Being grateful is one of the hardest things to do for thousands of people globally. Skeptical about that?
More surprisingly, anyone can feign gratitude and still not be grateful.
Indeed, life is full of challenges, and no one can gainsay that. Not even the most successful people in the world. Because if they try to do that would amount to telling a lie.
Growing up as a lad, it took me quite a while to appreciate what gratitude practically meant. But before you say, Oh, the poor little boy (of those years back), take a moment to answer this question:
- How do you go through your darkest moment? Do you feel like giving up?
- Do you fall short of gratitude?
- Do you feel like crying at the slightest opportunity? Or do you shut yourself in your room for days hoping to get through the dark sea?
In this article, we’ll explore the following:
- What does it mean to be grateful?
- 10 things to be grateful for
- Benefits of being grateful
- How to be grateful in life
What does it mean to be grateful?
Many think putting on an attitude of gratitude is forgetting about all the challenges or bad days in their lives. But being grateful in life is the outcome of a decision to focus your energy and time on things you’re thankful for.
Yes, showing gratitude is appreciating those things around you, whether small or big. Also, it may be for things beyond you and yourself– that’s people and a higher power. It could be for the love you receive in the form of affection, attention, and gifts from others. Be it a piece of candy or lunch from a colleague at work or school.
Sadly, many people wake in the morning and whine all through the day, seeing nothing to be thankful for. While it is true that we all go through different things, situations, and challenges in life, there are many things to be grateful for.
Being grateful? 10 Things You should be grateful for
Gratitude is so powerful. But how does one practice thankfulness when he does not see or have reason to be grateful? Like I said there are hundreds (if not thousands) of things that demand your expression of gratitude. But in this article, a carefully condensed list of 1o things has been compiled. And here they are:
As basic as this may sound, thousands of people across the globe are homeless. And without trying to exalt mediocrity, having shelter (whether rented or owned) is a blessing many people don’t see the need to be thankful for.
Just imagine centuries ago, when people needed to travel thousands of miles just to hear from someone. But today, all of those are history. Today, in the comfort of your bedroom you can reach out to your family members, childhood friends, and business partners thousands of miles away in other countries or regions with your modern technology such as social media and the likes.
Also, you have facilities, applications, and equipment such as spelling check, autosave, dryer, etc., that you can use to make life easy for you. Nevertheless, one needs to keep check of things to avoid excesses. In the case of smartphones, you talk of smartphone addiction.
3. Your life and health
Only the living have goals and aspirations, right? That’s the more reason you need to express gratitude in and through your life for the gift of life and health. The brutal truth is that many who have kicked the bucket actually wished for the life you and I have.
Don’t you think that is enough reason to show gratitude for life and health? You have a voice to speak (and to sing whenever you feel like it) and, basically, for your senses. That is to say, your ability to see, smell, and sense touch (as well as emotions through your mind), and of course, taste and eat your meals when you prepare or order for them
What is the family doing in number four of this list? You may ask. In that case, please note that this list is in no significant order.
That said, you need to be grateful for the families that God has given you, including your parents, your siblings, and other extended family members such as your uncles, aunties, grannies, and grandpas.
Undoubtedly, the family can be a great system of support for anyone during childhood and even afterward.
Good friends support, push and encourage you to become the best you can be as a person. In other words, they are keen to give you honest feedback, at any time, about any situation with your best interest at heart. Unfortunately, good friends are hard to find.
That’s why you should be grateful for their presence in your life. As a result, you should express this gratitude through your behaviors and how you treat them.
6. Tough times that have made you strong
When you look at yourself in the mirror, who do you see? Well, you’d not be wrong if you say you see yourself. But you’d be in error not to realize that the person you see in the mirror every morning has evolved over the years.
True, all of us have ebbs and flow moments in our lives. At some point, we feel down, and the next moment we feel up. But as someone who has chosen the attitude of gratitude, you must be thankful for the difficult experiences in your lives that have made and shaped you into a better person.
Everyone wants and enjoys freedom, even a child who barely knows what is good for him. But the question is how many people in the world enjoy freedom. That’s enough reason you should be grateful for the ability to stroll in your neighborhood, travel (legally) wherever you want to, or enjoy the right to speak and the human right to vote, to mention a few.
A farmer who plants during spring knows what it means to feel grateful each time there’s a reasonable level of rainfall. That’s almost the same way you should be grateful for the water you have to drink, the air you breathe, the beautiful flowers in your garden or lawn at home or work, the sunshine, and generally the weather.
9. Your little Wins
You must have heard this ancient saying, “Do not despise the days of little beginning.” Fine, you may not be where you want to be right now. But then you need to put on the attitude of thankfulness by being grateful for the achievements you’ve made so far, even though they seem insignificant.
Some people may want to call this showing contentment. Yes, that’s right. But then, one must know that there’s a clear difference between being contented and showing complacency. The former is a practice of gratitude and recognizes the need to push forward in the hope for the best.
10. Your Uniqueness
Last but not least. You must be grateful to God for your uniqueness. To start with, you didn’t create yourself. And being thankful for your uniqueness as a person in terms of your height, body size, the color of your eyeballs, etc., is just a step in giving depression a goodbye kiss, as you shall learn about later in this article.
Again, remember that nobody else is like you on this planet– aside from you!
Being Grateful: Why should we be grateful?
When I learned what being grateful in life means, I also realized that gratitude holds many incredible benefits that many have least paid attention to. A research by Positive psychology supports that the importance of living a life filled with gratitude cannot be overstressed.
On this note, here are some of the benefits of maintaining a state of thankfulness:
· Being grateful improves your personality
While gratitude matters in life, it can also help to improve one’s personality. Interestingly, individuals who lack gratitude in their lives most likely will be unable to give gratitude to others through their behaviors.
That’s because one cannot give what he doesn’t have. But on the other hand, people whose lifestyle hooks to gratitude are less self-centered and not materialistic to a fault.
· Being grateful makes you happier
While the attitude of gratitude improves one’s personality, grateful people are happier than others in the world. And therefore, they find a reason to be optimistic even in not-too-good situations. And for this reason, they become very likable to others, as they can be a source of inspiration to other people.
· An attitude of gratitude makes you healthy
When you’re happy and full of gratitude your brain recognizes that. And of course, secrets one of the good hormones your body needs, called dopamine— often called happy hormones. And this, in turn boosts your immune system and also reduces depressive symptoms, facilitates quality sleep and rest, regulates blood pressure, and results in better mental and physical health.
· Expressing appreciation and gratitude improves your friendship
Being grateful as a person can very much influence how you relate with your friends (as well as family members). It helps you improve your friendship as it allows you to express appreciation to them in simplicity, especially when they render help to you. It may be a gift, attention, affection, or as the case may be.
· Being grateful foster Career growth and advancement
One crucial aspect of people’s life is career and work. And understanding how gratitude works can positively affect this area in no small way. Yes, being grateful can help one’s leadership skills as it allows one to rightly deal with workers and with enhanced decision making.
On top of that, when you make gratitude your usual practice or lifestyle, you live above work stress and career-related challenges.
· Being grateful Improve your romantic relationship
Just the same way gratitude has a positive influence on your friendship with others, it can also improve your romantic relationship with partner. That’s because a grateful person knows when to say “thank you” without having a sense of entitlement. And this attitude in a romantic relationship enhances the love and affinity amongst the partners.
· Give a goodbye kiss to depression
Many people are not sure if there’s a correlation between gratitude and depression. Therefore leads to questions like:
- Can gratitude help depression?
- Can gratitude cure depression?
- Is it possible to be grateful but still depressed?
- Can gratitude and anxiety coexist
To attempt these questions, you may want to ask, do people who suffer from depression and anxiety practice gratitude? While research may be ongoing on the connection between depression and gratitude, people who live a life of appreciation are barely humiliated by depression.
But that’s because they know how to be grateful in life— what you shall be learning in the following subheading.
Being Grateful: How to be grateful in life?
Having looked at the benefit of thankfulness, at this time, you will explore how you can practice gratitude as a person. And the beauty is that anyone can learn these practical steps.
Here are they:
· Maintaining a gratitude journal
Gratitude journaling is one of the most common ways people leave the state of unthankfulness into being grateful. And it involves keeping track of things and memories that you’re grateful for every day.
Candidly, it is a good way of reminding yourself of all the good and positive things that you’re thankful for. You can journal these positives in a jotter, notepad, or on your smart device to allow you to revisit them daily or weekly, as the case may be.
Your brain gets used to any habit you serve. And daily meditation is a habit you need to develop to make gratitude your lifestyle. Meditation allows you to practice mindfulness and employ visuals in your mind to remind and train yourself of the need to dwell on things you are thankful for.
Whatever time you pick during the day, you take a pen and piece of paper and list 5- 10 things that you’re practically grateful for.
Whether we like it or not, most things we are grateful for are beyond us. Take, for example, the air you breathe. Who do you thank? Since it is not like the gifts you receive from family members, friends, or your romantic partner.
That explains how many across different traditions, cultures, and religions feel obliged to express gratitude to a higher power. For me, over the years offering prayers of gratitude to God has been one of the ways I practice gratitude.
One way to embrace the attitude of gratitude is by learning to become selfless. While it may sound easier said than done, it is the reality you need to accept. An article on Forbes stated that research supports that giving back to others in your world is a key to becoming a more grateful individual.
· Being grateful through the expressions of appreciation
And finally, you need to realize that living a life of gratitude is not automatic. That is to say, it requires you to be deliberate and willing to use expressions of gratitude and appreciation.
On that ground, you can start by being grateful for the little things around you that you’ve always never thought to deserve your thankfulness. It could be learning to say, “Thank you” for the little favor you get from your younger siblings, your child, friend, or colleague at work– and even a stranger.
Summary of Being Grateful
Gratitude is good for your health and, of course, matters in life. It can change the life and the attitude of anybody. And the good news is that anyone can learn how to start expressing gratitude and living a life of being grateful for everything, no matter what. However, if becoming more grateful would require you to seek the service of a medical expert or spiritual leader, do not hesitate.