A culture of consumerism, politics, fear, job loss, family distress and other factors have the capacity to create a dissatisfied mindset about life. This discontentment can lead to feelings of depression, bitterness and resentment.
Are you tired of the negative vibe?
Interestingly, studies indicate that people train their brains to think a certain way. If you constantly focus on the negative, you train your brain to go there naturally. Consider the relationships around you. People tend to pick up on what their spouse and children are doing wrong versus what they are doing right.
Some may feel they don’t have much to be thankful for at the moment. As we usher in the week of Thanksgiving, perhaps you realize you have allowed a negative cloud to hover over your life or even the life of your family and friends.
So what’s the antidote to all of the negativity?
Well, just as you can train the brain to think negatively, you can also train your brain to notice the good around you. It all begins with gratitude: the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.
According to researchers at Eastern Washington University, grateful people:
Feel a sense of abundance in their lives,
Appreciate the contributions of others to their well-being,
Recognize and enjoy life's small pleasures, and
Acknowledge the importance of experiencing and expressing gratitude.
Cultivating gratitude is free and it doesn’t consume your time, but the benefits aren’t bad either. Being grateful can help you have better physical and emotional health, stronger friendships, a sense of contentment and more.
You can embrace the spirit of Thanksgiving all year long with a few simple practices.
Instead of allowing things to annoy you, look for the good in every situation. For example, instead of letting your blood pressure go up because the person in front of you at the mall didn’t hold the door open for you, turn around and hold the door for the person behind you and move on.
Stop comparing your situation to that of others. Most of the time, you are comparing yourself to a situation that is not as it appears on the surface.
Be thankful for the bad things that haven't happened, such as a tragedy, an illness, a stressful life change - you fill in the blank.
Start each morning with thanks for the gift of a new day and end each day by saying thank you.
Write down things that happen throughout the day for which you can be thankful. It might surprise you when you see how blessed your life is.
Consider the people in your life upon whose shoulders you stand. Call or write them to let them know how grateful you are for believing in you.
Find ways to serve others all year long. Blessing others will probably bless you, too.
Ask for accountability so that when you start to revert to your old habits of complaining, you will have a backup plan to help keep you on track.
According to Cicero, gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others. Gratitude is a powerful mindset, but it doesn’t tend to come naturally. Practicing gratitude at Thanksgiving may help you feel better. Practicing gratitude all year long could transform your life.