Gratitude is one of the most powerful and healthiest emotions we have. It is incredibly contagious, and the more gratitude we identify and express, the more we find we have to be grateful for. It is like a snowball effect. A heart of gratitude is not only contagious within, but infectious externally, influencing those who are around us.
On the flip side of gratitude, pessimism is also an incredibly powerful yet cancerous emotion. We live in a world where it is easy to focus on the negative, and for the most part only broadcasts the negative. Use caution. The mind is a powerful thing, and when you consider the 60,000 thoughts a person has each a day, for most, those thoughts are probably filtered through a negative lens. 40 something thoughts a minute, each day, racing through your mind. Unfortunately, is those very thoughts that shape our subconscious mind, and our subconscious mind that ultimately shapes our reality. As James Allen stated, a man is literally what he thinks, his character being the sum of his thoughts. Those thoughts become words, those words become actions, those actions become habits, those habits shape character, and that character becomes destiny. This means it is critical to be mindful of what we are allowing to influence our thought process (people, music, media, culture).
Therefore, if we think negative, we see negative; if we think positive we see positive. This isn’t saying it’s all unicorns and rainbows; but it is saying don’t spend your energy living in the negative, as it will cripple and suck the life right out of you.
The most effective way to establish a positive mindset is simply having a heart of gratitude. That gratitude will then shape your attitude, and your attitude is what will drive your day. We all know that a bad attitude is like a flat tire; unless we change it we can’t go anywhere. We have to take control to move forward.
Studies show that only 10% of external circumstances define our happiness or positive emotion. 50% of our positive emotion is driven by genetics. That gives approximately 40% in our hands to choose to be happy. We can’t be compromised by the other 60% which is out of our control. Positive emotion or happiness is only one element to flourishing, but a critical and foundational element.
The easiest way to live with a glass half full mentality, is to have a heart rich in gratitude. Start the day with gratitude, and end the day with attitude; and don’t just think it, but write it down. For example, start your morning in prayer and express gratitude for the day, as it is a gift. Find something small yet important that is often taken for granted, meditate on it with gratitude, and write it down in a journal. This will have a huge impact on your day, as you will begin to have an easier time:
finding purpose, meaning and abundance in your life;
appreciating the small pleasures in your life,
seeing the good in others rather than the bad,
and begin to appreciate the small contributions that others do that often get overlooked.
Selfishly, there are also personal benefits to reap as well:
more positive emotions,
a stronger immune system,
better work performance (31% more effective according to studies),
and ultimately a better life!
Your spiritual, mental and emotional domains of wellness are just as important as your physical wellbeing, as all 4 domains are all encompassing.
Let this life giving emotion of gratitude allow you to thrive in what you have been called to do.
So, here is a challenge I pose to you…
For 21 days, identify ONE to THREE things you are grateful for each day, and capture it by writing it down. DO NOT MISS A DAY! Make it a habit, a ritual and a way of being. I guarantee it will then begin to clean or even change the lens in which you look at reality.
Gratitude will keep you rooted in purpose and literally change your life.