Gratefulness is a very personal and powerful tool you can use to work on your mindset. Your mindset is a som of all your beliefs and thoughts about yourself and the world that surrounds you. Your mindset will determine how your will act or react in certain situations. By improving your mindset you will improve your life. This post about gratefulness is a first one in a series of how to improve your mindset.
Today I received a WhatsApp message saying ‘ Thank you for your card. Always nice to get real mail’. And I instantly felt a lot better and happier on this grey, heavily rainy day. Because after having dinner at a friend’s house last week, I showed my gratitude with actually writing a postcard and sending it. Now, I am a paper lover, and I really enjoy choosing or even making myself a card and writing a nice message or thought on it. But being grateful and showing your gratitude is one of the important things when you want to have a more positive way of perceiving your life.
You might have heard this before and still you are not a ‘gratitude’ person. This is not so strange, mainly because our human brain has a natural tendency to detect threats and negative things first, so we don’t focus naturally on the ‘normal’ and ‘good’ around us. If you were lucky enough to grow up in environments where feeling and expressing your gratitude was a part of upbringing, making gratitude a habit, that surely influenced your mindset. But if you didn’t, like me, you should start with understanding why and how ‘gratitude’ works.
- Gratitude is focus. You start consciously noticing things. You focus on the present and the now, rather than being busy planning, worrying, analysing or wanting something else. This focus gives you clarity and you feel more calm and in balance.
- Gratitude is positivity. Feeling and expressing our gratitude turns our mental focus on the positive things in our life and makes us see the glass half full rather than half empty. When I was growing up my mother hated many house chores, especially ironing. So after she finished, my mum would sigh that she was finaly done with those chores. Just by saying it like that she was focusing on the negative side if this activity. When I went to live on my own, at first I also dreaded everything that had to do with house keeping. But then I discovered I actually liked ironing, it calms me down. And then I started to appreciate the fact that my house was clean after work being done and I got a sense of pride that I did that. So I started to focus on the positive outcome of cleaning, not the less positive activity of cleaning itself. I still can’t say that cleaning is a joy, but being grateful for a clean house is very much so. Gratefulness creates emotions like joy, love, pride, fulfilment, contentment, and it makes less room for negative emotions.
- Gratitude is health. That might sound strange, but when you have less negative thoughts and emotions you will sleep better at night. And getting enough sleep is one of the most important health habits and benefits.
- Gratitude is satisfaction. When you have adopted being grateful as a habit, you will see life as a whole in a more positive way. The people around you will even notice your overall better mood and that you are generally more satisfied with your live.
- Gratitude in empowerment. Things like writing a gratitude journal, sending a thank you postcard, complimenting a friend, enjoying your fresh ironed shirts, showing appreciation, all this things will make you feel empowered just by doing so. You will not let yourself being taken over by negativity, even if negative things are also very much a part of life. You keep your balance yourself by being grateful for all the good in your life.
Gratitude is something you need to practice if you are not used to do so. Day by day, or at least a couple of times a week, and slowly your mind will shift in a more positive mood. You can use a gratefulness journal to write all the things you are grateful for at the end of the day. Writing is a very powerful skill, actual using your hand to write down your thoughts will make your brain absorb that gratefulness even more. Or you can make a gratefulness jar where you can put each day a note in with the mention of what made you happy that day. When you already start feeling it more consciously, you can also start expressing your gratitude towards the people around you. By simply mentioning it in a discussion, or sending a postcard like I did.