Gratitude helps shift your focus from what you feel is missing in your life, to appreciating what is already present. Ghandi summed this up perfectly in the following quote:
“I was sad because I had no shoes and then I saw a man with no feet” Mahatma Ghandi.
Psychologists, Michael McCollough of Southern Methodist University and Robert Emmons of the University of California carried out an experiment on gratitude and its impact on well-being. Within the study hundreds of people were split into three groups and asked to write about their daily experiences. Group one wrote down things they were grateful for that day such as family and waking up on a morning. Group two wrote down things that had bothered them such as finances depleting fast and a friend not appreciating a kind gesture. Group three wrote about any experiences from the day.
The results of the study indicated that practicing daily gratitude resulted in greater energy, optimism and life satisfaction. The group that practiced gratitude were also 25% happier than those that had not.
When you practice gratitude regularly you tap into neuroplasticity which strengthens positive new brain cell connections. Why not try implementing gratitude into your daily routine?
Keeping a gratitude journal is one method – each day writing a list of three to five things you are grateful for. The best way to do this is to think about the smaller things in life – waking up to the sun shining, a smile from a stranger or quickly finding a parking space. Over the next 21 days try to write down or think about three things you are grateful for and see what benefits you experience.
The Power of Positive thinking has been shown to have many physical and mental benefits. A positive mindset can give you more confidence, improve your mood, and even reduce the likelihood of developing conditions such as hypertension, depression and other stress-related disorders.
All this sounds great, but what does the “power of positive thinking” really mean?
Positive thinking can come in the form of positive imagery, positive self-talk or optimism.
If you want to be effective in being positive, you’ll need to start implementing a number of simple yet effective methods into your daily routine. Read through the following seven suggestions to see which you could start practicing today:
Start the day with positive affirmation.
How you start the morning sets the tone for the rest of the day.
Have you ever woken up late and then felt like nothing good happened the rest of the day? It is likely this is because you started the day with a pessimistic view that carried into other events. Instead of letting this happen, start the day with positive affirmations.
Talk to yourself with statements like, “Today will be a good day” or “I’m going to do well today.” You’ll be amazed how much your day improves.
Focus on the good things.
You’re probably going to encounter obstacles throughout your day. When you encounter such a challenge, focus on the benefits, no matter how small seem.
For example, if you’re stuck in traffic, think about how you now have time to listen to the rest of your favorite playlist. If the shop is out of the food you wanted to make for dinner, think about the benefit of trying something new.
Find humor in bad situations.
Allow yourself to experience humor in even the most trying situations. Remind yourself that this situation will probably make for a good story later and try to crack a joke about it.
Turn failures into lessons.
You’re going to make mistakes and experience failure in probably a lot of different ways. Instead of focusing on how you failed, think about what you’re going to do next time and turn your failure into a lesson.
Change negative self-talk into positive self-talk.
Negative self-talk is often hard to notice. You might think I’m so bad at this or I shouldn’t have tried that. But these thoughts turn into feelings and can impact your conceptions of yourself.
When you catch yourself doing this, stop and replace those negative messages with positive ones. For example, “I’m so bad at this” becomes “Once I get more practice, I’ll be way better at this.”
Focus on the present.
Not today, not this hour, only this exact moment.
You might be getting stressed, but what in this exact moment is happening that’s so bad? Forget the incident or comment that made you stressed five minutes ago. Forget what might happen five minutes from now. Focus on this one, individual moment.
In most situations, you’ll find it’s not as bad as you imagined. Most sources of negativity stem from a memory or the imagination of the future. Stay in the present moment.
Find positive friends, mentors and co-workers.
When you surround yourself with positive people, you’ll hear positive outlooks, positive stories and positive affirmations. Their positive words affect your own line of thinking, which then affects your words and contributes to the group.
Finding positive people can be a difficult task, but you need to eliminate negativity before it takes over. Do what you can to improve the positivity of others, and let their positivity affect you the same way.
Anybody in any situation can apply these lessons to their own lives and increase their positive attitude. As you might imagine, positive thinking offers amazing returns, so the more often you practice it, the greater benefits you’ll gain.