“Gratitude is one of the most powerful human emotions. Once expressed, it changes attitude, brightens outlook, and broadens our perspective.”
Peace. It is a feeling we all crave. And there comes a particular moment in each one of our lives when we realize that all of those things that we once thought would bring us happiness end up being meaningless. One day, the realization would dawn upon you like an epiphany, the only contrivances that can satisfy you are your friends, family members, and those close to you. When you are on your deathbed, you won’t think about the money you made and the cars you bought.
Instead, you’d think about the moments you spent doing the things you loved, surrounded by those who brought out the best in you. You’d think about that day when you pushed aside your fears and chose to walk unto the bravery path to follow your dreams. You’d think about that day, when you showed up on your child's football game, instead of being stuck in a meeting. You’d think about all the good times and the bad ones too, the moments you wished to give up, but didn’t. In the end, it’s the little things you’d remember; the things that brought you peace when you were alive, and the people who made you feel at ease.
Effects of Gratitude on the Brain
Often, life takes a U-turn, and you find yourself stuck in a turmoil of darkness, and life comes at a point when nothing seems to be going your way. Your personal and professional relationships seem to be staggering. And you wonder if forever this will stay, you wonder if you’ll ever be okay. You look at those around you, and they seem happy. You question God, why am I not happy like them? When your days get longer and nights get sadder, shift your mind to an attitude of gratitude. Life is fair because it is unfair to everyone. Learn to embrace your pain; it will give you peace. Learn to accept your mistakes; it will teach you the art of gratitude. The effects of gratitude on the brain are tremendously impactful. When an individual expresses gratitude and receives, the same, serotonin and dopamine are released by his brain. Those are the two most important neurotransmitters that are responsible for the emotions that a human feels. When those emotions are released, an individual feels ‘good.’ When an individual practices gratitude, serotonin, and dopamine are released, they enhance an individual’s mood and make him feel happy internally.
Benefits of Gratitude
Being grateful for the little things in life can hold more power than we realize. There is a lot of scientifically proven benefits of gratitude. Some of them are as follows;
- Gratitude will make you happier.
- Gratitude helps in honing your social skills, and it makes people like you more.
- Gratitude is proven to keep you healthy by reducing fever symptoms to 16% and increasing the quality of sleep by 25%.
- Gratitude helps boost your career by making you a more effective manager and helps your networking skills increase by broadening your professional horizons.
- Gratitude helps in making your personality more attractive, and it makes you confident in your skin.
How to Practice Gratitude
Gratitude is immensely powerful; it can entirely change one's outlook on life. Being grateful for the little things in life is an art that only a few can master. Gratitude is a contrivance that is hard to implement in everyday life. However, with dedication and persistence, you can shift your mindset and be grateful for everything you’ve been blessed with. There are various ways in which you can practice gratitude. Some of those techniques are as follows;
There is no better way to be grateful for everything you’ve been blessed with than by counting your blessings. Every night before going to bed, take out a few minutes from your time and note down your blessings unto your gratitude journal’s sheets. The length of your text does not matter. They can be three pages, or they can be only in five lines. Using the technique of writing a gratitude journal is known to have changed the perspective on many individuals’ lives.
When you help those around you, you’re making fair use of your time. When you help heal the pain of the hurting ones, it helps heal your pain too. When sorrow is shared with those who are suffering, it remains a sorrow no more. When you volunteer for the underprivileged and underrepresented community members, you start to view life differently.
When you help the minority communities, you become more compassionate, kinder, and wiser. And what better way to practice gratitude than by practicing these qualities? So the next time you start to compare your life to someone else, you will imagine yourself in their shoes and realize, perhaps their life isn’t as perfect as it seems. Remember, the grass is always greener on the other side. Maybe, in their eyes, you’re living an ideal life. So don’t take your blessings for granted before they are snatched away from you too.
Appreciate the life you’re living now because there might come a moment when nothing remains the same. Time is not everlasting, and with the seasons that change every year, you might not be here tomorrow. Life is too short to be drowned in a sea of sorrows.
If you had only two days to live, would you want to spend then being ungrateful, or would you be happy with what you have and spend the rest of your living days surrounded by those who brought joy to your heart?
Life is made beautiful only with the presence of those who make you feel loved, those who make you believe “perhaps life isn’t so bad after all.” Don’t forget to live in the moment because tomorrow is promised to no one.
Meditation has been practiced for many decades. It is encouraged by doctors for their patients to practice meditation at home as it has a lot of health and psychological benefits. It is known to reduce high levels of stress and fix the chemical imbalance in one’s brain that might cause an individual to suffer from depression.
If you are willing to fix these ungrateful habits and practice gratitude, you must practice meditation. If you have difficulty getting started with meditation, start small, baby steps are promised to take you a long way!
Tell Them You Love Them
If you live beside an elderly neighbor, invite him to your house for dinner, and remind him how much his company matters. Call your parents and tell them how much you love them. Say the words “I Love you” to your beloved. Remind those around you how much they mean to you. And remind yourself as well, that love is a gift that only a few people are blessed with. Telling your family and friends how much you love them is an excellent way to practice gratitude.
Importance of Peace
Having peace of mind is a mental state of tranquility, calm, and freedom from any kind of worry or tension. Possessing a vital peace of mind holds a lot of importance in the life of an individual. There are various advantages of peace. Some of them are as follows;
- It Keeps Things in Perspective: When you have a peaceful mind, it will help keep things into perspective. You will have a more precise state of mind and a feeling of calmness in your heart. When you have peace, it will give you the motivation to look for the positive in any negative situation and learn from your past mistakes instead of dwelling on the moments that have passed away.
- Growing Wisdom: There is a rainbow after rain; there is wisdom after pain. It is only through grief do human beings genuinely understand the nature of life. And when we know the nature of life, we start to realize that everything we go through, every pain, every obstacle, every struggle, is only meant to shape us into the person we are meant to be. When we realize that our pain was a blessing in disguise, we attain peace of mind.
- Increased Self-Acceptance: When you possess peace in your heart, you will become more self-accepted. You accept all the parts of yourself, the good ones, and the bad ones too. The realization will dawn upon you that you don’t have to be perfect at everything that you do. You will start to accept your mistakes and learn from them.
- Improved Relationships: When you are at ease with who you are and where you are in life, your personal and professional relationships are likely to prosper and blossom. When you feel peace in your heart, you will treat those around you with love, care, and affection, instead of demeaning them. Certain people who do not feel at ease with who they are they take out their frustrations with their employees or family members. However, if they have real peace of mind, they would not be so frustrated towards those around them.
Alvis is a nonprofit human services agency with over 50 years of experience. We believe in the power of second chances and coming together as one community to affect change. With our reentry, behavioral health, developmental disabilities, workforce development, family and children's services, and the community, we can make a lasting 180 impact. Learn more about Alvis and how you can get involved at alvis180.org.