Gratefulness – being thankful at all times
When I was a little, little baby my mama said, ‘Life is like a box of chocolates, naa that was Forrest Gump’s mum…my mum said, “never ever forget your thank you.” When I was a kid I never understood the importance of gratefulness. Many a time I forgot to say my thank you’s and each time she would look me in the eye and out came the words, be grateful “say thanks”.
Over the years a growing awareness and wisdom have taught me that an ‘attitude of gratitude’ or ‘gratefulness’ in all things and situations = A Happy Smiling Face.
All that is good. It is easy to say thank you and be grateful to family and friends. It’s easy to be in gratitude for work done and favors received. It’s easy to smile when there is a roof over your head three meals on the table, money in the bank, a bunch of family and friends who love you and you love in return.
ALL THAT’S EASY!
It’s tough when things go wrong as they sometimes may and life looks like it’s going all downhill. Moreover, it’s even more important then than at any time else to be thankful for what we have.
Importance of feeling Thankful
Now you will ask why is it more important to feel gratitude ‘say thank you’ when you are feeling down. That’s because our brain has a negative bias the very reason why we love bad news more than good news. Dr John Cacioppo, Ph.D at the University of Chicago conducted a research that concludes our brain reacts more strongly to negative stimuli. There is a greater surge in electrical activity on hearing downbeat news than good news.
The thank you’s at times like that help lift our spirit and help us look toward the positive or we tend to get depressed. It’s most important at times like these when we are feeling down to become aware of the negative bias hitting you. Then closing your eyes ‘count your blessings…having a healthy life for instance and air to breath and a place to rest your head, you will feel happy and that will change you …the situation will be there but it’s you who will have changed, just a little bit.’
How to offset the Negativity Bias
It is a little bit of an uphill task. Research by Dr Barbara Fredrickson an American professor in the department of psychology at the University of North Carolina indicated that that in order to offset the negativity bias we need to experience three positive emotions for every negative one. So do just that count three blessings in your life you are thankful for that moment and you will feel the difference in your mood.
The idea, in the long run, is to make a habit of being grateful in your heart, saying thank you.
Take off five minutes a day to feel and express how thankful you are:
- Thank the Universe or God if you believe in him/her for things little and big in your life.
- Be grateful for the things that you can change in your life
- Grateful that you are given the tools to make your life better.
- Be thankful for what you don’t know but can learn.
- Be thankful for the mistakes you make they teach you a lesson.
Slowly you will rewire your brain to stay in an attitude of gratitude. And then go ahead make someone’s day by practicing gratefulness with a ‘thank you’ he least expects….it works but you have to work at it.