When you wake up in the morning are you looking forward to the coming day or are you already worried about what you have to accomplish? When you go to bed, does your head rest easy on your pillow or are you wishing someone would show you where the “off” button is? When was the last time you just enjoyed existence itself? Do you know how to be happy? Let’s take a look at what a simple concept like gratitude can do to create a less stressed version of mental health.
Think about the last time you really felt grateful. Maybe someone did something unexpected for you. Maybe you just realized how lucky you were that day or maybe the sun was shining just right. Think about how happy that feeling of gratitude made you. Perhaps your shoulders even relaxed a bit and you smiled without effort.
Seeing that gratitude is a vital part of happiness is as mathematically simple as defining misery. When we are miserable its because we feel we are lacking something, whether it’s something we want or had is irrelevant. Gratitude is the act of appreciating something, the complete opposite of wanting. Gratitude is so important that it is the cornerstone of most religions.
Consider a project that you have. You are excited to get to work on the project until you realize that several steps must be completed to get to the project that you are wishing to work on. Instead of being grateful as each step is completed, many people will simply begin to worry about the next step, never being able to appreciate that very moment when something was accomplished.
When we are grateful for what we have, it brings to us a sense of contentment. This is a calming sense that serves to lend a plateau from which to view other things in life. Our perceptions are all too often adversely affected by our feelings and current situations. One way to ensure a more positive perception is to view life with gratitude instead of want. Sometimes this may be difficult, but we always have the comparative method available. This method occurs when we compare one situation to another. Whether it is a situation of our own or not, it can bring about appreciation, though our own situations often have more of an impact on us.
For instance, if you are feeling in a financial bind, think back to a time when finances were worse for you than at this moment. Feel gratitude for your efforts thus far and recognize the goals you have met. If you hate your job, try to remember how much you hated another job or how hard you had to work to get the job you have. The key is really in visualizing progress and simple being grateful for the here and now.