Gratitude is not only the greatest of all virtues, it the parent of all the others. ” – Marcus Tullius Cicero
I remember that once my grandmother told me ” darling, you should be grateful for the small things that otherwise go unnoticed in life.” I was a small girl at that time, hence I applied it diligently – being grateful for the little things in life. In the process of growing up, with time I forgot the importance of my grandmother’s advice, but in 2010 I tried to remember it again when my life became full of suffering.
1 Change in Life
My significant other from America and I had not seen each since a year now, due to the fact that American Immigration Laws give no recognition to same-sex couples. Another reason that she and I were apart was our poor financial condition.
In July 2010, I lost my father and at that time I had hit rock bottom. Life surpassed me. My sadness overpowered me. Life became heavy and unbearable like a bitter storm washing away all my dreams, hopes, and aspirations.
I realized that I could not give up. The words of my grandmother resonated in my heart. I sent an email to my significant other telling that I want to make a list of things I am grateful for and I asked her to do the same. I encouraged her towards noticing the small things in life and letting the whole universe know about it.
Gradually, slowly and steadily we began to shift our focus away from the negativity in our lives, the pain of being apart from each other to the little positive things in our life. I became grateful for the peace I enjoyed in my house in New Zealand, for being able to have food every day, for nice weather.
2 Change in Nature
She became grateful for all the good things she was able to do and the help that she had received from others. She was grateful for her pizza to arrive on time and the sweet water that she could drink, even though she lived in upstate New York.
We saw a change in our life as months went by and a miraculous thing happened – we stopped feeling alone. Together through our gratitude list, we were able to surpass all our negative emotions and emerge stronger than ever.
Although there were many difficulties that persisted – bankruptcy, mortgage which meant not seeing each other for another year, slowly we were able to the value, hope that we had created for each other through our gratitude lists. Our long-distance love was warm. It seemed as if amidst the mud and muddy water we bloomed like Lotus flowers, brimming with happiness.
Gradually, in spite of financial problems, good fortune in the form of money started flowing in our lives. Slowly at first, but the amount kept increasing. We were able to pay off our mortgage and our home in America is finally safe now!
My significant other and I, like the billions of people on this planet, have spent the last few years of our lives amidst great suffering, but because of being loyal to our practice of being grateful and the bond that we formed because of that, we were able to go through all of them and emerge victorious in the end.
You can also start this practice in your life by following these points :
3 Utmost Commitment
This practice works with time and gains intensity which has to be developed day after day. You will find hundreds of reasons for not being able to do it, but in order to be happy, you have to push your limits.
That is what I did when I was alone and suffering in New Zealand. Waiting for your problems to go to is foolish. If you have to change your life, do it now!
It takes a lot of courage and determination to start and continue with this practice and I am sure that once you are able to commit to this practice, your life will change for the better.
What makes People Unhappy?
Granted, there are a number of circumstances and situations that are attributed to how unhappy a person may be with their life.
The following is a list of the 7 most destructive habits that unhappy people typically practice on a daily basis:
1. Attempting to achieve perfection
Your behavior and your life do not have to be perfect in order for you to be happy, yet this is an all too common misconception that many people share. You will wind up setting unattainable goals and your self-confidence will suffer for it.
2. Comparing your life and yourself to others
This is not only one of the most common of the bad habits listed here, it is quite possibly the most destructive. We tend to compare our assets, our relationships, and our social acceptance with others. As a result, you create many negative feelings and thoughts.
3. Focusing on life’s negative details
Dwelling on the negative aspects of your life and situation almost guarantees that you will be unhappy. Not only that but you drag down everyone around you in the process.
4. Getting stuck in your past or thinking too much about the future
Reliving conflicts, missed opportunities, and painful memories can take a toll on you emotionally and mentally. You can also create nightmarish scenarios by spending too much time in the future and imagining how your health could fail or that your relationship will fall apart.
5. Limiting your life by thinking that everyone and everything in the world revolves around you
Thinking that the world revolves around you causes you hold back out of the fear of rejection. It scares you to think what people may say or think about you.
6. Living in an world of negativity
What we listen to and watch, what we read, and who we socialize with can have a negative or positive impact on our emotions and our thoughts. If you constantly expose yourself to negativity and let yourself get dragged down by it, it’s going to be extremely difficult for you to ever be happy in your life.
7. Overcomplicating your life
Life is complicated enough so why would you want to make it worse? This causes us to create stress and unhappiness while making the world more complex than what it already is. However, developing the right habits can simplify things a make your life easier.
It’s important to note that happiness does not happen overnight. After all, it took years for you to grow unhappy and you can’t just erase that by flipping a switch or taking a magic pill. Just be sure that you set challenging yet realistic goals for yourself.
“It is not how much we have, but how much we enjoy, that makes happiness.” – Charles Spurgeon
The 10 Ingredients to Happiness
Everyone’s happiness is attributed to a variety of reasons. However, past research suggests that the following 10 elements contribute to an individual’s happiness and well-being:
Dwelling on our flaws makes it exceedingly difficult to achieve happiness in our lives.
Accepting ourselves and being kind to ourselves increase our enjoyment, resilience, and well-being.
Once you start noticing the world around you, you will begin to appreciate it that much more. If you’ve ever felt that there has to be more to life, you’d be safe in your assumptions. You just need to stop every now and then so you can take the time to appreciate what’s out there.
You have to have goals in order to feel good about the future. That takes direction and motivation. Our goals must be challenging yet realistically achievable. Attempting the impossible creates undue stress. However, choosing ambitious goals gives us direction.
Regularly experiencing positive emotions such as contentment, gratitude, inspiration, and pride helps us to develop our resources.
It helps us focus on the positive aspects in our lives (the glass is half full, not half empty).
Your mind is connected with your body. So when we are active it not only benefits our physical health, it makes us happier. Our moods improve and we can even lift ourselves out of depression as a result.
Interestingly enough, our activities do not have to involve complex exercises. There are simple things that we can do every day so that we are more active.
Caring about others and doing for others is vital to a person’s happiness. When we give to others or help them, it makes us happier and we become healthier in the process.
Giving helps us to create a better society. However, it also helps us to develop stronger connections with those around us.
People feel more in control, get more out of their efforts, and are typically happier when their lives have meaning and purpose. Plus, they experience less anxiety, depression, and stress in their lives.
Relating with others is quite possibly the greatest contributor to our happiness. Individuals who have broader, stronger relationships with others are happier and healthier. It also helps us to live longer.
We can increase our self-worth by developing close relationships with our family members and friends.
All of us have experienced failure, loss, stress, and trauma in our lives. However, it is the way we react and respond to these issues that can have a huge impact on our lives and well-being. In other words, it is the way that we bounce back when we get knocked down.
10. Trying out
There are a number of positive benefits to learning. You get exposed to new ideas which enables you to stay curious and learn new things.
We become more resilient and improve our self-confidence, eventually gaining a sense of accomplishment.