and enabling you to develop a sense of optimism. Buddhists have been preaching this for hundreds of years, and the western world has finally caught up to believing in this, as they can now prove that gratitude improves the immune system. Basically sometimes even when you cannot see, you must have faith and still believe! I have known for years that when I focus on all my blessings, it allows me to be ‘present’ within each and every moment that passes. This in turn focuses and keeps all of my attention on the good things that are happening, opposed to any bad, at that time.

How to implement gratitude into your daily life

Focus on and celebrate the good that is happening in your life because as humans we have a unique built in radar, to focus our attention on both drama and negativity, homing in on what we don’t have and in turn choosing to dwell on the negative. I have put together a few ideas below to help you to introduce gratitude into your daily routine:

  • Choose to be present and aware – Be grateful for ‘what is’ in that moment, not that of the past or future, be fully present. This takes time and practice to master.
  • Love others, and share that love with kind selfless acts.
  • Be grateful for all you have – choose to dump complaining about your life.
  • Choose to keep a gratitude journal on a daily basis – Write a 5 point list of what has happened to you in your day and what you are grateful for in your life.

On every given occasion that you find yourself focusing on what you believe you may be lacking, then choose to replace those thoughts with more positive ones; of what you have and what you are thankful for. 

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