Gratitude Changes Perception
Nothing transforms chaos and overwhelm better or faster than gratitude. I know it may sound simplistic but how we choose to look at life does make a difference. In fact, our interpretation of our circumstances consciously or unconsciously colours our every decision we make and every action we take.
I think, at this point, that it’s important to differentiate between having a positive attitude and being grateful. Having a positive attitude, believing that all things are as they are meant can be a very powerful way of living and being. Doing so, reduces the resistance that we feel to change and opens up to opportunities for growth and provides a sense of meaning during difficult times.
With this said though, at times, a positive attitude is akin to faith. Especially during difficult life challenges, there is a sense of giving up your control and indeed your future to some other force. Be that God, nature, or sheer chance. So, in many ways, it’s a passive act.
The danger here is that it’s very easy to start seeing life in terms of destiny, either you are destined to succeed or you are not. This not only leaves you reacting to what life throws at you (surviving each day but never really living) but when things don’t go well it can lead to a victim identity. This only adds to that feeling of overwhelm, frustration, and stuckness that can become daily reality.
Gratitude is an Action
Gratitude, however, is an action in and of itself. Gratitude opens our heart and asks us to look for love, connection, and meaning in the present moment. It takes what is right here and now and sees the good even if much of the current circumstance is less than ideal. This grounds us and gives us a sense of rightness.
What’s more, when we start looking for what’s right in our lives, we start noticing more of the things that are perfect just as they are. This reduces our stress levels so that life doesn’t feel so chaotic. It also frees our mind from the doom and gloom fortune telling scenarios and allows us to see alternative possibilities.
Choosing gratitude is a simple matter. It’s as easy as taking a few moments each night before bed and thinking about or writing down three things that you are grateful for, either in general or something specific that happened in your day. Even on the worst of days, it’s possible to find some little thing.
If you truly take the time to really feel grateful, especially on the tough days, this can be a powerful experience. Not only will the world seem a little lighter somehow but you’ll find that you get a better night’s sleep. Though simple to do, it’s a practice that can make all the difference.