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Gratitude: Being Grateful; the Key to a Happier Life

What are you grateful for?

Is there anything to be grateful for?

These are the questions I will like you to ruminate on as you read this article.

Gratitude is one of the most important habits and values we must possess if we want to live a happier and healthier life. 

It is least talked about but its importance is magnificent.

Recently, I have come to learn something that has changed my life and my outlook on life.

And this is: The thought you allow in your mind will shape your life and actions.

woman in yellow bikini lying on seashore
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I will explain.

As a freelancer, I get very sad when I apply for a gig or a freelance job and I get rejected, or worse, get totally ignored.

And this made me develop a bad habit; whenever I am expecting a reply from a gig or job application I really want, I will lie down and do nothing all day, except wait!

And most times, I either don’t get any reply or I get rejected. 

So, the same thing happened recently; I had applied for several gigs and I was expecting a reply that very morning, so I lay down, as usual, waiting and counting down the time till I received an email.

The wait was already getting to me. I was feeling sad and anxious. I was angry. 

Bad thoughts started creeping into my mind. I was thinking “Why is my life like this? Why do I always have to get rejected or ignored? Why this, why that, etc.”

Then a thought struck me, “Do you realize you have a lot to do today? You have not done them but you are here getting sad over circumstances you can’t control. Yet, the things you can control you have abandoned them.”

I felt chided. 

So, I got up and started doing all I needed to do.

I told myself, “No one is coming to help me or save me. I must take action. I will not wait till anyone comes to help me out or send me an email to get me out of my rut. I have tasks to complete that will get me the solutions I want.”

And at that moment, I felt stronger. I felt hopeful. I was no longer sad and anxious. I was strengthened. It felt like I was not the one some minutes ago who had thought life was going to end just because my email was not replied to.

That was when it dawned on me that:

The thought you allow in your mind will shape your life and actions.

The Avid Inspire – Sarah Olaleye

I realized my negative thought had weighed me down and made me feel like the world was against me and nothing good will ever happen to me but when I changed my thought and started thinking positively, I felt so much better.

Why am I saying all this?

Because I’m trying to help you see the importance of gratitude and how it can improve your life.

If you’re the type who never sees anything good about your life or life in general, it will affect your life and health negatively.

Gratitude has been known to give health benefits and increase mental function. It improves self-esteem and helps you appreciate the littlest and most mundane life events.

Gratitude is the art of being grateful. The art of saying “Thank you” even when there’s no obvious reason to do so.

So, what are you grateful for?

In terms of being grateful, a lot of us only want to be grateful when there’s a big break or a big breakthrough or blessing.

But the interesting thing is if you are not grateful for the little, seemingly unimportant things and happenings now when the big break and blessings come, you will not recognize them enough to be grateful for them.

Read that again.

Gratitude will save you from needless and unnecessary worry. It will increase your life value and help you to see the beautiful things of life that might be invisible to you when you’re not grateful.

How to Be Grateful

In case you have made a resolution to be grateful after reading all I have written, then you are probably curious about how to show gratitude.

If you are not grateful for the little, seemingly unimportant things and happenings now when the big break and blessings come, you will not recognize them enough to be grateful for them.

The Avid Inspire -Sarah Olaleye

My answer is simple.

It’s in the little things.

Being grateful for waking up, being grateful for being able to move your body without pain, having a healthy body, eating and being able to afford healthy meals, having loved ones and spending time with them, having a source of income, getting a smile from a stranger, being able to help others, etc

These things are not unusual and they are probably not so special. But, if you can learn to appreciate them and be genuinely thankful for them, you will be happier about your present situation no matter how bad it seems. 

It’s all about your thoughts and outlook and you can only have a positive outlook if you allow positive thoughts.

Read also: Easy hacks for a more productive life

How to Express Gratitude

If you are a grateful person, let it show in the way you relate with others. When someone makes you happy, helps you, or blesses you in any way, appreciate them. Don’t hold back the “thank you,” because sometimes your “thank you” might be the motivation they need to keep helping others. 

Your appreciation might be an encouragement to them and a source of strength for them.

So, say thank you to that person that held the door open for you. Say thank you to the waiter or waitress at the restaurant or bar. Say thank you to that friend that has been there for you. Appreciate your parents, siblings, and that family member who is always there for you.

Also, appreciate that person that always checks up on you, sends you texts, and calls you. It will mean a lot to them and go a long way in their heart and life.

You can also get them gifts as a form of appreciation, send a thoughtful message, or write them a letter.

Do it sincerely from your heart and you will be glad you did.

Also read: Unproductive Habits You Need To Quit Right Now | Part 1

How to Develop a Habit of Gratitude

Like every other habit, it takes time. But it is possible to build a habit of gratitude. 

Several research and journals have shown proven benefits of gratitude which started by making it a habit, which I will be sharing with you in this article.

How can you build a habit of gratitude?

  • By keeping a Gratitude Journal

A gratitude journal or diary is a great way to develop a habit of gratitude. 

By making yourself write in it daily, you are helping your mind think of the things to be thankful for that you ordinarily wouldn’t have thought of if you were not being intentional about writing down.

Keep a gratitude journal and ensure you write in it every day.

  • Writing what you are thankful for before you sleep

Studies have shown that writing what you are thankful for before you sleep helps you sleep better and lighter. You are able to put your worries aside and sleep with a positive mindset and thought. It also helps you to see the good in your day. It helps you think back on the memories of the day and appreciate the good (often overlook) things that happened during the day’s activities.

  • Stating what you’re thankful for in front of the mirror every morning

Standing in front of the mirror and saying out loud what you’re thankful for is another way to develop a habit of gratitude. If you do this continually, it will become a part of you and it is also a great way to start your day.

  • Telling God thank you for waking you up in the morning

This is something I like to do when I open my eyes in the morning. I say “Thank you Jesus for a new day or Thank you for waking me up this morning.” It makes me feel great and energized. And it could help you too.

  • Staring outside your window or taking an early morning walk and appreciating the beauty of nature

This is also another thing I do. Most times, I can’t help it. The sky is always looking so beautiful and the sun usually shines into my room and on my face. So, I look out to the sky and I say “Thank you Jesus for this beautiful morning.”

They are precious moments in my life that has shaped my life and mental thoughts n various ways. Find what works for you and embrace the true essence of gratitude.

What are you grateful for?

Take a minute to share with me in the comment section what you are grateful for today, this week, or this month. It doesn’t have to be extraordinary or magnificent. Just tell me anything. I will be looking forward to reading it. Thank you.

Have a gratitude-filled week.

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