If you’re stuck in a rut and are trying to figure out what one decision you can make that will improve every aspect of your life, becoming a more thankful person may single-handedly revolutionize your existence. With the right attitude, regardless of your particular circumstances, everyday can be a day of thanksgiving and joy. Here are four ways to help change your life with gratitude.
1. You can stop complaining about everything that isn’t picture perfect and start spending time on counting your blessings
None of us have perfect lives and we all deal with setbacks, challenges and grief. However, spending our time dwelling on the negative doesn’t actually take away any of our problems–it just leaves us feeling even more depressed and less empowered.
While counseling sessions can involve therapeutically reviewing life events and determining how best to go forward, continuous rants and raves about how bad life is doesn’t get you anywhere. Do you really want to spend all your free time thinking about how the barista didn’t get your hot chocolate order right, traffic was terrible, your boss was a jerk, you hate the way your family coddles your younger sister and your apartment’s too small? Even when there are factors in life that are legitimately hard to deal with, you don’t have to waste your time and energy focusing on the negative.
While giving a motivational address, spiritual leader Dieter F. Uchtdorf has reminded:
No matter our circumstances, no matter our challenges or trials, there is something in each day to embrace and cherish. There is something in each day that can bring gratitude and joy if only we will see and appreciate it.
If you want to change your life with gratitude, start looking for the good in each day. Another public figure, Thomas S. Monson, put it this way:
This is a wonderful time to be on earth. While there is much that is wrong in the world today, there are many things that are right and good. There are marriages that make it, parents who love their children and sacrifice for them, friends who care about us and help us, teachers who teach. Our lives are blessed in countless ways.
Even though your circumstances aren’t picture perfect, you can transform the way you feel by developing a grateful outlook. Seeing the good in life while giving thanks in all things can revolutionize the way you spend your time and the way you view the world. Rather than feeling like you have it worse off than everyone else, you can start to see the many ways you’ve been enabled, blessed and empowered. You can fill up your time by identifying all of the little comforts and mercies you have in life, conveniences that are lacking throughout the world. Consciously decide today to stop complaining and take for granted all of the blessings you have.
2. You can stop bringing your sphere of influence down and start lifting everyone around you up
When you’ve overcome by negativity, it’s hard to have strong friendships and positive interactions with other people. Since grateful individuals with sunny dispositions don’t often want to be weighed down by incessant complainers, even friends that love you and want to spend time with you may find it hard to be around you during your depressing venting sessions. Seeing the good in life, however, can help you improve your relations and increase the enjoyment factor experienced by everyone around you.
Although turning into a completely positive and grateful person may not happen overnight, you can make noticeable and valuable strides forward by simply thinking before you talk. If you want to say something, identify if your words will uplift or edify. If what you want to say just creates contention and expresses dissatisfaction, you can learn to refrain from making comments that needn’t be uttered. Of course, you can communicate your concerns, but I think we can all appreciate the difference between actually trying to solve problems and just being negative because you feel like complaining.
3. You can stop turning away from the good and start inviting happiness into your life
It’s been said that positivity attracts positivity. Being grateful not only invites other grateful people into your life, but it also invites positive happenings. When you’re convinced that nothing will work out anyway, you don’t even try to seek for a promotion, say hi to the cute employee that just passed you or try to join the exercise club you’ve been wanting to be part of. But, if you’re grateful for what you have and positive about how you can learn important lessons just from trying, then you will be more likely and willing to put yourself out there.
4. You can take control of your life and finally be happy
Some of us are addicted to the drama and attention that can come from being miserable, but the inner peace that comes from being happy and grateful is so much more satisfying. Think about your life and what you really want: to be pitied or to be happy. Even when you live with an attitude of gratitude, life will still be filled with obstacles and challenges, but that doesn’t change the fact that you’re in control of your own happiness.
Being happy is a choice each of us can make regardless of the circumstances we face. Choosing to be grateful for what you already have may be able to change your life for the better more than getting a boyfriend, a new job or a new house ever could. Being internally at peace with yourself and your life is more valuable than externally finding success or being rewarded.
If you’re stuck in a rut, go ahead and start listing everything you have to be grateful for. Start by forcing yourself to come up with a hundred entries, even if they’re as specific as “having ten fingers to type with” and “two ears to hear with.” Even when your health isn’t great or you didn’t grow up in a loving house with both a mom and a dad, you can still find components of your health or upbringing to appreciate so think outside of the box.
If you’re still feeling ungrateful, keep working on your list until you have a thousand entries. Once you get the hang of being appreciative, you can learn that you don’t actually have to be thankful for specific items because you can just live with a grateful heart for life itself. At that point, it won’t matter what’s happening on the outside of you because inside is what counts.