There is no limit to what you don’t have, and if that is where you put your focus, then your life will inevitably be filled with endless dissatisfaction.

Most people focus so heavily on the deficiencies in their lives that they barely perceive the good that counterbalances them.

Getting into the habit of showing appreciation and being grateful affirms you. The things you are lacking are still there, but all of a sudden you will recognize the multitude of goodies you didn’t realize were there as well!

Expressing gratitude can, indeed, change your way of seeing yourself and the world.

We know from tracking personal stories of people who keep gratitude journals on a weekly basis that they exercise more regularly, report fewer physical symptoms, feel better about their lives as a whole, and are more optimistic about the upcoming week compared to those who record hassles or neutral life events.

Grateful people report higher levels of positive emotions, life satisfaction, vitality, optimism and lower levels of depression and stress.

The disposition toward gratitude appears to enhance pleasant feeling states more than it diminishes unpleasant emotions. Grateful people do not deny or ignore the negative aspects of life; they are more likely to acknowledge a belief in the interconnectedness of all life and a commitment to and responsibility to others.

People who practice the principles of gratitude have the capacity to be empathic and to take the perspective of others. They are rated, by their peers and people in their social networks, as more generous and are more likely to help someone with a personal problem or offer emotional support to another.

Grateful individuals place less importance on material goods; they are less likely to judge their own and others’ success in terms of possessions accumulated; they are less envious of wealthy people and are more likely to share their possessions with others relative to less grateful people.

Practicing appreciation and gratitude slowly, but insistently, changes your orientation to the world and your life!

A simple and effective way to practice gratitude is to integrate giving thanks into your everyday life. In the beginning, it might take you a few minutes or longer to call to mind the people and events for which you are grateful.

Before too long, those people and all the things that happen to you that make you grateful will tumble out of your awareness like an avalanche.

One of the easiest ways to get in the habit of giving thanks and being grateful is to create a gratitude journal. In fact, I recommend you keep a gratitude journal. Date your entries and write daily, weekly or monthly about what you are grateful for, whom you are grateful for, why you are grateful and the events that inspire your gratitude.

Your gratitude journal will become a rich history and legacy of the valued and cherished moments of your life and life experiences, and the people who helped weave the threads of that rich tapestry.

Remember, only YOU can make it happen!


Original Content by Jackie Black, Ph.D., BCC ~
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