"The root of joy is gratefulness." - David Steindl-Rast
Dear Vibrant Young Mind,
Our minds can imagine all worst-case scenarios, making it difficult to appreciate how blessed we are. We constantly despise ourselves and complain about things we lack in our life. I wish I had a large home or a dream car. Why am I not as successful as them, and so forth. We rarely take the time to appreciate and be grateful for all we have right now. But remember that it's always important to take time to pause and express gratitude for the things and people in our lives. It's critical to reflect on our accomplishments and growth so far. Gratitude is important not just for peace but also for overall well-being.
What is gratitude?
Many of you may believe that gratitude is about feeling grateful for the good things in life.
However, it is difficult to "feel grateful" in reality. We live in unprecedented times, and it is difficult to keep our emotions under control, given how quickly things change. We can't be happy all of the time.
Being grateful is what gratitude is all about. It helps you see the world through a different lens, allowing you to cope with temporary changes. When life gets tough, gratitude keeps you afloat by giving you a new viewpoint to see the big picture.
Gratitude reminds us to be grateful for the things we otherwise take for granted.
Importance of gratitude
“Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for.” - Zig Ziglar
Gratitude is often linked to stress. You may have heard experts advise that you should practice gratitude if you're feeling overwhelmed by your current situation. But it’s just that? Gratitude not only helps in managing stress but helps in holistic well-being.
How do you feel when you think of someone who makes you happy? Do you feel a sensation in your body? Do you feel butterflies in your stomach? That is how gratitude works. Consider how thinking about one specific person might make you feel better. Similarly, practicing gratitude makes you appreciate the things around you, which leads to happiness and joy.
There's a great saying that goes, "You are what you feed your mind." When you focus on the negative, you will experience pain and suffering. But in retrospect, gratitude brings you more joy. Gratitude can enable you to improve your mental health. And you'll feel more driven and confident if you're in a good mental and emotional position. You have more energy, you sleep better, you pursue things that give you a sense of purpose, and much more.
Gratitude can also help you improve your social relationships. Gratitude helps you appreciate and be grateful for the people in your life. It shows how highly you value others and understand their importance in your life. This further deepens the relationship and creates mutual respect.
Stress and anxiety are at an all-time high today. At some level, everyone is coping with something. It's here that gratitude teaches us how to deal with stress more effectively. It reminds us of all the good things, and we appreciate every little that we have. It tells the brain not to be overwhelmed by the current situation and deal it with more awareness and flexibility.
Our brain has been programmed to believe what we tell it. If we keep informing our brain about the adverse outcomes, our brains will subconsciously consider all of the worst-case situations. On the other hand, gratitude helps us teach our brain to focus on positive outcomes, reducing anxiety and apprehension.
Usually, people believe that practicing gratitude leads to a lack of effort or poor performance. That, however, is not the case. According to studies, those who practice gratitude are more effective in achieving their goals.
Gratitude is a motivating feeling that encourages people to pursue their goals with more vigor. It helps maximize happiness by reframing unpleasant memories and reducing negative emotional impact. It helps us see how a stressful event helped us become resilient and shaped who we are today. However, it is important to understand that practicing gratitude does not mean focusing on the positive and ignoring the negative but instead recognizing the potential to change negative into positive.