Four reasons to be grateful

Mustache Smiley FaceI recently watched a TED talk on what it means to be grateful, and the impact that such a practice can have on you, and it really resonated with me.

Why? Because I have and had been focusing on the negatives, on what someone hasn’t done, or what I haven’t done, or can’t do, as opposed to what people have done, what I have accomplished, and what I am striving for.

So based on my own experience and on what the speaker said, I have compiled a bit of list to show why we should practice a little more gratefulness in our lives (especially with the stress of finals and term papers!).

1. It takes work

Being grateful sounds intuitive, but when putting it into practice, it involves a whole change in your mindset.

After all, there is crime, poverty, corruption, war, etc. happening in the world, so what should I be grateful for that? Of course not, but what we need to work at is being grateful for the challenges and opportunities that life does present us with. It involves switching to a more holistic mindset that is not the easiest transition, but it is worth it. You might even feel better.

2. You’ll feel better

How does being grateful for someone else or something else help me? Well it helps me get in touch with my inner self, and to have myself acknowledge that yes, it is ok to feel gratitude without guilt, and that I found myself occasionally smiling more (huge hurdle).

Not only that, it makes interacting with others much easier if they see how much you appreciate their help and their presence. Beyond other people, being grateful also helps me appreciate the smaller things in life, and rethinking my formerly negative thoughts. It may take a while but it does really help you feel better.

3. Being happy isn’t wrong

What does being happy even mean? It means, at least to be, being grateful. And how does that happen you might ask?

Well, I do my best to live gratefully, in much the same manner that David Steindl-Rast discusses in his very insightful TED talk. I cannot be grateful for everything in the world, but what I can be grateful for are the opportunities and challenges that life gives.

For many people (myself included) happiness can be seen as a trap, as an either or, and that its better to just not feel happiness or sadness. However, I have been slowly teaching myself that it is ok to be grateful and to be happy, and that by encouraging myself to do that, I have been changing how I view myself and the world around me.

So it is with confidence that I can that practicing gratefulness and be grateful has helped me develop who I am through self-reflection. What makes me grateful? Why should I be grateful? To whom should I be grateful?

4. It encourages self-reflection

Oh boy, this is a fun one, and arguably the hardest part of this list for me. It can be difficult to determine what you are grateful for, and this involves (at least for me) a lot of introspection.

But, by doing so, I think I have developed a better understanding of myself as a person and for what I believe in. All in all, being grateful is good for you and good for those around you. Stay grateful.

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