It has been said that gratitude is the antidote to fear. You simply can’t feel gratitude and fear at the same time. Gratitude doesn’t mean settling for less or not making every effort to realize your true potential. Rather, it’s understanding that things are not always within our control and that we must appreciate the gifts we have right now, even the small ones. Being grateful can actually bring more money into your life.
Follow your bliss. The benefits of gratitude extend far beyond your wallet to your life overall. This isn’t just a theory—science shows that being grateful actually affects our brains. In one 10-week study, people who kept a daily log of things they felt grateful for were compared to another group who didn’t. Members of the gratitude group were more optimistic and experienced a 25% boost in happiness. Follow-up studies also found that those who regularly recorded things they were grateful for tended to exercise more each week and achieve more of their goals over the long run. Science also reveals that the more grateful you are, the more successful you can become.
Gratitude breeds generosity. Oprah Winfrey said it best: “What you focus on expands, and when you focus on the goodness in your life, you create more of it. Opportunities, relationships, even money flowed my way when I learned to be grateful no matter what happened in my life.” Giving to others tells your brain that there’s enough to go around. Just the act of generously helping another person makes you feel better about yourself, your life, and improves peace of mind.
Be aware of what you say. Words have amazing power. Instead of complaining about what you don’t have, recognize what’s good in your life and talk about it. What we say to ourselves and others reflects what we are thinking. Positive thoughts make us smile more often and act with more kindness. People tend to be attracted to positive people who in turn make each other feel more positive about themselves. There’s evidence of this phenomenon all around us. From a supportive friend to a friendly store clerk, we find ourselves deeply affected by another’s positive words and deeds.
Develop a daily practice. Consider this: your brain is like a muscle that can be enhanced by exercise over time. The part of the brain that experiences gratitude can be strengthened by consistently focusing on what makes you feel grateful. Gratitude is a practice, an exercise for your heart and mind. As with any exercise, frequency brings greater and long lasting results. Begin each day by writing down what you appreciate in your life. Taking a little time to concentrate on the positive parts of your life will inspire you and set the tone for your day. It also helps you get through difficult times, showing you the light at the end of the tunnel.
Be grateful in advance. Gratitude is most powerful when you express it before you receive something good. It’s easy to be grateful for what you already have, but being grateful for what you will receive in the future is where the real magic is. This is where gratitude has the most potential, and where you can profoundly change your life. Before you thrive in your new profession or business, express gratitude (internally and out loud whenever possible) to the people along the way who are supporting and helping you. Searching for a better job? Even before you find your dream job be grateful that someone, somewhere is advertising for the job opening you have yet to find. Before you go to the interview, feel gratitude that the person you will be meeting is looking for someone just like you, even before they select your application.
Winter is a good time to re-examine our lives, take a look at what we want to change, and make resolutions for the new year on the horizon. Just by thinking about what you’re grateful for, you can change your entire outlook. The next time you are afraid or worried about the future, stop and be grateful, then pay attention to what happens.
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