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Gratitude And Happiness: How To Get Started?

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”

  • Melody Beattie

What is gratitude all about? Many of us associate gratitude with saying the word “thank you”. Though saying “thank you” is a part of it, it is not the whole story.

You are grateful when you understand how blessed you are to be here, you feel grateful when you realise that everything is working in your favour, and you feel grateful when you appreciate the kind things people have been doing for you. 

“Being grateful all the time isn’t easy. But it’s when you least feel thankful that you are most in need of what gratitude can give you: perspective. Gratitude can transform any situation. It alters your vibration, moving you from negative energy to positive. It’s the quickest, easiest, most powerful way to effect change in your life — this I know for sure.”

  • Oprah Winfrey

#gratitude is trending these days. Let us see what this hype is all about and how we can increase the feeling of gratitude in our daily life. 

Being grateful makes you happy.

We all crave feel-good positive emotions. Gratitude is one such emotion that makes us feel happy and blessed. Many good things happen around us. We hardly pay attention to those. Something goes wrong and that suddenly catches our attention (this is not your fault, we all are programmed by evolution to notice the alarming danger). 

That is why it takes effort to notice the things that are going well in our life. When you pay attention to the things going well in your life, you will realise that you have so many things to be grateful for.

How to apply - Every day, towards the end of the day write in your journal about three good things that happened today. Write just one or two sentences about what happened and why you feel grateful about it. 

Being grateful improves relationships.

When it comes to relationships, it is important to let the other person know that you appreciate him/her. It not only makes the other person feel loved, but it also makes them feel valued and cared for. There are many instances in a relationship where both parties do small things to make each other happy. Saying “thank you” or expressing heartfelt gratitude about that makes the other person realise that you have noticed their actions. It not only makes them feel good, but it also encourages them to do more such actions. 

When you express gratitude towards your partner, you also feel blessed by having them by your side. This strengthens the relationship and fosters deeper connections. This applies not just to romantic but even platonic relationships.

How to apply - Write a gratitude letter for someone you love/admire but have never really thanked for always being there by your side. Mention what they did for you and how you felt as a result. You can meet them and read this letter out loud to them. It is okay even if you choose not to send the letter, the act of writing it is enough. But it is better if you express your gratitude.

Being grateful improves optimism.

When you notice the good things in your life, you eventually develop an optimistic outlook on life. Instead of counting your burdens, you learn to count your blessings. This way, even when things get challenging, you know that there are some things to be grateful for. During tough times, feeling grateful gives you the strength you need to look at the bright side and carry on. It causes a shift in your perspective from what is going wrong to what is going right.

This helps you regain your strength and optimism in the face of challenges. 

How to apply - When you feel lonely, think about the good times you had with your friends. Think about (and reach out) to the friends you have now and appreciate them for their presence in your life. When you are feeling sad, help someone in need or think of the time someone helped you when you needed it and let yourself feel grateful.

“Reflect on your present blessings, on which every man has many, not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.”

— Charles Dickens