Using Gratitude to Be Happy with What You Have
Today’s world focuses on hopping from one trend to the next. With technology putting so much at the tips of our fingers, we can forget to pay attention to what is right in front of us. The inability to be grateful for what we have at the moment causes many of us to struggle with constantly wanting more, prompting feelings of continually being unsatisfied with where we are and the inability to be happy with what we have. How can gratitude help us find satisfaction in what we have?
What Is Gratitude?
Gratitude has been defined as the quality of being thankful or the readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.
Intentionally adopting a posture of gratitude means finding ways to be thankful for even the smallest joys in our lives and appreciating the things that helped us get to where we are. Once we have shown our appreciation, we return that kindness and helpfulness to others – paying it forward, so to speak.
Gratitude can help you be happy with what you have by teaching you the value of what is in front of you, rather than what you want for the future. Studies have shown that showing gratitude can help improve our mood and outlook on our lives overall.
Leveraging Gratitude to Help You Be Happy with What You Have:
Reflect on What You Have
Even in our darkest moments, there is still joy to be found. By choosing to give our attention and appreciation to even the smallest symbols of hope and happiness when we feel like things are less than ideal, we can actually make things feel better for ourselves. Take a moment to focus on what you have rather than what you do not. It can be easy to root ourselves in the things that we feel are missing from our lives rather than the things that are already there. Take a moment to show thanks for the help you have received from others and appreciate the parts of your life that hold value.
Think of People Who Have Helped You
When you close your eyes and think of people who have helped you in some way, who do you see? Maybe you are thinking of a friend, a family member, a mentor, or even a stranger. How did they help you? Take the time to show these people how thankful you are for them. You might write them a letter, give them a gift, or just tell them in person. Studies show that expressing gratitude makes you happier as well as making the person you’re thanking happier.
Show Yourself Grace
An important step in using gratitude to be happy with what you have is to be kind to yourself. This is especially important for individuals who might be hard on themselves or overly self-critical of their own actions. Showing yourself grace can help you push through difficult situations and forgive yourself more easily when you make mistakes, and you’ll be more inclined to notice the good things in your life and be grateful for them.
Lastly, be intentional about adopting an attitude of gratitude and watch it increase your delight in the good things in your life. Take time throughout your week to be intentionally grateful. Take a walk outdoors, complete acts of kindness for those in your life, and be kind to those you do not know. Be on the lookout for things that are pleasant and joy-giving. Being intentional can help you find joy in hidden places and be happy with what you have.
Working with a therapist can teach you new ways to use gratitude to be happy with what you have. To learn more about therapists in your area, click here.
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