We all know that being grateful and appreciative is very beneficial, but have you ever thought of gratitude as one of the top life skills? Actually, it is more than that. Gratitude belongs in the category of advanced life skills because it can completely transform you life.
In the face of a sinking economy and mounting demands on your time, do you find it difficult to remain grateful and appreciative? When you feel stressed out and overwhelmed, can you still find reasons to be grateful?
Sometimes finding the good in a difficult situation can by pretty challenging. That’s where developing life skills like gratitude can recreate our reality. The benefits of learning to maintain genuine gratitude and appreciation in spite of what’s going on around us is well worth the effort.
This is where focus comes to the rescue. You can actually transform your life by training yourself to search for, discover, and focus on legitimate reasons to feel grateful and appreciative.
Learning the life skill of gratitude
We all have blessings in our life! No matter where we are, and regardless of what we might be going through, there are always things we can be grateful for. The challenge is to train ourselves to focus on gratitude, and to intuitively search for reasons to manifest appreciation.
This may, or may not be your natural tendency, but with practice, all of us can certainly develop a predominate attitude of gratitude backed up with true expressions of appreciation.
Do you know people like this?
Do you know someone who never has a bad word to say about anyone or anything? Someone who just naturally sees the silver lining, even around the darkest cloud? How do you feel when you are in the company of that person? Don’t you feel refreshed and positive?
What about the other end of the spectrum? Do you know someone who always needs to point out the negative aspect of every situation? How does that make you feel? Nobody feels empowered around someone like that, especially since negative attitudes can infect those who are exposed to them regularly.
Pick your friends and associates wisely
When trying to cultivate a greater sense of gratitude in your life, you should seek out those whose dominant tendency is positive and upbuilding. It’s also a good idea to avoid spending too much time with those who like to dwell on the negative. Choosing your associates wisely can really help us to cultivate a much greater degree of gratitude and appreciation.
Once we’ve taken steps to surround ourselves with a more positive group of people, what should we do next?
Train yourself to notice the good
Now, It’s time to develop a new habit. The habit of finding something to appreciate about every person, situation, or experience you encounter.
Admittedly, this can be difficult sometimes. You might try turning it into a game of sorts. Even if the situation you are in seems to be 99% negative, could you challenge yourself to locate that 1% that is worthy of your appreciation? Once found, could you focus on it?
I know several people who just love to pan for gold. Funny thing is, most of the time their gold pans are filled with rubble. This doesn’t seem to bother them, do you know why? It’s because that’s not where their focus is. They are so intent on finding something that sparkles that they don’t even notice the piles of worthless sand and gravel. There focus is on searching for that tiny, little, fragment of gold and their mind filters out everything else.
How do they react when they finally discover a little fleck of gold? They usually don’t say, “I had to work way too hard to find that little piece of gold.” Instead they get really excited, their focus intensifies, and their gratitude and appreciation skyrocket. Could you apply that same approach in the daily activities of your life?
Choose the direction of your focus
Seems that an overly sensationalized news media has managed to influence popular opinion toward fear and negativity. How much has your perception been influenced by this constant bombardment of negative news?
It can be very difficult to resist adopting a negative viewpoint when you are surrounded by it. To maintain a more grateful and appreciative perspective, we need to break away from the mentality of the masses and learn to think for ourselves. We need to make a conscious effort to filter the information we are exposed to. That means we need to find ways of limiting our exposure to negative input. We also need to be willing to take action to actively move away from sources that influence us in a negative way.
7 Ways to develop the life skill of gratitude
1) Don’t get pulled in to negative talk. When a conversation you’re in starts to go negative, don’t be afraid to be the one who changes the subject. If that doesn’t work be willing to excuse yourself.
2) Help others turn away from negativity. If someone you know persists in talking about negative things all the time, find a tactful way to tell them that you really don’t appreciate it. They may not even realize that they’re doing it, and you could be doing them a huge favor.
3) Show gratitude. Willingly express gratitude and appreciation for those around you. Tell them specifically what you appreciate and why. Then you can feel grateful that you were able to shine a little sunshine into their life.
4) See the big picture. When you find yourself in a difficult situation, look for the beneficial aspects created by that situation. Ask yourself: “What have I learned here that will benefit me in the future? When I look back on this experience a year from now, what will I be grateful for?”
5) Control your response. If someone criticizes you don’t get defensive. Respond by saying something like: “Thank you for bringing that to my attention, I’ll give it some careful consideration.” You can be grateful that you didn’t allow them to push your buttons, and who knows, maybe their point was valid and your life will be better for considering it.
6) Look for reasons to say thank you. When other people sense that you appreciate them it changes the dynamic of your relationship with them. Everyone loves to be appreciated. They’ll be more inclined to do nice things for you because you appreciate their efforts. In turn, you’ll have even more reasons to feel gratitude.
7) Have a gratitude review. Do this as soon as you wake up in the morning and before you go to sleep at night. Remember to count your blessings daily. Think of all the things you have to be grateful for in your life. If you start and end each day with gratitude your whole life will shift in a more positive direction. It only takes a minute or two to allow gratitude fill your heart and mind.
Why am I overflowing with gratitude?
Because of you, that’s why! You graciously use some of your valuable time to visit this blog and show your support. You leave wonderful comments that raise the level of conversation and provide deep insight. You unselfishly share your positive energy, experiences, encouragement, and feedback.
I want to use this opportunity to say THANK YOU for making Advanced Life Skills the success that it is today. Please believe me when I say that your being here is never taken for granted. I am truly grateful for each and every one of you!
What are you grateful for?