Over the last few weeks, we have been looking at having a positive mindset and how this can have a massive positive impact on our emotional and mental wellbeing. Being grateful is such a great way to express this to ourselves and now it time to talk about how we can spread the love and benefits of this to the people in our lives. The social benefits are especially significant here because, after all, gratitude is a social emotion and is a relationship-strengthening emotion, as it requires us to see how we’ve been supported and affirmed by other people. Which is great for our mindset as it gets us looking for all the positive things instead of being focused on all the things which aren’t quite right. Gratitude is a great heart opening way of being positive and in the moment with ourselves plus with others. It’s like an affirmation of goodness, we are affirming that there is good things in the world, gifts and benefits we’re receiving. This doesn’t mean that life is perfect or that we ignore the negatives, the complaints, burdens, and hassles we have in our lives but it helps us shift focus. When we look at life as a whole, gratitude encourages us to identify some of the good things in our lives and gets us searching these things out. Also, it helps us take stock and helps us to start to figure out where that goodness comes from. It will allow us to move outside of ourselves and recognise that the sources of this goodness are all around us and it didn’t stem from anything, we necessarily did ourselves in which we might take pride. We can appreciate positive traits in ourselves, but I think true gratitude involves a humble dependence on others. We can then start to acknowledge that other people or just life its self, gave us many gifts, big and small, helping us achieve the goodness in our lives.
Our relationships with others are the greatest amplifier of our happiness, so it is important to think of other people as we build our gratitude. It’s time to focus our gratitude on the people for whom we’re thankful too, rather than just circumstances or material things. Directly expressing your gratitude is a really intense way of doing this, this could be writing a gratitude letter to someone who had an impact on you, whether it be something that’s just happened or something from years ago. You could also share the day’s grateful moments around the dinner table or when your meeting with friends and family. Applying this to your relationship and friendships will help to strengthen your relationships, cultivating compassion and gratitude, enhancing positivity and transformative change. You can add these to your gratitude journal and start to express how this makes you feel, making others happy is a great feeling. It’s also a good way to change from habits of complaining to habits of gratitude, you can share the experiences your grateful for from others, to the other people in your life. This will help other people see how happy this has made you and maybe even help them rethink how they choose to live and express themselves in their lives.
Not complaining will help you show more respect to others and help you feel much better about who you are and the life your choosing to live. It will also help you guard against taking things or people for granted; instead, we see gifts in life as new and exciting. I do believe that people who live a life of being more thankful really do experience life differently than people who cheat themselves out of a happier life by not feeling grateful. I read a lovely story about a woman who had a gratitude jar and in it, she put the things she had been grateful for and every New Year she read through them and shared them with the people in her life. What a great end and start to the new year, it’s something we could do every month in fact, even without the jar you could just read back through your journal and remember all the people and things your grateful for that month. You could also create the opposite to the swear jar and call it “a gratitude giving jar” and you can pop loose change in as a way of expressing gratitude for an experience or great day. All of the people putting into this if, say it’s a family thing or a work one, then could decide when it was full who or where this could go. Maybe to a charity or a person in need in the group or even the money could be spent it on a night out for you all, it doesn’t matter what, as long as it is a positive thing.
Practices like this can not only teach you, the other people around you, but also all the children in your life, of just how important gratitude is. These things can show that gratitude empowers people to feel the pleasure of just giving unconditionally, I think it’s important to think outside of the box when it comes to gratitude. Mother Theresa talked about how grateful she was to the people she was helping, the sick and dying in the slums of Calcutta because they helped her to grow and deepen her spirituality. That’s a different way of thinking about gratitude, gratitude for what we can give as opposed to what we receive. Let’s be honest none of us are Mother Theresa being that unconditionally devoted to others is very rare, but how about volunteering for an hour a week, helping your elderly neighbour with her garden, helping at the school fair, or local village events. All of these can be a great way to show and give gratitude for all the people in our society. It could be your very powerful way to help you cultivate a deep sense of gratitude in your life.
But on an easier note, just smiling and giving someone a compliment, can just as easily make someone’s day, that person could then feel happier and pass on another smile or compliment to someone else. This journey of gratitude and goodwill could spread into a positive epidemic, try it and see it may surprise you how great this feels.
Thanks for dropping by Sara x