How to Cultivate Gratitude
By Tyissha Joseph-Dottin
"Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” Oprah Winfrey
Some of us get up every morning and the first thing we think about are our setbacks, failures, and insecurities. We don’t even realize that God has granted us another day. Sometimes we spend our time envying others and complaining about the things that we don't have, rather than focusing our attention on our blessings. The next time you feel like you want to dwell on negative things, think about these questions: Did you know that there are over one million homeless people who don't have anywhere decent to sleep at night? Can you imagine that some people didn’t get the chance to wake up this morning? Did you know that there are thousands of people who lost their lives this year already?
If you have your sight and you can walk, count yourself blessed because there are many others who don't have the opportunity to play with their child or see the face of their loved ones. If you have the chance to eat three meals a day, count yourself blessed because there are many who didn't have the chance to eat a meal today. If you have the chance to go to work every day, count yourself blessed because there are so many others who are struggling to find a job to provide for their family. There are people out there who wish and pray for the things you have. For that reason, we need to express gratitude.
Gratitude helps us be appreciative for the things we have, whether it's big or small. Gratitude helps us refocus our attention on the goodness in our lives, instead of what we lack, and it helps us get out of our darkest moments. Gratitude also benefits our well-being and increases happiness. Studies have shown that gratitude reduces aggression and makes people more empathetic. It also lowers the risk of depression and anxiety.
It's hard to attract great things in your life when you constantly have negative thoughts. Your unpleasant thoughts will block your blessings and prevent you from moving forward in life. One of the best ways to help with this is by cultivating gratitude because it will help you shift your focus from negative to positive.
There are different ways you can practice gratitude on a daily basis.
1) Gratitude Journal
Get up every morning and give thanks for at least three things in your life by writing it down on a paper, even on your bad days. Always look for opportunities to find the good within bad situations. For example, you can be grateful for having food on the table or clothes on your back, or even be thankful for your sight that allows you to read this blog at this moment. When you attempt to do this simple act, you'll realize you have a lot to be grateful for.
If you're religious and you believe there's a higher power, you always can pray. You can remind yourself that every day is a gift that The Lord has granted you, and you'll see how the dynamic of your day will change. Gratitude can help you build a stronger relationship with God.
3) Express Your Gratitude to Others
You can also improve your relationship with others by expressing how much they have impacted your life. You can call them or write a simple thank you letter for the role they play in your life. We often take the people we love for granted and we don't value them. Appreciate the moments you spend with your friends and family, and thank them for being part of your life. By practicing this simple gesture, they will feel appreciated and loved.
The more you practice these daily routines, the better you feel about your life.
Life is short. It's time to appreciate the goodness in your life and express gratitude in all things. Fostering this will bring more positivity your way, and everything that surrounds you will change for the better.
Want more from Tyissha? Follow her on Instagram @tyalatya.