How can we develop the attitude of gratitude as a habit? Is it possible that we train our minds to positively think, see, hear, and smell things that fill our thoughts with nothing but gratefulness each day? Yes, of course, it is possible. But just like every other habit, it is not automatically formed. Living a life of gratitude even during a tough time is possible. In this article, we’re going to find out some of the ways and the reasons why we must live a life of gratitude regularly.
Living a life of gratitude even during tough times is a mindset that is cultivated, learned, and developed over time. It starts with knowing, and with a choice to make. It starts with the knowledge, that everything you have is a gift, to understand that your life is a gift from God is the beginning of living a grateful life. And also for you to make the choice of acknowledging such a gift and the giver is the best choice to make.
What Actually is Gratitude? in a conscious attempt
So often, when a word is frequently used, it appears to lose value or taken for granted in a conscious attempt to really understand what it means literally.
The word gratitude means to be thankful, to appreciate, to return gestures, to count your blessings to recognize what you have which probably, you no longer pay attention to. Gratitude makes you acknowledge everything you’ve achieved, who you are, what you’ve done, the grace that has enabled you thus far.
It also, means one learning to appreciate your life as a miracle, which only is possible through the ultimate power of the universe – God, the author of life, and every good gift. I know some people may have a problem accepting this fact, due to their religious inclinations. But at least, we can all agree that life is a mystery and that it is filled with wonders that no one can explain.
Gratitude Helps You to See Life Differently
When you train your mind on how to recognize things great and small in your life, in others, and in the world, your mind will be filled with joyful bubbles that want to burst, and the bursting takes the form of expressing your joy, thankfulness, and appreciating the good things you see.
It will enable your focus to be shifted from a lack mentality to an abundance mentality. The reason is that when you live within this space of a grateful heart, everything counts for you. Because everything is valued and appreciated, you no longer take things for granted or focus on your lack.
I heard a story of an old man that was discharged from the hospital after he was given oxygen for 24 hours. As he was given his discharge note together with his bill. The old man looked at his bill and began to weep when he saw how much he was billed for 24-hour oxygen. They asked the old man why he was crying, instead of feeling happy for his recovery?
The old man then replied that he is crying not because he can’t afford the bill, but because of how much he owes God. He stated that since his life, till now that he has been using God’s oxygen and he never paid anything for it! What a remarkable reflection! Just like that old man confessed, The air we breathe freely, who can pay the cost if it was to be charged? But still, we take it for granted. Someone said that we never appreciate something until when we lose it. A heart of gratitude will help you to acknowledge all these facts and be grateful.
Living A Life of Gratitude Boosts Your Life
There has been a series of studies by several behavioral, psychological scholars, who concluded that there is a correlation between the practice of gratitude and life improvements. This is because, having a positive attitude, giving appreciation, makes people happier, both for the giver and the receiver.
Let me ask this, have you ever done something, or given something of significance to a person, be it a family member, friend, or spouse, and you find out that your act of kindness, or gift, service whatever, was not received with gratefulness?
There was no appreciation shown by the receiver, at least to your knowledge. How did such an attitude make you feel? Then reverse the picture, to see a person who praises, gives thanks, dances if you will, for anything given to him or her. And consider how you feel.
This reminds me of the joyful, blissful, and ever thankful attitude of my late sweet mother. My mother attracted gifts more frequently during her lifetime, because of how she blesses the giver. She was always grateful and blessed, sings special songs, and just makes you feel special for anything anybody does or gives to her.
And with her deep sense and contagious humor, she will speak a special, broken English that will cause you to have a belly laugh. Lol. Her children, grandchildren, relations, friends, neighbors, and well-wishers, all find it a privilege and something that gives them happiness to send gifts to our mother. What exemplary life of gratefulness!
Because of how such gifts are priced and received from a grateful mother. It’s not surprising, why and how she remained strong and healthy till her 95th birthday when she departed from this world!
My mother departed in a remarkable way; She took her bath, dressed up, rubbed a powder, sat down on her chair, and that was it! The memories of the beautiful life, my mother lived, had been a source of encouragement, hope, love, and peace for me and my family!
We confess, that none of us can measure up to her when it comes to living a life of gratefulness, being appreciative to God and to others for every small and big thing we receive. What’s the point of sharing this? It is to emphasize the point that living a life of gratitude has positive life or health benefits to you and to others around you.
Living a life of gratitude eases pains, strengthens your hope, enhances relationships, and it boosts your daily energy, and reduces your anxiety because you know the source of your life.
Some studies equally documented that a person who lives daily life of gratefulness, exhibits alertness, energy, enthusiasm, optimism, and other positive energies, according to the study done by Michael McCollough at Southern Methodist University- Dallas, also by Robert Emmons of the University of California. Their studies were very extensive on the gratitude effects on their subjects. It is a well-documented publication.
Also, Dr. Emmons, wrote a book titled “Thanks”. Without getting into the details of the studies, I can extract what the result stated; The results of the study stated that daily gratitude exercises resulted in higher reported levels of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, optimism, and energy. https://www.amazon.com/Thanks-Practicing-Gratitude-Make-Happier/dp/0547085737
Gratitude and Your Wellness
In addition, listen to what Dr. Emmons says about the effect of gratitude. “ Research indicates that gratitude can lower blood pressure, improve immune function, reduce cardiac inflammation, increase happiness, improve relationships, and decrease depression.”
“ He recommends that you simply make it a point of duty to notice something or to notice opportunities that you can be thankful for. For example, he is aware that giving a talk offers him an opportunity to teach more people about his research, for which he is grateful.”
Furthermore, those in the gratitude group experienced less depression and stress, and they were predisposed to help others towards achieving the same results. The research by Dr. Emmons also indicated that the people who practiced gratitude’s seemed to live a more creative life.
They are more resilient and able to cope during difficult times, and also, they have stronger immunity and stable social relationships than their counterparts. The key point is that living a life of gratefulness is a choice, it’s a mindset, you learn to adopt being aware of how best to live your life. It does not suggest that those who live to show gratitude live a life free from struggles, trials, and challenges not at all.
But it is the understanding that things could have been worse than they are and that there is nothing you can do about it. It is the understanding that the most precious things in life are free. For instance, if the air we breathe is to be marketed, many of us can’t afford to pay the price, and the rich and powerful will hoard it to be for them and their families, while the poor will suffocate to death who cares. Likewise, water, sunshine, and rain. Let us learn to be grateful even in the midst of our circumstances.
Living a Life of Gratitude is Not Only
for the Thanksgiving Day
Having a thankful heart is a daily exercise. At least it’s supposed to be a daily exercise, just as we understand that each day is a gift. It is a habit of recognizing how blessed we are to be alive and healthy even in the midst of a long year global COVID-19 Pandemic.
We are to appreciate how fortunate we are to be alive. And how blessed we are to have a job, a career, a roof over our head talks less a mansion. It is the gratefulness of appreciating the wonderful relationships we have in our lives.
The ability to appreciate such relationships as our spouses, children, parents, relations, siblings, friends, church family, and other social groups we share. How to Keep a Positive Attitude and Confession Regardless of The Situation
Consequently, that we shouldn’t take for granted that we have every part of our body sound and functional. You have your eyes to see the beautiful things of life, your ears hear, your legs to walk, and your hands to work, your nose to breath, and your mouth to talk and eat food as you like.
My friends, these are things we should be thankful for! Unfortunately, they are taken for granted by so many of us. Hence, this reminder through the post. I heard a story of a man who was complaining either that he has no good shoes, but when he met a happy man without legs, the man repented of his grumbling and appreciated that he had his legs.
Oftentimes, many people never appreciate what they have until they lose it. Begin today as you read this article, to start naming, counting, recognizing, and appreciating how blessed you are. There’s no denial to it.
Living a Life of Gratitude for Small Things As Well As in Big Things Brings Happiness
So many people live as if they are putting their happiness, and gratitude, living in suspense, waiting for when they will achieve their biggest dreams. They want to hit the jackpot of their dreams before they can feel grateful, joyful, and satisfied.
What a greedy way to live! What do you think is holding you back from expressing or living a life of gratitude? Is it that you want to finish your degree program, to fly the hat off the sky? Maybe that Ph.D. Study or you’re waiting for a promotion, start a business, make six figures a year, or a new job, a new husband or wife, or have a child, buy the dream car, and dream house?
All these are very good desires to have and to achieve. But we should not see them as if our lives depend on any of them. Our lives do not depend on any of them. They are extra stuff. And they are fleeting.
So, let us learn to live with or without so many things that we have glamorized and or idolized. Learn to appreciate where you are now while striving to get where you want to reach. But despising anything, or holding off on your thankfulness, waiting till the perfect weather, will be negligence that is consequential.
In conclusion, considering the psychological, social, psychological, spiritual, and medical benefits of living a life of gratitude, decide today not to postpone your happiness any longer. Start today, if you have not before now, to keep a track record of the things you are grateful for.
So, begin today from your heart give thanks, to God and to people who have been a blessing one way or the other in your life’s journey. As for me, I remain grateful for the life I have and the grace. And I’m grateful to you for reading this post, for stopping by to read this, for that I’m grateful!
5 thoughts on “Living a Life of Gratitude Even During Tough Times”
This is a great and uplifting post.
It is very clear that when we show gratitude it is not just ourselves that benefit, but everyone else that we come into contact with. The story you told about your mum certainly proves this.
Sometimes we feel very down and it is very difficult to be grateful about anything, but at the same time, that is probably when we need to force ourselves to grateful, as that will help to pull us out of it.
Thanks for sharing.
Hi Geo, thanks so much for your excellent comment! I appreciate what you said, that showing gratitude benefits not only ourselves but those around us. It is like the proverb which says that you can’t pour perfume on another person without you having or getting the smell on you. Cultivating an attitude of gratefulness eases our pains because it will enable us to keep our thoughts in perspective of what matters most.
Thanks again, for your kind commend!
Hi Sarah, this is a great article which will inspire people to live better and appreciate family and friends and their health. Being someone who enjoys the subject of self development, always looking to improve my personal skills. Gratitude keeps me grounded and appreciate what i have instead of concentrating too much on what can be achieved to a point where you loose touch with your humanness.
Great subject, should be taught in schools,
Hi Wince, thanks so much for stopping by. I do appreciate greatly your kind and candid comments. You said it well when you alluded that many people are concentrating too much on what can be achieved to the point of losing touch with their humanness. That’s exactly how people are living today. Because of greed, and love of money.
Once again, thanks for your comment.
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