Do you have a beating heart? How about both arms and legs? Breathing on your own? A job? Friends?
Thinking about your life this way, from the perspective of the things and opportunities you DO HAVE instead of what you are without and being appreciative for it is called gratitude.
If you counted up the total moments in your life that you experienced joy or happiness versus truly bad moments, those positive moments would win out. That’s why having an attitude of gratitude is so important because during those hard times, it’s difficult to keep that kind of perspective in mind. So building the habit is crucial to keep a more realistic (and optimistic) perspective.
Here are two quick and tangible ways being grateful help your mental.
How Being Appreciative & Grateful Help
1. Better Mood
Convincing yourself that the world is against you, that only bad things ever happen to you, or that what you have is never enough is incredibly limiting. That’s putting a mental block on yourself that essentially guarantees you will only have negative experiences and that there’s no point in trying to overcome the situation.
Being hungry and ambitious to better yourself and your life is one thing. But that lack of satisfaction should be in a healthy way that promotes growth. It shouldn’t be intrinsically disliking your who you are or the situation you are currently in.
Always appreciate everything you have because you can bet there are people who are a heck of a lot more misfortunate than you with what you aren’t happy with.
Being grateful gives you a base of positivity in any situation that allows you to feel better about and keep a healthy mentality even in non-ideal situations. If you focus on thinking that way, then you will feel better than you normally would in those harder life moments.
2. Encourage Others
“But Ken, I don’t care about those people. I have enough on my own plate….”
Well, you should. From my experience, positively impacting other human beings in any way is one of the most fulfilling aspects of life.
Having a grateful mentality and energy goes a long way towards that goal. When you are outwardly appreciative and are verbal about the good that you’re lucky enough to experience, despite anything unpleasant going on around you, others are influenced by that.
Think about a room full of co-workers in the morning on a Monday morning. If two people start complaining about how terrible Mondays are, then pretty soon that’s where the conversation turns to and it’s hard for any one person to get out of that mindset. That’s why being grateful and showing that can help set the tone and inspire others to do the same.
Once they start thinking similarly, it will help encourage them to think and feel better about their own situations.
- Go one full day without complaining about anything. Even if something bad really happens.
- Record all the instances of times that you do complain as you go to hold yourself accountable.
- At the end of the day, record all of the awesome things that happened to you that day and reflect on the difference between those two lists.