I’m grateful, but achieving gratitude isn’t always easy. You see, my brain wants to focus on what’s wrong and what I am not accomplishing.
I’m my own worst critic, but this became beneficial to me in the long run. Here, I share why being grateful is an advantage in both your personal and professional life.
In this article:
- Make Time to Appreciate Blessings
- We Always Focus on What’s Wrong
- Gratitude Definition: What Is Gratitude?
- Focus on What You Have with Gratitude
- How Gratitude Helps You Become Successful in Life
- The Time of My Life Where I Want to Give Up
- Ways to Become Grateful Every Day
How Gratitude Becomes Key to Your Success
Make Time to Appreciate Blessings
In a twisted way, being my own critic is a good thing because it motivates me. In another way, it’s warped and causes me to focus on my perceived deficiencies instead of my efficiencies.
Now that the new year has come, you stop — even if for a split second — to consider how you’ve been blessed and start counting your blessings. Don’t think you’re blessed?
Check out this worldwide wealth calculator and come back. (Spoiler alert: if you earn $30k+ per year, you’re a 1%’er — congratulations!)
We Always Focus on What’s Wrong
It seems our world wants to steer us to what is wrong instead of what is right. Watch the nightly (or daily) news, and my case is proven within seconds of tuning in.
We hear all too often what is wrong.
Whatever happened to discussing what is right? I guess those stories don’t sell.
But, the media only gives us stories that WE — as a people — pay attention to, so who can blame them?
Gratitude Definition: What Is Gratitude?
Before I talk about being grateful as a way to your success, let me first discuss what gratitude is. Here are some definitions of gratitude:
- According to Eric Mosley and Derek Irvine, authors of The Power of Thanks, having feelings of gratitude “magnifies the spirit and promotes well-being.” Stepping back and being truly appreciative of something gives people a new perspective.
- In positive psychology, being grateful is more than just about feeling grateful. It’s a deeper appreciation that creates lasting positivity.
- According to American psychologist and expert on gratitude Dr. Robert Emmons, gratitude has two stages: acknowledgment of the goodness in life and recognition of the sources of goodness outside one’s self.
- In the first stage, you say to yourself that life is good and acknowledge that there are factors in life that make it worth living. If somebody gives you something or does something good, you also acknowledge the presence of that good thing and the effort put into it.
- The second stage is about acknowledging the external factors that make life good and who to thank for them. This can include other people, animals, and nature.
Focus on What You Have with Gratitude
I want to propose a different way for you and me. This is the way of gratitude.
Instead of focusing on what we don’t have — whether in financial, physical, spiritual, emotional, or relational realms — let’s focus on what we DO have. Let’s accentuate the positive aspects of our lives.
If you struggle with being a modern-day Polly Anna, then you’re in good company. Yours truly does, too.
But, like most problems (errr…umm…”issues” is the PC term, right?) today, there’s an app for that.
I am serious, and I love it!
Enter the Gratitude app. I have this on my smartphone and try my best to use it every day.
It’s a simple journal platform that asks you: “What great things happened today?” Gotta love that, right?
It makes you turn everyday into Thanksgiving. It helps you focus on the good in your life.
Your brain only goes where your thoughts allow it. If you feed it bad thoughts, you get more bad thoughts in return.
If you feed it good thoughts, you get more good thoughts in return. It’s a great cycle WHEN you change your input.
As you welcome another year, put your life into perspective. Spend some time using a journal or the Gratitude app to focus on the good in your life.
Focus on what you DO have vs. what you do not. Focus on the possessions you’ve been blessed with already.
How Gratitude Helps You Become Successful in Life
There are several benefits of being grateful for your personal and professional life:
1. Lowers Stress Levels
Being grateful switches your mind from negative to positive thinking and allows your body to release good hormones that enhance your mood. Even small acts of gratitude, like a simple letter of appreciation, can uplift your spirit and lower stress levels.
2. Boosts Social Support and Relations
Gratitude helps people form new relationships and strengthen your current ones. Being thankful also enhances your social support since it helps you gain the trust of the people around you.
In business, this benefit is helpful in getting new clients and retaining your current clients.
3. Helps You Through Difficult Situations
Acts of gratitude can help in solving problems, being flexible with changes, and apologizing. It’s a form of emotion that can perfectly compensate for challenging situations in your business.
4. Motivates You
It’s also a great way to motivate yourself to persevere in every aspect of your life, especially in running a business. By being grateful, you can become more focused on achieving the life you want.
5. Pushes You to Work Harder and Achieve More
Being grateful can push you to work harder to achieve your dreams. It allows you to pause and reflect on positive things, like love, joy, and peace, which can fuel your emotions to work on your achievements.
It also lets you become present in your own happiness rather than focusing on unimportant distractions and challenges that can hinder your success.
6. Promotes Physical Health
A study has shown that grateful people have a better immune function and lower blood pressure.They’re also more likely to take care of their body by exercising regularly, following dietary behaviors, avoiding alcohol abuse and smoke, and doing regular check-ups.
7. Provides Better Sleep
Being grateful can also provide better quality sleep at night. A study has shown that participants who had gratitude experienced fewer negative thoughts and more positive emotions at bedtime.
This makes them fall asleep faster and have better sleep. The study also found that the more you are grateful throughout the day, the more you accumulate positive thoughts that help you fall asleep fast at night.
8. Improves Psychological Well-Being
Being grateful also lowers levels of toxic emotions like regret, envy, and frustration. Research revealed that among the three groups who participated in the study, those who wrote about the things they were grateful for felt better about their lives and were more optimistic than the two groups who wrote about daily irritations and events that affected them.
The same group also exercised more and had fewer visits to doctors than the other groups.
The Time of My Life Where I Want to Give Up
For some of us, being grateful is a difficult concept to grasp.
There was a time in my life where I didn’t want to go on living. I could find nothing it seemed for which to be grateful.
I know first-hand how hard this is.
Then, a trusted friend told me about writing down the good in my life. So, begrudgingly, I tried it, and it was hard, at first.
Eventually, I came around and was able to retrain my brain to focus on the good. But, it’s just like exercise — you have to keep it up for it to be of long-term benefit.
It’s not a one-and-done item to check off your to-do list.
In my gratitude journal today, you’re in there. I am thankful for YOU!
Ways to Become Grateful Every Day
1. Enhance Your Happiness in Other Aspects of Life
Gratitude brings happiness, but happiness can also create gratitude. There are many ways you can be happy and not just in one aspect of your life.
For example, instead of focusing too much on your business success to make you happy, find happiness in other aspects of your life, like relationships and activities outside the workplace (e.g. community work). Through these, you can find more things in life to be thankful for beyond your business or career.
2. Spend More Time with Loved Ones
If you’re struggling with feeling grateful, spend more time with the people you love. This helps strengthen your relationship and bond.
It also gives you the chance to show how thankful you are to them. You can do small things to show your thankfulness and appreciation for someone.
For example, when someone is talking, listen to them instead of zoning out or interrupting.
3. Express Your Gratitude
Sometimes, it’s better to express gratitude to a person instead of keeping it to yourself. This allows them to know how you feel and express how they feel as well.
Showing your gratitude for someone helps both you and the other person to become happier and feel more positive.
4. Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness can help you become more aware of your environment, body, feelings, and thoughts. Once your awareness heightens, you’ll also find it easier to look for things to be grateful for.
Take some time every day to sit down and reflect on the things you’re grateful for. Let the feelings of gratitude go through you and recharge you.
Doing this for several weeks can help change your brain patterns tso you can be happier and more empathetic.
5. Learn How to Find Gratitude in Your Challenges
Gratitude doesn’t only involve being thankful for positive experiences. Reflecting on how a difficult situation has helped you become better is also a form of gratitude.
Life brings certain challenges our way, but take this as an opportunity to grow and improve yourself. Once you’ve realized the silver lining in these obstacles, you’ll find yourself feeling grateful that they came into your life.
Start digging deeper into your past and think about how your experiences have shaped you into the person you are today. Include those events in your journal and reflect on how you overcame them and how they’ve helped you in the long run.
Enjoy the video below by Zig Ziglar on gratitude #powerfulmotivatingstuff:
Gratitude can make a difference in your life, especially in bringing positivity into your life, which can help you become successful. Now, it’s just a matter of how you can practice it every day and turn it into a habit.
Start practicing gratitude now, and you’ll soon see how it can help you achieve success in all aspects of your life.
How does being grateful affect your everyday life? Share your experience with us in the comments section below!
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on November 20, 2015, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.