The dawn of a new year tends to provide us all with an opportunity to reflect on our approach to life. One of the greatest choices we can exercise to navigate our lives is the power of positive thinking. Is our glass half-empty or half-full? How we answer this age-old question changes our outlook on life – and it may even affect our health.
Gratitude & Positivity
Life is about education, work, courage, honour, empathy and resilience in the face of hardship. Real contentment comes from a feeling that your life is worthwhile, that it is dissolved into something meaningful and great. That leads to gratitude, which is an indispensable part of happiness. Planting small seeds of gratitude everyday encourages us to have a positive attitude towards challenging situations in our life. It can help to evoke qualities such as patience and humility, helping us to see and appreciate the goodness already present in our lives that we might not be aware of. Cicero (a great Roman statesman) once said, “Gratitude is the greatest of virtues, and the parent of all the others.”
Health Benefits of Gratitude
The key to cultivating gratitude is to feel immense appreciation for the life that we are given, and make a conscious effort to look at what’s right in our lives rather than what’s missing. Being grateful doesn’t cost any money and it certainly doesn’t take much time, but research reveals that the benefits are enormous:
- Improved physical, mental and social well-being
- Greater optimism and happiness
- Improved feelings of connection in times of loss or crises
- Increased self-esteem
- Heightened energy levels
- Strengthened heart, immune system, and decreased blood pressure
- Improved emotional and academic intelligence
- Expanded capacity for forgiveness
- Decreased stress, anxiety and depression
- Improved self-care and greater likelihood to exercise
- Heightened spirituality – the ability to see something bigger than ourselves.
Take about 5 minutes in the morning to connect with yourself, to connect with nature, and do a “grateful scan”. You will find that it will transform your day.
– Start by listening, seeing, smelling, feeling the environment around you, and thanking the presence of these experiences individually – the sound of your rhythmic breathing, the birds chirping, feel the breeze, the warm feeling of sunlight on your body, the grass under your feet, the ocean, the hills, the beautiful trees, the clouds, the sky, the beauty and fragrance of flowers.
– Send your love and gratitude to people you are close with, the people who are part of your daily life.
– Be thankful for the daily necessities and comforts you enjoy, most of which we take for granted.
– Scan your body and thank it for being healthy and strong.
– Bring attention to all the parts of your body, giving thanks to each.
– Finally focus on your breath, feeling grateful to be alive and breathing in this present moment.
Take another 5 minutes in the evening and think about 2-3 positive experiences that day. The most common method for cultivating gratitude is by keeping a “gratitude journal” in which you can record experiences that you are grateful for. Examples include taking notice of something in nature, a pleasant conversation with a friend, a good cup of coffee or helping someone with a problem. Write in this journal before you go to bed – this will help to wind-down from whatever stress you may have faced during the day, and will have the power to transform your life in a positive way.
Gratitude and the Spirit of Giving
One way we can express our gratitude which makes us feel even happier is by giving to causes that are important to us or family, and is a community need. TheraStore have made a conscious decision to identify such opportunities for ‘giving back’. We have become a KidsCan charity partner to support Kiwi kids affected by poverty so they can have the opportunity of a better future. We all have the ability and opportunity to cultivate gratitude. Simply take a few moments to focus on all that you have – developing an “attitude of gratitude” is one of the simplest ways to improve your satisfaction with life. Gratitude is an amazing tool that can help shape our lives and lead us toward a higher state of consciousness.
So, what you are grateful for in your life and what cause do you identify with?
by Amal Karl, CEO TheraStore