The Benefits of Gratitude

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Yesterday, we talked about what it means to have gratitude. It goes way beyond thanking someone for something they did for you. It has to do with an appreciation for the kindness that is shown. Moving even one step farther, it is about reciprocating that kindness. That doesn’t mean just showing kindness to the person who was kind to you but giving kindness to everyone you meet.

First, gratitude is a way to get unstuck from a negative situation. There will be times where we are stuck and don’t know what to do. We struggle as we look at the problem. When our focus is so on the problem, we miss all the solutions around us.

This is where gratitude comes into play. When we take our eyes off the problem and see all the good things around us, we begin to walk with a totally different attitude and in a totally different way. We suddenly realize that our problem is solved either by us or by someone else. To tell you the truth, I believe this is the only way to get unstuck.

Okay, you are probably looking at your computer or phone screen with a crunched up face saying, “Tina, what are you talking about? Stuck? How do people get stuck?”

Well, don’t worry, I will tell you. People can get stuck in relationships. Maybe you go from one bad relationship to the next and feel trapped. Others get trapped at work. You may have a job you don’t like and all you do is drag yourself to work each day and think, “Will this ever end!”

It will end but you have to start looking for things to appreciate and show gratitude. Even if they are small at first. Some of this we will learn later on in the week but I just wanted to help you take a small step toward getting yourself unstuck.

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Second, gratitude helps to change your mindset. In school and in my youth group, I teach about different types of mindsets. One of the mindsets I talk about is gratitude. We cannot do anything without a mindset that is thankful for our life.

If you start to say things that you are grateful for, your mind is wired in such a way that you will start looking for the good in life. Those who are optimistic look and find things in their lives that are positive. Not only do they get unstuck more quickly but they stay unstuck longer.

Let’s think of it this way, if you have your head turned looking behind you instead of looking forward, then you won’t see the ditch in front of you. This gives you a greater chance of falling in the ditch. On the other hand, if you are looking straight ahead, not worrying about what just happened behind you, you will see and go around the ditch.

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Third, gratitude helps relieve emotional disorders that can affect every other part of your life. Keeping a watch for things we can show gratitude for helps to relieve depression. When you see things going right in your life, it is hard to feel sad, mad, frustrated, or even depressed.

Depression was a big part of my life for years. Throughout my teens and twenties, I would walk in public with my head down. I never looked up because I was concentrating on my situation too much. Instead of looking at all the good things happening and all the potential for good, I kept looking around me at all the bad and looking at all my past mistakes. Of course, I would constantly fall into a ditch and find no way of getting out.

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Challenge: In yesterday’s blog, I gave some examples of gratitude affirmations. Now it is your turn to start writing gratitude affirmations. We do this because sometimes we may say there is nothing to be grateful for but, when you start looking for the positive, all of a sudden you don’t see as many negatives.

It is not easy at first but, as you practice, seeing the positive becomes easier. As it becomes easier to see the positive, you begin to just automatically feel gratitude for the good things coming your way. Sometimes, we are blinded by the negative and depression that comes with the lack of gratitude.

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