The way we view the world is highly important, and creates the reality we live in. No matter what happens on the outside, we perceive all of it through the lens of our perception and that’s the reality that affects the way we feel and act. A very positive person will always have a happier life than a very negative one, if only because they perceive everything that happens to them as better and having a silver lining and are so less affected by the trials and problems they face.
Gratitude is one highly powerful tool when it comes to creating this healthy lens and is an incredibly useful way to alter the way we see our lives and ourselves that can make us much happier. At the same time, a little gratitude can go a long way to helping us to get on better with others and to forging stronger relationships and excelling in our careers. Here we will look at the power of gratitude and how to make the most of it.
How Gratitude Helps Your Perception of Reality
When you decide whether you’re happy with your lot in life or not, often you will go about this by taking stock of all the things both good and bad that are going on your life. Most likely you will count all of your blessings and weigh these up against all of the things that have gone wrong for you – even if it’s an unconscious process.
However the problem is that we have a bad habit of taking a lot of the great things in our lives for granted. They’re ‘always there’ so we don’t think of them as being great or special, whereas the things that go wrong are always more noticeable. For instance you’d be very upset if tonight your dinner was burned and you couldn’t eat it – but you wouldn’t be particularly happy or excited for all the times that you ate it and it went well.
The other problem is that we tend to compare our lives to other people’s. This is human nature and part of our driving force to improve our conditions, but it can also lead to dissatisfaction and a lot of stress. You could be the richest person in your circle of friends with a great support network of loved ones and a job that you loved – but if the neighbour was twice as rich and dating a supermodel then you might rate your lot as not being all that.
One of the secrets to happiness then is to take the time to b really pleased with the things you have in your life and to take a moment to reflect on them. This means things like…
- Your health
- Your possessions
- Your career
- The fact that you eat regularly
- Your family
- Your friends
- Your partner if you have one
- The beauty of the area that you live in
- The fact that you have so many opportunities open to you right now
- Your car
- Your life achievements so far
- The weather on a brilliant day
- A great piece of music
- Your happy memories
- Your comfort
- The ability to sit in front of the TV and relax
- Your favourite program coming back on TV
- The kind things that your friends do for you
If you are able to do all these things then suddenly you will find that you are surrounded by amazing things – and that actually these things far outweigh the negatives.
Meanwhile you should make sure to be grateful for all the things other people do for you and for your luck. When you do this you will appear more gracious and humble, and this attitude will warm you to people and ensure they treat you again. This is almost like a form of classical conditioning – if you are grateful and thank someone thoroughly when they do something kind then they’ll feel good and be far more inclined to do it again.
The only risk here though is that your gratitude should take away your locus of control. Although you should feel grateful for the things you have in life, that doesn’t mean putting your success or otherwise down to outside factors. You have the things you do for a reason, and ultimately it will come down to you – to you being successful or diligent or kind. Be grateful for what you have, but also be proud and make sure you strive to improve your situation even further, and to help lift others up as you do.