I consider myself blessed because I had a tough childhood. I know, it might not be politically correct to champion my rough upbringing, but these days who knows what politically correct is anyway! After years of metaphorical bumps and bruises, my parents never beat me, I was able to find some peace of my own. I’ve continually refined that sense of peace and it included exercise, yoga, meditation, and mostly gratitude for simply being alive. About 25 years ago I turned my life around and quit using drugs and alcohol. That was the beginning of what I would call a new lease on life. From that day forward, I’ve been thankful to be alive, and it’s definitely made my life better.
So much of life is about our perception to the things that happen. When we immediately perceive life to be unfair, we begin to create unfair situations that prove us right. This gets a little psychological, but think about it for a moment. I bet you know someone who is addicted to drama. What do they always do? They seem to find themselves in these dramatic situations to enforce their addiction to drama. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. Gratitude will help you out of that.
Gratitude helps to increase your inner peace. I heard, years ago, that you cannot be fearful and grateful at the same time. I believe that to be true and now look for the gratitude in any situation, especially when I’m feeling fear. Gratitude is like the water on smoldering fire. It has helped me through many situations in life.
Gratitude helps improve your relationships. Human connection is a must for all of us. Some of us are completely unaware that we need that human connection while others are incredibly grateful for our friends and loved ones. This kind of gratitude allows us to put our differences aside and keep our loving, peaceful, compassionate ways. I truly believe if the world live from a more grateful place we wouldn’t have nearly as much tragedy.
Gratitude improves your physical health. According to studies, grateful people experience fewer aches and pains. They are also much more likely to take care of their health because when you’re grateful to be alive you want to be alive and enjoy life longer.
Here are 4 things I do everyday to instill gratitude in my life:
When I wake up, I choose to be grateful. I wake up, sit up on the sit of my bed, take a deep breath and thank god I am alive. Life is a miracle and the odds were against us to make it this far. I think it’s important that we all understand this and pay our respects to the awesomeness of life. The fact that trillions of cells have come together to form us is truly unbelievable. I take a moment every morning and bow to life itself.
Share my gratitude throughout the day. I make a point to tell at least 3 people I’m grateful for something they did or for just being there. I tell my wife on a regular basis that I’m grateful we’re together. Or that I’m grateful we found each other. I tell my staff I’m grateful for their hard work. I make sure to let them know I appreciate their efforts. I know it sounds simple, but saying thank you is one of the best things you can do. Do it in the grocery store, in the post office, in your coffee shop, wherever you can. Spread gratitude and watch your world change for the better!
Stay grateful for the simple things. So many of us take for granted what we should be thanking our lucky stars for. Our health, the weather, our family, the ability to breathe, the ability to move, to laugh, to love, and so much more. When times get tough, bring your attention to the simple things in life. It’s beautiful to stare into a flower in the breeze and give it the time it deserves. So many miraculous things had to happen in order for you to be standing in front of that flower. It’s important for me to recognize that on a daily basis.
I take a nightly gratitude inventory. I list things I’m grateful for every evening before I shut my eyes. I make sure I list 3 things, but sometimes the list is longer. The biggest thing for me here is once I get to bed, even if I’ve had a tough day, or an argument, or something not go as I’d like it to, I am able to change my perspective and find the positive. I’m able to find gratitude for having the experience even if I can’t quite see the lesson yet. That has been incredibly freeing for me in many ways.
Obviously, I’m a fan of gratitude. It’s easy to add it to your life and the benefits are overwhelming. Make sure you take time throughout your day and get grateful. You’ll be much happier when you do. Of course, I’m always here to help. Send me a message anytime @teddymcdonald.
Originally published on the author’s website.