Sunday, 22 July 2012



Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow. -Melody Beattie

Happiness (Photo credit: baejaar)

Studies show that gratefulness and life satisfaction go hand in hand. To appreciate and be thankful for what you receive in your life be it in health, love, happiness, wealth,  or  spiritual aspects is the core principles of being grateful. It is easy to be grateful when things go your way. However, the true test of your gratefulness and resiliency is how you endure life's curve balls. If you lose more than you win in the game of life, you will have regrets, disappointments and you shake your fist in anger at life's injustices.

Overcome with a sense of injustice, gratefulness takes a backseat. Growing frustrated, experiencing loss and sometime even suffering a physical trauma can definitely despair us and set us to the path of negative feelings and thoughts. The question we may often ask ourselves is, "Why are these bad things happening to me? I have nothing to be grateful for!"

Actually, there are really plenty to be thankful for in our lives. We just have to 'dig deeper' to find it. These are 10 habits of people who remain steadfast in their ability to be grateful. They can ride out the storms life has blown their way with a strong 'attitude of gratitude' mindset.

Gratitude to the God of the businesswoman

1. Grateful people have no expectations

They do not expect life is going to give them everything they deserve.  Realizing that good things do not always happen to good people, they have surrendered the idea that life "owes them" anything more than what it can offer.  It is the realities of life when innocent people die, have cancer or afflictions. Natural disasters such as Tsunamis can wipe out an entire community of unsuspecting people,  and yes, these are the injustices and tragedies of life which are regrettable.  The question is what is fair and what is unfair, but can we move forward in spite of it.

2. They don't set preconditions to their happiness. 

Thoughts such as, "If this happens" only then "I will be happy." They have a profound understanding that happiness does not come from the outside, but from within themselves. They focus on adapting to what has happened instead of trying to change what cannot be changed. Also, they do not attempt to micromanage people and things around them that are not really in their control.

Red rose
Two bees on a sunflower
Honey Bees

3. Grateful People are realistic 

People who know how to be grateful have realized that you can't have the rainbow without the rain or the honey without the bee, and you certainly cannot have the rose without the thorns. Rainy days are seen as a normal part of life instead of abnormal and learning from the rain rather than waiting for it to stop. Instead of worrying if the thorn will prick and draw blood, they admire the beauty of the rose and savor the taste of sweet honey even though knowing they could get stung by the bees. To realize that neither one can exists without the other, they are grateful to receive both.

Rain DropsRain DropsRain DropsRain Drops


4. Grateful people always have hope. 

No matter how bad the situation is, hope is not lost. They accept and realize that the future is uncertain, and even though they may have planned for it, they do not try to micromanage outcomes that are beyond their sphere of influence. They know that once the sun sets, it rises the next day. They have a strong faith that there is more to life. They hack at life instead of feeling hacked by life.

Rainbow backgroundRainbow backgroundRainbow backgroundRainbow backgroundRainbow background


5. Grateful people practice forgiveness 

People who nurse bitterness and grudges in their life have no space in their heart to be grateful. Being able to forgive your spouse who is not understanding or your children for making the wrong choices, and by giving up the grudge of a slight injustice from a friend, are all in the gratitude equation. Find it in your heart to forgive those for not acting or being like you had hoped. Perhaps you need to set boundaries on your interaction with them or keep a distance as in the case of abuse. But by carrying the torch of bitterness is going to hurt you even more than the abuser. 

"Holding onto anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else, you are the one who gets burned." -Buddha

6. People who are grateful know it takes work

To have a grateful attitude takes work as gratefulness does not always come naturally, especially in the most challenging times. During such times, grateful people work on keeping a good perspective. These are the ways:

  • Read affirmations
  • Seek support from others
  • Get help for their sadness or anxiety
  • Seek counselling no matter how much effort it entails

7. Grateful people have healthy thinking habits

"Think Straight, Feel Great!" is their motto. They can recognize and separate these two aspects:

  • Their perceptions from the facts.
  • Their rational from victim-like irrational ways of thinking.
For example, 

A victim self talk is, "They make me so angry."
A victor self talk is, "I was angry when they did that."

Irrational thinking such as, "It's terrible" and "I can't tolerate it" is reserved for the most life threatening circumstance, rather than everyday petty annoyances and slights.

8. Grateful people are flexible in their thinking

Being flexible in your thinking is an advantage in life because flexibility is the key to growth and wisdom. Don't  cling stubbornly with ways of thinking that do not work. Realize that shifting your attitude does not mean personal defeat or how wrong you used to be. You can choose your perceptions and have a right to change your  minds. 

"When a door closes, open a window." 

9. People who are grateful are always learning

To them,  every life's setback or unforeseen event is a lesson to be learned. Grateful people focus more on the lessons they can get out of each circumstances instead of dwelling on failure and disappointments. Life itself is a great teacher and it teaches us things that no mortal ever could. View mistakes and failures as learning opportunities.

10. Grateful people have determination

Their self worth is defined by their determination and the
ir dreams, and not their regrets and disappointments. A grateful mind does not allow excessive self-recrimination and low self esteem to take residence. That is why people who are stuck in the past regrets and always see themselves as a loser or as a total failure in certain areas of their lives are unable to be truly grateful.

Positive self esteem is the very foundation where gratefulness is build on. so if you are feeling down, use these ways to give your mental health a booster shot. 

What are you grateful for in your life?

My next topic for discussion is, "Seven Best Gratitude Quotes."

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Side portrait using pencil.

Thank you for looking and taking the time to read my blog. I welcome feedback and please feel free to share your experience in relation to the topic.

Until my next post, Here's To Your Health!

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