How to cope with change
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Gratitude for all that we have in life – as opposed to what we want or think we need, is one of the keys to true happiness.
It’s important to be appreciative, grateful and thankful for what we have in our life, not just as some sort of ‘think positive’ mantra, but as a key strategy to increase feelings of positive wellbeing.
“When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.” – Lao Tzu
It’s not always easy to really appreciate what we have. It’s hard to not want and desire more – we live in a consumer driven society that pushes messages of consumption and materialism. Even more challenging is that we aren’t hardwired to be grateful – it’s often so much easier to have a grumble and complain.
The trouble is that this constant dissatisfaction and pining for more leads to a sense of powerlessness over how we feel and contributes to a drop in wellbeing, leading to angst and agitation, and distracting us from the good things in our life.
Gratitude is about being thankful for we have —as opposed to what we want or think we need. It has been defined as “the appreciation of what is valuable and meaningful to oneself and represents a general state of thankfulness and/or appreciation” (Sansone & Sansone, 2010).
Gratitude is pausing to notice and appreciate the things that we often take for granted, like having a place to live, food, clean water, friends and family. It’s taking a moment to reflect on how fortunate we are. Being grateful for all that we have in life is one of the keys to true happiness.
“The more you practice gratitude, the more you see how much there is to be grateful for, and your life becomes an ongoing celebration of joy and happiness” – Don Miguel Ruiz
Being grateful shifts the lens from what is lacking or not ideal to what is already present and good. By incorporating the practice of gratitude into our lives, we can begin to reap the emotional rewards of this state of appreciation and gratitude. Recent studies have found that ‘counting your blessings’ on a regular basis not only leads to feeling more optimistic and enjoying a greater overall satisfaction with life, it can also have some pretty amazing physical and emotional benefits.
“Without gratitude, life can be lonely, depressing and impoverished. Gratitude enriches human life. It elevates, energizes, inspires and transforms, and those who practice it will experience significant improvements in several areas of life including relationships, academics, energy level and even dealing with tragedy and crisis.” Dr Robert Emmons.
Gratitude is a powerful tool for increasing wellbeing in all sorts of settings.
Just some of the benefits include:
“Gratitude is not simply an emotional response; it is also a choice we make. We can choose to be grateful, or we can choose to be ungrateful—to take our gifts and blessings for granted. As a choice, gratitude is an attitude or disposition.” – Angeles Arrien
There’s some simple things you can do to begin the practice gratitude:
Bringing gratitude into your life is easy and hugely beneficial. Give it a go!
If you need someone to talk to, MensLine Australia professional counsellors are here to provide information and support 24 hours a day, seven days a week.