Zig Ziglar said, “Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for.” Being thankful for everything that comes into our lives, whether we think they are blessings or not, allows us to be happier and be more productive individuals. If you haven’t practiced being grateful, then perhaps today is the time to consider it.
Why Be Grateful?
I read a story once, a teacher had asked her grade school students to draw a picture of what they were thankful for, since it was close to thanksgiving. Most of the students drew turkeys or tables full of food. One student though drew a hand. Curious about the drawing, the teacher asked her student whose hand it was. The student shyly answered, “yours, teacher.” The teacher was positively surprised with the remark, remembering how she would oftentimes take her students by hand, not only this student, and help them from time to time. She didn’t realize that this meant so much to her students, she thought to herself that sometimes it’s not the material things given unto us, but the small gestures that we do to others that makes the most impact in their lives. (https://www.rd.com/true-stories/inspiring/thanksgiving-story/)
You might say that saying thank you or feeling grateful is mundane or unimportant, but we must realize that gratitude is such a positive emotion that it helps lift anybody’s spirit.
When you say thank you to someone, they feel appreciated and it lifts their spirits and it connects you with the other person. Just like in the story, I am sure that the teacher was in good spirit for the rest of the day. On the other hand, being grateful even when circumstances do not favor our way, allows us to see the “silver lining” giving us hope that something better is in store for us. In Ephesians 5:20, the Apostle Paul reminds us importance of giving thanks, he said, “giving thanks to God the Father at all times and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” It is a grace to find something to be grateful for. So what are you grateful for today? Let me share with you three simple steps to become more grateful.
Step #1 LEARN TO APPRECIATE WHAT YOU HAVE.
Yes, even the little things. Think about it, it’s so easy to be thankful for big or great blessings that we receive, a job promotion, an assistance in times of trouble? Oftentimes though we fail to be thankful for the everyday simple and good things that happen in our lives. Getting to eat a favorite food, or even just getting to work on time are things to be thankful for, but we take it for granted and think that it’s just the mundane of life. Even when things don’t go our way, we should continue to be thankful and believe that God has something good in store for us even when we don’t know it yet. I remember the story of Joseph in the Old testament (Genesis 37). His brothers sold him to slavery, he was accused sexual assault and then imprisoned. In the end, it was all for good as he became one of the most respected men in Egypt. So, let us take that story to heart. Believe that even in the worse of circumstances something good can still come out of it. In 1 Thessalonians 5:18 St Paul says, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” So we should be thankful all the time, every time.
What are the things you neglect to be thankful for?
Step #2 KEEP A “THANK YOU LIST”.
Some people feel that writing down things that you are thankful is cliché, but by doing so it allows you to be in a constant grateful state, keeping you focused on the good and positive.
It is a good idea to make it a habit to write what you are thankful for. In Luke, we see Mother Mary ponder things in her heart. “But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart” (Lk. 2:19). We too, should also learn to ponder things in our heart especially our thank you list, in this way we open ourselves up to more blessings as we are kept aware of what to be thankful for. A friend of mine keeps a gratitude journal, whenever she’s feeling down, she would get her gratitude journal and look at the things she is thankful for and why and she feels better. She realizes there’s more to life than her problems. There is so much more to be thankful for.
What do you ponder in your heart? Are they things which make you grateful or do you fill your heart with complaints?
Step #3 HAVE AN ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE.
Jim Rohn, a successful entrepreneur and motivational speaker said, “Learn to be thankful for what you already have, while you pursue all that you want.” Thinking about things to be thankful for boosts your happiness and keeps you in the positive. It takes you out of the complaining mode and puts you into the solution finding mode. You are then pushed to think about the greatest outcome and not the other end of the stick. This allows you to do more and achieve more. Solve the problem rather than wallow in the problems.
Do you live in constant thankfulness or in constant grumbling?
Go out and try it! Oftentimes we are so busy with the hustle and bustle of life that we forget to see the little things that makes life worth living. So, here’s a challenge for you, go out and start finding things to be thankful for, even the simplest ones and why you are grateful for it. It will be better if you write it down. You can get back to it later when you’re lost and needs some motivation. This will help you nurture gratitude and give you the necessary boost to pursue even more happiness.