Why Gratitude Should be a Way of Life
It's easy to spot all the inconveniences for the day.
As soon as you wake up, you'll murmur - another day to get to work. Then as you commute, it's difficult to miss the traffic, the pollution, the hassle of commuting with people who are as disgruntled as you.
When you come to the office, the boss will greet you with a seemingly endless workload and expectations. Your officemates are no different - they seem to get more annoying with every passing day. Clients get more demanding, suppliers get more unreasonable... the list goes on.
Then when you come home, your kids will crowd you for attention. You're too exhausted for the whole day and all you want to do is to rest.
And then comes another day.
Seeing Life thru the Nega-lens
If we see life through the lens of negativities and misfortunes, it will eventually ruin not just our days, but our way of thinking. And when our thinking is stained with the idea that life will not get any better, it sure is! Because somehow, we are what we think.
Based on experience, I think a complaining attitude instigates a domino effect. Just like my illustration in the beginning, it starts with a little murmur early Monday morning, "haaay, Monday na naman!"
Carrying out this attitude will make you feel like all hell's loose and has conspired against you. It affects not just yourself, but also the people around you. Either you'll misunderstand them, or misappropriate their actions. It's always a lose-lose scenario when you're always disgruntled as if the world has done nothing but annoy you.
Have you ever seen life through the lens of negativities? It sucks the life out of you, and sooner or later you'll end up exhausted physically and emotionally.
The effects of gratitude
Psychologists found out that those who are grateful in life and write about them are more optimistic and felt better about their lives. Surprisingly, they exercised more and had fewer visits to physicians than those who focused on sources of aggravation (Harvard Health Publishing, 2021).
If this is what gratitude can do to our bodies, imagine what gratitude can do to our society! It can foster healthy relationships, which means fewer disagreements. There will be fewer road rages and crimes committed due to aggravation and minor inconveniences. We will be more empathetic, more lenient, and more understanding of each other.
Gratitude does not mean verbally saying "thank you" all the time. It is a mindset, acknowledging the goodness out of all the miseries around. Gratitude comes from the Latin word gratia which means grace. When we say someone is gracious, we mean that person gives us a warm, fuzzy feeling. They imbibe a pleasant experience, and who doesn't want that! So if we want people to like us more, we need to exude an attitude of gratitude. No one wants to be around grumpy people.
Small steps that make a big effect
If you have been a chronic complainer, here's how you can start developing an attitude of gratitude.
Begin your day with thanksgiving. While nothing has happened yet that will make you assess your whole day, the mere fact you're able to open your eyes and breathe life is evidence of God's grace. Thank Him for it.
Maintain a gratitude journal. It doesn't have to be in a notebook, it can be digital! Use your notes app. At first, you might find your gratitude forced out from you, but in time it will get easier. You'll appreciate that every day is not a rainy day.
Practice breathing thank-yous. Every time someone has given you a favor, say thank you. When something good happens, whether little or small, say thank you. It doesn't need to be heard by everyone, but make sure you hear your voice! This will help you become more expressive with your gratitude.
Intentionally look past the negative, and see the good in the bad. Romans 8:28 says, "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." Things happen for a reason. If we look past the situation and look intentionally for the reason behind it, it will be easier to say thanks.
Gratitude should be a way of life. It has many benefits. It is a native language of love. It is evidence of a happy and healthy life.
In-text citation Reference: