Gratitude: The Key To Cultivating
A Positive Attitude
It's easy to complain about what you don't have and bemoan what you've lost, especially in today's economic climate. But doing so just feeds into a feeling of victim hood. That attitude doesn't help create inner resources to deal with difficulties that appear. Instead, griping about life quickly erodes self-confidence, and creates a life full of dissatisfaction and anxiety. In that mindset, it's almost impossible to succeed in anything. Complaining drains any possibility of progress from every area of your life.
One of the best ways to combat that downbeat attitude and formulate a more constructive outlook is to practice a sense of thankfulness. This doesn't mean you deny unpleasant emotions and disappointments or ignore negative situations. It's simply that you don't focus on them or let them control you.
Do you take the people, abilities, and circumstances of your life for granted? Most people do. Much of the time, people don't appreciate what they have until they're taken away. When those things that they've counted on without noticing disappear, they realize just how much those things meant to them.
If you're aware, when you see someone in a worse condition than you, you'll recognize your blessing. You may say, "There, but for the grace of God, go I." As I was growing up, there were physical and mentally disabled people in my life. Because of that, I developed a strong gratitude for my mobility, dexterity and intelligence.
Being grateful is a conscious choice. Sometimes, you're taught this valuable ability as you grow up, or you learn it as an adult. But it's a trait that's developed with consideration and awareness. And studies show that cultivating a sense of gratitude improves the quality of your life on every level.
Research shows that nurturing a sense of gratefulness can:
1. Improve resiliency. It gives you greater internal resources to deal with the challenges that come up and allows you to bounce back faster. You're better able to cope, more creative and have less stress overall.
2. Lift depression. People who are grateful experience less depression. By focusing on positive things in your life, you begin to change your mood. The pleasure circuits in the mind are engaged, which makes you feel better.
3. Make greater progress on goals. Those who regularly found things to be grateful for made better progress on goals, such as exercising more or getting better grades.
4. Have better relationships and more friends. Because you're more at ease with yourself, people are more comfortable and open with you. You have a greater capacity for compassion, and tend to be more generous. This is a characteristic that attracts people to you.
5. Have improved job performance. Studies show students who practiced appreciation are more enthusiastic, alert, determined and improved their grade point average. That translates into having more resources to devote to work and greater success.
6. Experience better health. People who practice gratefulness have stronger immune systems, lower blood pressure, reduced heart disease and exercise more. They also live an average of seven years longer than those who don't express thankfulness.
7. Be more optimistic. Grateful people are 25% happier than those who don't feel this positive emotion. This helps you to feel happier and more positive despite what upsetting circumstances you're experiencing.
These benefits increased when people kept a gratitude journal. Improve your outlook on life by writing down three things you're grateful for each day. This simple practice will break the habit of looking for the negative in your life, and replace it will intentionally seeking the positive. And don't think they have to be big things, like getting a raise or the day going smoothly. They can be small items, like seeing a beautiful sunset or connecting with a friend.
Research indicates that expressing gratitude using this journal writing exercise can improve your attitude within three weeks, and the results remain for at least six months. It trains the subconscious mind to seek out positive outcomes. When you seek something positive, you tend to find it. And this then creates new patterns in the mind to be more optimistic. It gently trains you to be more positive.
Plato said, "A grateful mind is a great mind that eventually attracts to it great things." By showing appreciation for what you have in your life, it instructs the subconscious to find more to be thankful for. When you find yourself wanting to complain, stop and remind yourself to look for some blessing around you. It will help to shift your outlook to be more upbeat and you'll feel more empowered.
Copyright © 2009-2017 Linda Ann Stewart
As a speaker, personal and professional development coach, and hypnotherapist, Linda-Ann Stewart helps business and professional women who feel stuck, immobilized and overwhelmed to focus, prioritize and break through so they build more business and create a consistent income. Sign up for her FREE guide, "Take Control of Your Day," at www.Linda-AnnStewart.com/guide-takecontrol.html.You can contact her at LAS@Linda-AnnStewart.com or 928-600-0452.
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