Monday, October 29, 2012

How Do Appreciation & Gratitude Affect Your Life?

I am a big believer in using the power of gratitude to create positive changes. Being constantly aware of your many blessings, and feeling grateful for them, can have a huge impact on the quality of your life. When you are filled with appreciation, it quite literally changes the dynamic of your reality.
I find it truly amazing how one, simple, positive action can change so much in a person’s life. In fact, recognizing the profound power of gratitude is one of the things that have had a huge effect on my life. It has made me a more positive and caring person. It has also made me a better husband, father, and friend. I can honestly say that in some very tangible ways, gratitude has made my life better.
Harness the power of gratitude.
Now you might not get the same exact benefits as I have, but I can pretty much guarantee that practicing gratitude and appreciation can change your life as well.  There’s no doubt in my mind that the simple act of being grateful on a regular basis will change your perception in very positive ways. How many other simple strategies do you know that can make such a claim?
Let’s take a look at some practical ways that you can start incorporating gratitude into your life so you can start enjoying the benefits immediately. Of course, these are just some examples based on my personal experience and the experiences of others I’ve talked with. Obviously, not all of them will apply to you, so just choose the ones that you feel comfortable with.
7 ways to improve your life with gratitude.

1. Have a morning gratitude review. 
Make it a daily ritual to take one minute in the morning to think of all the people and things in your life that you are grateful for. You won’t get to everything in one minute’s time, but it’s enough to get you thinking in the right direction. A simple gratitude review will instantly set the tone for the rest of the day and help you focus your attention on other things to appreciate about your life. Can you think of a better use of one minute?
2. When you are having a hard day, make a gratitude list. 
We all have those challenging days from time to time. During those difficult days it can be hard to maintain a positive outlook. One of the things that can make a bad day much better is to take a break and make a list of all the things you are thankful for. No matter what you are going through, there are always things to be thankful for. Making a list of those things will shift your focus and make you feel much more resourceful.
3. Instead of getting mad at someone, show gratitude. 
I know this isn’t always the easiest thing because it requires a complete reversal in attitude. But I can promise you that it’s a great thing to do for your own peace of mind. If you get mad, try to bite your tongue and resist the temptation to react in anger. Instead, take some deep breaths, calm down, and try to think of reasons you’re grateful for that person. Find something, anything, even if it’s something very small. Then focus only on that reason to feel grateful. Slowly your mood will begin to shift away from anger toward a more empowering state.
4. Instead of criticizing, show gratitude. 
This is similar to the strategy above, but much less challenging. This simple tactic can literally transform an important relationship like a marriage. If you constantly criticize your spouse, your marriage will slowly deteriorate. Yes, it’s important to be able to talk out problems, but no one likes to be criticized all the time. So, when you find yourself feeling the urge to criticize, stop and get a grip on yourself. Now take a moment to think about all the reasons you are truly grateful for your spouse. Then share that gratitude, as soon as possible and watch as your relationship becomes stronger.
5. When you face a major challenge, be grateful for it. 
Many people will see difficulties as a reason to complain and feel sorry for themselves. Trust me, that attitude won’t get you anywhere. Instead, try to see the positive aspects associated with those difficult experiences. Could you appreciate them as an opportunity to learn and grow? This simple change in perception can transform a challenge into something positive with possible long term benefits. But for that to happen we need to cultivate an attitude of gratitude.
6. Express gratitude to others at every opportunity. 
Say thank you whenever someone shows you the least bit of consideration. Doing this will make you feel better and it will encourage others to be more considerate. There are plenty of rude and inconsiderate people in the world, but you can be a force for good simply by spreading some gratitude around. Be on the lookout for even small acts of kindness. When you notice them be quick to express appreciation and watch what happens. You can use the power of your gratitude to help others feel good about themselves.
7. Focus on what you have not what you don’t have. 
Have you ever looked around you and felt shortchanged because the place you live isn’t your dream house or the car you drive isn’t as nice as you would like? It’s easy to forget that there are billions of people who are much worse off than you are. Those people would be so grateful to have what you have.  When you compare your life to these people’s lives, you can’t help but feel grateful for the life you have.  You may not have everything, but you must admit that you have been blessed in many ways.
Make the shift and enjoy the benefits.
The more you focus on gratitude the more you will appreciate your life and the happier you will be. An appreciative attitude will also make you more aware of your blessings and prevent you from taking them for granted. Remember, the happiest people are not the ones who have the best of everything, they are the ones who are grateful for everything they have.
By. Jonathan Wells

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