A ten-year-old little girl didn’t know that her father was the real Santa for whom she’s been waiting this entire time. There was nothing happier than getting the best barbie doll in town that she really wanted. She thanked the Lord for the gift and started playing. She didn’t know the essence of being grateful then. That was a time. And now, at present, along the journey of my life, I have understood that everything is given to me. I don’t own anything in this world. And thus, I like to be grateful for everything. I have come to know that the more thankful I am, the more I attract things to be thankful for.
There is something that we all know about each other. This “something” is that we all want to be happy. Many people think that whenever we are happy, we become grateful.
But think, is it really so?
We all know someone who has everything they can ever want. But they are not happy because they might want something else or they might want more of same. They are focused on the deficiencies of life. And nothing is worth it if you’re not happy. We also know someone who doesn’t have much, who are deeply misfortunate, but they radiate happiness. Why? Because they are grateful for what they have and are satisfied. Being grateful moves your perspective from lack to richness and allows you to focus on good things in life.
So, it’s not happiness that makes you grateful, its gratefulness that makes you happy.
In the midst of our real lives, being thankful can be so difficult because of the misfortunes and glitches. In a session of Revive Our Hearts, Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of the book Choosing Gratitude, rephrased five reasons to be grateful for:
- We are saved
- We are sanctified
- We are sealed with the Holy Spirit
- We are secure eternally
- We are satisfied
But how can we be grateful?
By something given and something valuable. When these two things come together as experiences and moments, then what heart feels is gratefulness. It is a gift. You haven’t bought it. You haven’t travelled to it. You haven’t earned it. You don’t even know that something like that is about to happen. You are simply given that. And since everyone likes gifts and surprises, you feel happiness in your heart.
But will it not be remarkable if we have a grateful life rather than just having some grateful experiences? This can be achieved. But you have to become aware that every moment is a gift. The gift within this gift is an opportunity. So, what you are really grateful for is the opportunity not the thing that is given to you. No one can be happy in the moment if they don’t have the opportunity to enjoy it. So, opportunity to enjoy is the real gift within the gift.
In an episode of TEDx Talk, the Keynote Speaker David Stendl – Rast gave a speech on “Want to be Happy? Be Grateful”. He talked about how to harness the gratefulness in our lives. The mantra he told was: STOP, LOOK and GO.
People always rush through life. Nobody stops and that’s why we miss the opportunity. And since we miss the opportunity, we can’t enjoy. So, we can’t be grateful. We have to stop. We have to be quiet to find the opportunity.
Next thing is to look. Open all the senses for this wonderful richness that have been given to us. There is no end to it, and that is what life is all about, to enjoy what is given to us. And then, we can also open our hearts and work to share the opportunities for others to be happy because nothing makes us happier than when all of us are happy.
The last step is to go and really do something. Generally whatever life offers to you in this present moment, it’s an opportunity to enjoy. Sometimes it’s difficult to see through the glitches of life, but whatever is set forth you, you take it as an opportunity and do something to be grateful for. Be creative, follow your heart and grab the opportunity in your hands.
STOP, LOOK and GO is a small but powerful seed that can revolutionize the world.
Think through this:
What if you woke up one day and were only surrounded by the things you were grateful for daily?
What if you woke up one day and were only surrounded by the things that you complained about daily?
Now, you know. It works this way. If you’re grateful for something, you’ll be happy to have them and you will live your life to the fullest without wanting to have more. But if you’re forced to live with things you only complain about, you’ll never be happy. You’ll want more or you’ll want something else. This will play with your mind in a negative way.
Gratitude and Well – Being
Gratitude leads to happiness. It fosters positive feelings inside people, which, in turn, contributes to overall sense of well-being. It works to emit envy, jealousy, selfishness and other painful emotions out of our body. In this article, I’m also putting forward the facts from studies and researches that have showed that being grateful helps in increasing well-being.
- Emmons RA and McCullough ME (2003) studied gratitude and well-being under three experimental conditions. Participants were divided into three groups (first group was asked to journal about the negative events, second group about the things for which they were grateful and third group about the neutral life events) and they had to fill this journal on a daily or a weekly basis.
Across various study conditions, the gratitude sub-sample presented higher well-being in comparison to the other two groups.
- Froh JJ, Sefick WJ and Emmons RA (2008) directed a study in which 221 teenagers were assigned either a gratitude exercise i.e. to count one’s blessings, an irritative condition or a control condition. The gratitude condition was associated with greater life satisfaction. The authors concluded that counting blessings seems to be an effective mediation for enhancing well-being in adolescents.
- Wood AM, Joseph S, Llyod J and Atkins S (2009) found that higher levels of gratitude showed better individual sleep quality and sleep duration.
- Gysels M, Shipman C and Higginson IJ (2008) found that, midst the cancer patients, gratitude was one of the motivations to participate in a research study related to palliative care.
- Polak EL and McCullough ME (2006) found that gratitude may have the potential to reduce the negative effects of materialistic strivings.
So, if you’re grateful, you’re not fearful and hence you’re not violent. If you’re grateful, you act out of a sense of enough and you’re willing to share. If you’re grateful, you enjoy and you’re respectful for everybody. If you’re grateful, you highly evidence well-being mentally and physically.
There is a need for networking for smaller groups of people. People who know each other, who interact with each other and are happy in each other’s company. A grateful world is a world of joyous people living together.