I was reminded today how powerful it is in shifting your perspective to be thankful. In times when things are tough or physical ailments are lingering, listing things you are thankful for can propel you forward.
Recognizing and acknowledging times that you are thankful and grateful for now gives you something positive to focus on. Remembering and recounting times that you were thankful for in the past allows you to see the blessings and good things that have occurred in your life.
In times of stress and panic, remembering five things you are thankful for can change your day. Instead of focusing on the downside of any situation, we can choose to look on the bright side. Our brains can be redirected away from the negative aspects of our days by consciously choosing to be grateful.
According to Robert A. Emmons, practicing gratitude boosts emotion and physical well-being and can have a lasting effect in a person’s life. Being grateful can lower blood pressure, improve immune functions and facilitate more efficient sleep. Gratitude reduces lifetime risk for depression, anxiety and substance abuse disorders. Emmons believes gratitude works because it allows individuals to celebrate the present and be an active participant in their own lives. It helps us focus on what we already have rather than what may be missing. Emmons said, “Gratitude blocks toxic emotions, such as envy, resentment, regret and depression, which can destroy our happiness. It’s impossible to feel envious and grateful at the same time.”
In my job, there are monthly projects that take a lot of time. When I choose to be thankful that I have a job and that I have team members to help, it makes the project easier to complete. When I take the time to thank the team members that help me complete my projects, I have a working relationship that is productive and satisfying. We get a lot more done in a more efficient way.
With any relationship, being thankful can cultivate harmony and well-being. Instead of focusing on the one thing that irritates you, concentrate on the three to five things that you are thankful for concerning that person. You will find that you cannot be cranky and grateful at the same time.
When the pandemic hit, I could not buy the rice I normally buy for my home pantry. I had to buy a bulk bag of brown long grain rice at a different store. This rice is perfectly fine, but it needs to be rinsed and the hulls need to be removed. It is a lot more work. I still need to be thankful that I have food for my table. There are a lot of people around the world that would be happy having this rice. Changing my perspective to being thankful changes the way I think about cooking this rice. I am thankful now that the store has my rice back in stock, and choose to cook the other rice with a thankful heart.
So, start today to choose to be thankful about your situation, your finances, your work and your relationships. As you recount the little things you are thankful for, you will see your perspective shift. When you don’t dwell on the negative, you can change your world.