Understanding Mindfulness and Gratitude
What do you do first thing in the morning the moment you wake up? Do you feel grateful for waking up to another day in your life? Are you filled with positive energy and appreciation? Or are you more likely to rehash yesterday’s anxieties and worries, which leaves you feeling drained at the start of your day?
These two mindsets create a world of difference, even when you’re not consciously thinking about it. Positivity will energize you; worrying will drain you.
Too often, people are not really conscious of the way they start their day. We just do whatever feels most natural to us. If our lives are filled with stress and anxiety, it will feel natural to react with trepidation and negativity. But ultimately, who decides what our lives feel like?
It is not the circumstances that happen to us. It is not our jobs nor the negative people we are surrounded with. We decide, either consciously or unconsciously, by letting positivity or negativity rule our days. That’s how we keep attracting more of whatever is given the most focus.
Ultimately, what may look like the key to changing all of that is a dramatic change or some life intervention. Yes, some external changes can bring about an improvement in our well-being and lives. Sometimes we leave toxic relationships, toxic jobs, unhappy places, and that can make a world of difference.
However, there is an equally powerful agent of change that can deliver great results to our well-being. It doesn’t cost much, and everybody can definitely afford it – it’s gratitude. Several studies show that expressing gratitude is the simplest and most surefire way to boost happiness and health.
The Power of Positive-Thinking
Positive thinking is a very important foundation for a person’s overall life philosophy. It’s almost too simple: “positive thoughts generate positive feelings and positive results.” However, research on emotions confirms that positive emotions generally wear off very quickly. So how do we sustain it?
Our emotions enjoy novelty so much that a brand new car or a luxury bag may only make us feel happy and excited for a limited period of time. When the novelty wears off, relying on our car or bag as sources of happiness won’t be enough.
We’ll then need another pair of shoes to maintain our excitement. These natural dynamics can cost us much money if we establish material things as primary sources of positivity. Because of their fleeting influence, ‘things’ can’t sustain joy. We need something less transitory and more enduring.
How Gratitude Helps Positivity
Gratitude is powerful because it doesn’t cost us anything, but has the power to attract and magnify more positivity in our lives.
Cultivating gratitude enables us to find joy in ordinary things, sharpening our ability to see value in the simplest of ways, creating lasting joy. Even if we’re surrounded with material blessings, it is gratitude that keeps us contented and not constantly wanting more than what we have.
A person can look so blessed from the outside and from the perspective of other people, but unless they’re grateful, that won’t enable them to know how truly well-off they are. Some rich people are neither contented nor happy. They keep wanting more to feel happy.
Meanwhile, there are also people who apparently have so little in life, but feel grateful and blessed for their very own reasons. Gratitude doesn’t qualify whether you have more or have very little; it simply turns what you have into adequate, causing you to ‘have’ so much more.
Where Mindfulness Comes In
Gratitude is wonderful; it’s like a magic pill that causes us to feel happier and appreciate what we have. However, much like everything else, there is a limitation.
When bad things happen to us, it can be difficult to feel grateful. Gratitude, however, can help shine a light on other reasons to feel more thankful and blessed with life, but it doesn’t deliver solutions on its own. Gratitude alone won’t help us fix our problems.
Thus, our ability to accept things for what they are is just as important. Life will regularly deliver unfairness. When situations are tough, we need to find a way to respond graciously even if life is being lousy. Gratitude may not be enough to eradicate natural feelings that come as a result of our circumstances. Sometimes, gratitude needs more time to kick in our consciousness. We may need to give ourselves a few days or weeks to truly benefit from the practice of gratitude in our lives.
For such reason, acceptance of our situation is key. A non-judgmental kind of acceptance and awareness that will help us remain gracious despite bad situations is what is needed.
Mindfulness is as key to positivity as gratitude is. In moments when it’s difficult to appreciate things and find the light in the darkness, mindfulness can help us make space for healing to happen. However, gratitude will bolster our resilience and help us exercise mindfulness, and take the needed actions to overcome any problems.