You cannot be grateful and resentful at the same time. There’s something about gratitude that’s conducive to feelings of joy and happiness.
But how do you cultivate gratitude and make it a part of your everyday life? Let’s find out.
“Dear old world’, she murmured, ‘you are very lovely, and I am glad to be alive in you.” ― L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables
Be grateful simply because you’re alive
We tend not to notice how fortunate we are to even be alive. The chances of our birth as conscious beings, threading our way through this planet on peripheries of the cosmos are extremely low. In a great book, Unweaving the Rainbow, Richard Dawkins says:
“We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born. The potential people who could have been here in my place but who will in fact never see the light of day outnumber the sand grains of Arabia.”
When you look at life from this perspective, you recognize that most of your cherished problems are petty indeed. It’s time to take back the feelings of gratefulness and connection to others!
Benefits of Gratefulness:
- It improves your immune system
- It strengthens your relationships
- It reduces stress and anxiety
- It improves your psychological health
- It improves your self-esteem and well-being
“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” – Marcel Proust
Practice Gratefulness And Cultivate Feelings of Joy And Happiness
There are many ways in which you can find more gratefulness in your everyday life.
1. Have a gratefulness journal
Giving thanks in your journal is one of the best ways to feel grateful. You can sit down for a few minutes every morning, and besides writing down your goals, jot down a few things you’re grateful for.
Write down whatever comes to mind, like: “I’m so grateful for where I live” or “I’m so grateful for my family”. And then really feel it – smother yourself with this emotion. It’s really one of the best ways to improve your life.
2. Be grateful in the morning and feel happier for the whole day
The best way to practice gratefulness is in the morning. That’s when you have the most mental energy and focus, and you experience the least amount of distractions. Just sit down in a secluded place, take a few deep breaths, and give thanks for all the good in your life.
3. Appreciate the special moments in your life
Don’t let the most important moments in your life go unnoticed. Instead, be mindful of them and be thankful for them. When you reunite with your love after a while, when you go on that dream vacation, when you look at the stars after a long journey – acknowledge this, as it only happens once.
4. Practice the gratitude meditation with Tony Robbins
Tony Robbins has been an advocate of gratitude for many years. In the short video below, he’ll walk you through a five-minute exercise that’ll make you appreciate your life more:
5. Practice Metta Bhavana (The Loving Kindness Meditation)
Metta Bhavana is an old Buddhist practice, and it’s one of the best things you can do to feel more grateful. During this short meditation, you cultivate feelings of love and compassion towards yourself, your closest ones, and then the whole world. Practice it long enough and you’ll want to hug strangers.
6. Remember you are going to die
This one may seem a bit too much, especially if we’re talking about gratitude and positivity here. But when you face death and great tragedy – even in your mind – the daily ups and downs lose their power over you. They say that Samurai used to imagine their deaths every day, so when they finally faced the enemy, they were ready for whatever.
“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
7. Be Grateful And Move Ahead in Life
We enjoy the time of relative peace and prosperity. There are less sickness and hunger than before. Be grateful. Extreme poverty is slowly disappearing. Be grateful. Wars rarely occur compared to 100 years ago. Be grateful.
But it doesn’t mean giving away your responsibility. The fact that you live in an affluent society should oblige you to strive harder – to be the best, and to help as many people as you can.
How about we finally exempt ourselves from this self-imposed suffering, anxiety, and depression? It’s time to realize that your life is ok. You are ok.
Rumi says: “You were born with wings, why prefer to crawl through life?”
Can you now see the connection between gratefulness and feelings of joy and happiness?