Looking Through the Eyes of Gratitude
Updated: Nov 14, 2022
Gratitude affirms all the good things life has offered and has to offer. It opens up the person who practices it to life’s blessings and gives them that much-needed boost to take another step and move forward despite difficult circumstances.
There’s a power behind the words “thank you” or “I am grateful.” It’s a force in this world that’s often taken for granted by people, not knowing the significant impact when it is said or acted. Albeit an inherent human reaction, some people find saying and giving thanks hard, especially when encountering difficulties or challenges.
After all, being grateful amidst life’s problems is somewhat akin to having superhuman strength, impossible in an overwhelming situation. But then again, these are the times when being thankful should be given more importance, no matter how hard it is to look up and utter the words “thank you.”
The Power Behind the Words
Believe it or not, a grateful attitude is essential – even in times of crisis.
It doesn’t necessarily mean that people are immortal beings and are incapable of feeling hurt and sad. A grateful attitude in the middle of a life’s challenges only proves the person’s resiliency, their strength to want to overcome all the odds against them, and shout out, “I can do this, I can survive this. And I know that this will make me a better person and come out as the winner, so thank you!”
Easier said than done. The truth is, it’s not easy. Gratitude does not come naturally in times of setbacks and life’s upheavals. Saying “thank you” is not simple when you’re demoralized and broken down to the core.
Why do people do it? Why are there people who’d take the time and effort to stop, pause, and give thanks? And why is it encouraged to embed a grateful attitude when facing problems?
Research has shown that gratitude helps people to cope with traumatic events. Yes, practicing being thankful, especially during dire circumstances, hones and sharpens the individual’s resiliency. Deciding to say thank you during the hard times becomes a decision to choose to look at the positive side of things; it then becomes a choice to adopt an optimistic mindset, to go above and beyond and put the head above the water and choose to breathe to look forward and past the adverse circumstance that’s happening around.
“Thank you” becomes a tool and weapon against negativity. Gratitude is akin to going through a spiritual awakening. Author Jacqui DeLorenzo shares in her book Straight from My Heart the need to open the heart to positive energy and to find a place filled with peace and happiness – similar to the power that a grateful and positive attitude brings to the individual.
Benefits of Gratitude
Adopting a grateful attitude comes differently to different people. There are many things to be thankful for in life, and people give thanks in many different ways. Some people practice gratitude by expressively saying thanks for every little thing. For instance, they say thank you when someone opens the door or allows them to board the bus first.
Others practice a more mindful approach by being aware of their environment, such as showing appreciation or being grateful for living in good and healthy conditions or having regular meals. Other people would practice it through meditation and prayer.
Regular acts of gratitude and appreciation significantly benefit the individual’s physical and mental health. Here are some of those benefits.
Increased Sense of Happiness
A grateful attitude helps people zoom in and focus more on positive emotions and not dwell long on negativities. This sense of happiness is rooted more in that feeling of satisfaction, contentment, and optimism. Studies have shown that gratitude reduces the number of toxic and negative emotions, such as resentment, frustration, envy, and even regret. All of which ultimately reduce and prevents anxiety or depression.
Improves Immune System
People who are grateful and appreciative in life have lived healthier and happier lives. Stressors are the number one aggressor against the immune system; hence, one way to counter any stress triggers is to imbibe a grateful and positive attitude. Being grateful and appreciative eases out nerve tensions in the stomach and the heart or reduces inflammation because gratitude exudes calmness and peacefulness.
Self-esteem is described as how people see themselves or their worth – which is also connected to self-respect. Social comparison is part of a person’s psychological make-up wherein they regard themselves based on how they see or evaluate others. If this comparison process gets way out of hand, the resulting factor is frustration and anxiety, which will eventually lead to depression and other mental health complications.
Gratitude is an effective tool against extreme social comparison. Rather than comparing themselves to other people’s skills, capabilities, and achievements, a grateful nature helps people focus more on who and what they’re capable of and appreciate themselves more, thereby making gratitude a natural self-esteem booster.
A Blessings Magnet
A grateful character is a blessings magnet, a tool to pay it forward. Gratitude is a powerful force, such and such that it encompasses the people surrounding the grateful person with positivity, radiating a happy and cheerful nature towards others. When people get hold of this, it becomes a ripple effect that others begin to release this positive essence as well.
And if people become more grateful and appreciative and instill an optimistic perspective towards life, they start to attract more good things and blessings – more good things happen to them. They’d find that people and opportunities approach them more because they have become approachable and likable in real life.
And to think it all starts with a simple thank you.