Studies show that people who exercise gratitude experience much more happiness, positivity, content, compassion, and generosity toward others. Here is the kicker; people who have a grateful heart are less likely to encounter health issues.
I never understood this until my son, and I slept on an old mattress in a one-bedroom apartment, living off government assistance. I often complained about our situation and continuously looked back in anger at those who contributed to our forced lifestyle. I was unhappy, angry, and bitter at times, but for some reason, on those days, I always seemed to come across someone less fortunate. While driving my old beat-up truck, there was someone broken down on the side of the highway. After my embarrassment, because at that time I was purchasing groceries with food stamps, as I walked out of the store, a homeless person was sitting outside with a sign that read, "hungry." These were clear reminders of how blessed I am.
After finally recognizing how good we had it, I decided to shift my mindset and began cultivating an attitude of gratitude. I started giving thanks when I thought life was tough. I began to exercise my gratitude muscle and viewed all that I did have as more than enough. It was then I asked myself, "What side of life are you going to live on?" I decided I was going to live on the gratitude side.
Consistently cultivating an attitude of gratitude helps to remove the negativity from your life. Practicing gratefulness overrides any thoughts of complaints and replaces it with content. When you choose to be grateful, you transfer your "not enough" into "all you need." When you are grateful for all that you have, you begin to show more love and generosity toward others.
Making generosity a priority in your life helps you to achieve significance. Helen Keller once said, "Life is an exciting business and most exciting when lived for others." I am a firm believer in adding value to others, and I believe that the position of the heart matters. If our heart is in the "all about me" position, we are bound to end up living empty and insignificant.
Sometimes we fixate on things like clothes, shoes, cars, homes, and even the way we look, but those things are not all that important at the end of the day. We should be people who obsess over giving thanks and being grateful in all circumstances, and we should be anxious to serve others. We should obsess over assisting the hurting and those less fortunate. We should be focused on encouraging others and being kind. We should strive to make time for others and show them that they have a purpose and are greatly valued.
I have found that viewing life through a lens of gratitude has empowered me to discover a more positive attitude and belief that whatever I'm full of will influence me. I believe that if I am not full of praise, I will be full of pride. I also think that if I live with an "only" mentality, I'll never have enough, and that will prevent me from being a catalyst for change.
As an essential mental health principle, the benefits of gratitude stretch far beyond what we could ever imagine. Gratitude changes the way you think and speak. It helps you see the best, regardless of life's circumstances. It changes your perspective and enables you to recognize that people all over the world need more love, positivity, hope and encouragement.
Cultivating a grateful heart draws more of what you want and value into your life. It shifts the focus from seeing the worst to seeing the best in all situations and exercising your gratitude muscle has an enormous impact on the quality of life.
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Practicing gratitude can help you grow physically healthier, increase your psychological well-being, and improve mental toughness. Through gratitude, we can develop humility, and through humility, we can better serve others. Everything in life has the potential to become better if you position your heart toward gratefulness, so let's be GREAT-FULL today.