'Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never, ever have enough.' - Oprah Winfrey
I believe you cannot be unhappy and have gratitude, or be ungrateful and happy - whichever works for you! I carry on my iPhone a list of all the things I am grateful for and add to it regularly. I find it is so helpful to remind myself on a regular basis of all the things I love that I have in my life, especially when life can throw you a curveball and you can forget! My gratitude list is always there to look at regularly and remind myself of the magic powers of gratitude. I so believe that when you are grateful it opens up the abundant universal energy that is there for each and every one of us. It stops you taking anything for granted and opens your eyes to bigger picture thinking and the wonder of the Universe.
Gratitude opens the door to other positive emotions too. It has been scientifically proven that when people are grateful they are more joyful, more optimistic, more apt to help others and are genuinely healthier. Related studies have found they're more resilient, less stressed and better strategic thinkers too. I believe that as long as you are at peace with yourself, have gratitude and positive thoughts, it allows you to access the right brain better - much of which I discussed in an earlier blog on creativity, joyfulness and social dexterity. If you are bogged down with negativity you cannot tap into the right brain stuff! Looking back I have practised this naturally much of my life but had not consciously realised this and the power that gratitude can bring. However, it is not transactional - true gratitude expects nothing in return. If you cannot find anything to be grateful for just be grateful for the air you breathe! I know it may sound crazy but we really do take the air we breathe for granted - being grateful is life enhancing and puts everything else into perspective.
I wish this could be taught in more schools from a young age - it would make the world a better place. Sir Anthony Seldon, enlightened headmaster of Wellington College was the first school to introduce Happiness and Wellbeing classes to its curriculum for pupils and parents in 2006 and thank heavens more schools have followed his example. Please read their Well-being Programme on 'Altruism, Gratitude and Appreciation.' It just confirms everything I'm writing about now.
'True gratitude can shift even the most negative emotions.' - Arianna Huffington