Despite my monthly gratitude post, I realized that I hadn’t yet dedicated a blog post to one of my favourite topics – so what better time to write this than with Thanksgiving coming up!
From my own experience, I can say that gratitude is more than a buzzword and can really change your life. Numerous studies have highlighted the benefits of gratitude which include better health, increased resilience, happiness, improved sleep, increased productivity, deeper relationships. If that doesn’t convince you to incorporate a gratitude practice in your life, then what will?
Having said that, all of the above are most likely a consequence of a number of factors. Consciously practicing gratitude for sure has a knock-on effect on various areas of your life. In the below, I want to share three things that changed for me that I believe are directly linked to me being more grateful:
1) Mindfulness and appreciation
I guess it’s a bit of a hen and egg question: if I am more mindful, I’ll automatically become more grateful as I will notice the things that I often take for granted. Equally, if I practice gratitude, I will become more mindful. Either way, I believe gratitude has changed the way I see the world. Going about my every day life, I notice so much more. I see beauty in the world around me, be it in nature or in human interactions. Very often it’s a shift from “life is happening TO me” to “life is happening FOR me”. It’s noticing and really appreciating the random acts of kindness that I am offered: from somebody holding the door open for me, wishing me a nice day or giving me right of way on a busy street. When you realize that there are so many things in your life to be grateful for, it inevitably leads to more happiness.
I’m not proud to say that I used to quite easily create drama in my life. I would blow things out of proportion and got stuck right at the centre of it. Things would ALWAYS go wrong for me, and I was NEVER lucky. I cringe just writing this down… Gratitude helped me to gain perspective. When something unpleasant occurs nowadays it actually highlights how lucky I am most of the time. I can see the unpleasant events as the exceptions they are. And I am immediately filled with gratitude for all the things that I often take for granted. It’s not something I do consciously, it just happens because gratitude has become deeply ingrained in my mindset. And as the saying goes: you never know what worse luck your bad luck saved you from…
OK, this might be a bold statement and is really for others to judge, I guess, but I feel that being a happier, more optimistic person has turned me into a nicer person to be around. Cause who wants to listen to people complain all the time? I certainly don’t… Secondly, having said all of the above, I am able to really see and consequently acknowledge the nice things people do for me. And I do hope that I express my gratitude to the people around me much more often than I used to. Besides, by shifting my perspective, I don’t think things personal anymore (or at least less often!) which again helps the way I connect with people.
By the way, writing this post has been interesting. I generally KNOW that gratitude has been a game changer for me and that it led to many positive changes but it hasn’t actually been easy to put it into words and really put my finger on it. Maybe it’s because it’s been a profound change that somehow filters into so many aspects of life and maybe also because a lot of the change has been incremental rather than one massive shift. Who knows?!
If you would like to share your gratitude journey – or also if you think gratitude is indeed just an empty buzzword, please feel free to leave a comment below or drop me an email. I love to hear from you.