A thankful heart is the foundation of a full and happy life. Being grateful for the people in your life, the things you possess, and the good and bad times that flow your way is so incredibly important. And yet, we often lose focus on thankfulness and either get an attitude of unsatisfying want or an attitude of helplessness.
Here are some ways for you to keep a secure hold on an attitude of gratitude while living in a world that tries to strip us of our happiness.
Give of yourself to others.
Make a conscious effort to reach out to other people. Volunteer, donate, take part in a fundraiser. When you step away from your circle of routines and demands long enough to see and experience the needs of those around you, it's a lot easier to realize all you have to be grateful for. Plus, by helping out someone else in need, you're giving them something to be thankful for, too. This adds more positive energy into the world and ignites an attitude of gratitude into others.
Surround yourself with positive people.
The attitudes of those around you have a direct impact on your emotions. When surrounded by complainers and pessimistic people, you tend to fall into the same habits. You begin to notice what's going wrong in your life, not what's going right. You see the flaws in yourself, not the good. People who are unhappy with themselves or with their circumstances will bring others down to their level in hopes to make themselves feel better.
You don't have to be pulled into that. Distance yourself from those who stomp out joy. Let yourself gravitate toward people who embrace life and find happiness in both the good and bad times.
Realize every trial is a stepping stone for your future.
Sometimes you'll go through rough circumstances. Life won't seem fair. You'll be handed a trial or a setback you don't think you deserved. I get it. I've been there numerous times. But in the midst of this trial, look back at other setbacks you've overcome. Think of how they've molded you into the person you are today and how they've carried you to certain places in your life. Be thankful for the hard times, because they are what build us and prepare us for success down the road.
Understand possessions don't equal happiness.
There will always be wish lists. I wish I had this, or I wish I had that. It's important to understand that having more doesn't create happiness. Finding contentment and gratitude in what you already have--now that creates happiness. Desire for more is part of our human nature. We all experience it. But we don't have to let our desire for more rob us of the pleasure of the present. While a desire to have a better house or a better income isn't wrong, it can easily work its way into becoming discontent. And discontent will slowly chip away at your happiness.
When you start to feel discontent with what you have, remember that every thing you possess is temporary. Cars break down, houses deteriorate, and jobs come and go. Treasure what you have now, because one day you'll look back and it will only be a distant memory.
Keep a gratitude journal.
Gratitude journals are such a great item to keep in your purse or in your nightstand. Throughout the day or at the end of the day, write down 5-10 things you are thankful for from your day. They don't have to be big! Did you eat a tasty lunch? Did you have a relaxing evening with family? Did you bump into an old friend?
By physically writing down what you are thankful for, you force yourself to search for enjoyment through the daily grind and to meditate on the good. A gratitude journal will help you sift out the negative aspects of your day and shine a light on the positive.