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Your Morning Cup of Inspiration

Now that the New Year is fast approaching, it is the time to make our resolutions for 2016. My resolution for the coming year is to be more grateful.  Mind you, by all appearances, I am a fairly grateful person.  I am quick to say, “thank you,” and I regularly make positive comments about the good things that are happening in my life.

However, I don’t live in a constant state of gratitude.  Instead of focusing on my blessings, I easily am overwhelmed if something goes wrong.  Or if someone says an unkind word, I am out of sorts.  And instead of appreciating the body God gave me, I can be very critical of my appearance.  I don’t think that I am unusual.  I suspect many people are like me.  We know that we should be thankful for our blessings, but we can’t seem to be grateful when we are faced with challenges.

Yet learning to live a life of continual gratitude is one of the most worthwhile goals that we can have. When we are in a permanent state of gratitude, our life experience dramatically changes.  We view our circumstances in a different light.  People respond to us more positively.  And we simply are happier.

Consider the following ways in which gratitude can change your life for the better in 2016:

  1. Improved Relationships: I truly believe that the two words, “thank you,” can heal relationships. How many marriages suffer because spouses feel unappreciated? That lack of appreciation then can spiral into resentment, frustration and affairs. And it is all because the couple was unwilling to express appreciation for each other on a daily basis. The same holds true for our relationships with our family members, friends and colleagues. Most relationships improve when we express our gratitude. For instance, when your boss compliments you on a job well done, you like him or her more and want to work harder. If your children and spouse say thank you regularly, you have more loving feelings toward them. Words of appreciation can transform our relationships. It is amazing to me that we don’t say them more often.
  2. Knowing We Are Blessed In Spite of Life’s Imperfection: No one has everything. Not even Bill Gates. No one has the perfect house, the perfect body, the perfect children, the perfect spouse, or the perfect life. So being ungrateful for your home because your best friend lives in a house that could be in Architectural Digest is a waste of time. That same friend probably wishes that she had your children or your job. When you have a grateful mind, you focus on what you have, rather than what you don’t have. And suddenly you realize how abundant your life really is.
  3. A Better Lifestyle: It is human nature to care for what we value. So a man might spend his Saturday afternoon polishing his sports car. Or a woman might spend one hour a week getting her nails done. When we value our bodies, our appearance and our belongings, we spend time taking care of those things. And when we appreciate and take care of what we have, suddenly our quality of life takes a major leap upward. To put it this way, let’s say that two people have the same car. One owner is grateful to even have a car, so she washes it regularly and keeps the interior spotless. The other owner doesn’t think owning a car is big deal. So he doesn’t wash the car, lets his kids eat food in it, and leaves wrappers everywhere. The owner who is grateful will enjoy driving around in a lovely vehicle. The other owner will spend his time in filthy, sorry looking car. When we appreciate what we have, we then take better care of what we have, and our lifestyles invariably improve.
  4. Greater Happiness: People often become sad or depressed because they wish their lives were somehow different. There is nothing wrong with considering how you can improve your life. In fact, we constantly should be trying to improve both ourselves and our general life experience. That is a good thing! But we also have to appreciate what we have today. Sure, things may not be perfect. But we all have something, even if it is ever so small, to be thankful for right now. Interestingly, happiness has little to do how much we have. I know wealthy people who suffer from depression, and people with very modest incomes who go through life with a smile on their faces. The truth is that our personal happiness is dictated only to a limited extent by our circumstances. Rather our attitudes are what drive us to be happy or not.

Think about making gratitude your New Year’s resolution for 2016. And remember that gratitude is so much more than keeping a gratitude journal or engaging in gratitude meditations.  It is about changing the way you view everything in your life and how you operate on a day-to-day basis.  Once you adopt an attitude of gratitude, you will be amazed at how many areas of your life will improve.

 

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