With so much going on in our lives today it is easy to forget and overlook who and what we are truly grateful for.
It can be challenging to focus on what we are grateful for when we are feeling overwhelmed, dissatisfied or disgruntled. Often, it’s easy to lose sight of the positive aspects of our lives and focus solely on what’s going wrong. This can be because negative things feel bad and demand our attention.
For example, focusing on the stressful aspects of your job when you are at home will make you miss a beautiful sunset or a great programme on the television. Also, the more we focus on an issue, whether negative or positive, the greater the impact it will have on our lives. Ask yourself whether you see more positives or negatives in your daily life and how do you feel as a result of your thinking. Consequently, there is a great deal to be gained from paying attention to what is good in our lives, especially during more difficult times. A positive outlook can help you to cope better with stressful situations and can change your life for the better.
The field of positive psychology has established a link between gratitude and health. People who people who practice being grateful experience “greater levels of optimism, positive mood and feelings of belongingness, psychological well-being, fewer illnesses and spend more time exercising. These traits that coincide with gratitude contribute to physical and mental health, a stronger immune system, and fewer diseases.
Dr. Sharp; aka Dr Happy, is one of Australia’s leaders in positive psychology and happiness. According to him, people with a healthy sense of well being have more self-confidence and friends, and they make more effective leaders. Therefore, it pays to be thankful for one’s life and accomplishments. Frequently feeling grateful for the good things in your life has been shown to give you more energy, optimism, social connections, and happiness. Grateful adults also are less depressed, envious, and greedy, less likely to have substance abuse problems, earn more money, sleep better, exercise more, and are more resistant to viral infections.
Make gratitude part of your daily life.
Recognizing others for what they have done for you, even the small acts of kindness, is necessary even when the person is family or a close friend.
Say “Thank You” for every act of kindness received. It’s so simple to say and yet so often taken for granted. It’s especially true when it comes to your own family members.
Express your gratitude and appreciation often. Take the time to write a note or send an email even if you already said thank you. Send a gift to show your appreciation for someone’s help.
Look for opportunities to reciprocate favours as soon as possible. Be observant and give service instead of asking if help is needed.
Count your blessings instead of wishing for more and moping about what you don’t have. Start a gratitude Journal, record a list of things you are thankful for and you will be amazed at all you have to be grateful for. Experiencing gratitude is closely tied to being happy.
Provide ways to support others who are less fortunate. You never know when the tables might be turned one day.
Fortunately, a positive attitude can be cultivated, with a little practice. Although we are born with specific temperamental tendencies, the brain is a muscle, and you can strengthen your mind’s natural tendency toward optimism you work at it.
For more information about EAP, please visit our website at www.eap.ky. To speak with one of our professional counsellors, please call 949-9559 or e-mail us at [email protected] to schedule a confidential appointment.