How To Be Grateful, Change Negative Beliefs, & Find Happiness

how to be grateful
how to be grateful
Photo from: Unsplash

Never before has it been easier to live in a negative state of mind. Not to go off on a whole rant about technology being the reasoning for this, but it has definitely contributed to bad news being far more accessible than it once was. 

Depression rates are peaking, anxiety rates are skyrocketing, and we are, generally speaking, unhappier than we have ever been.

Why you might ask? Because every ounce of negativity is now at the tips of our fingers. And instead of focusing on all that we are blessed with in life, we decide to focus on all that we lack. 

Being More Grateful For All You Have

I just finished reading the book A Simple Act of Gratitude: How Learning To Say Thank You Changed My Life by John Kralik. Now, this isn’t going to be a review or anything, but it has definitely given me a new perspective on what it means to be grateful and why it’s important to be grateful in the first place. 

There are times where I have questioned my life and why I am not as successful as I want to be. There are times where I have questioned why I don’t have more of the things that I desire. And there are times where I question the direction in which my life is going. 

I’m not afraid to admit the fact that I am far from perfect. As much as I love the life that I am living, I do have a tendency to look for more instead of appreciating what I already have.

As I was reading A Simple Act of Gratitude, I was presented with a quote that hit home, stopped me dead in my tracks, and have me thinking. 

“Until you learn to be grateful for the things you have, you will not receive the things you want.” – John Kralik

The truth is, I have a lot to be thankful for. My entire life has been and continues to be nothing but a blessing. The only problem is, I haven’t always taken the time to appreciate the constant blessings that fill my life because I have always desired more and more. 

What Does It Mean To Be Grateful?

Gratitude is an emotion of expressing appreciation for what you have in life. It is recognizing all of the good that already fills your life and being thankful for it. It is the readiness to show appreciation for the kindness that you have received with the desire to return that kindness.

Gratitude affects three areas of your life: your past, your present, and your future. Unless you take the time to show gratitude and learn to appreciate each and every one of these areas of your life, you are never going to be able to change your negative beliefs or find any amount of happiness in your life.

how to be grateful every day

How To Be Grateful For Your Past

Surely you won’t be able to go back in time and change the past, so why hold onto anything from it with resentment or regret? 

While we may not be able to go back and change the past, we all have the power and the ability to change our perception of the past. We are the sole creators of our thoughts, and it is up to us to find those thoughts in which to be thankful for. 

In a past that has been consumed by mental illness, I will be the first to say that I am thankful for all that I have experienced. This isn’t to say that I would want to relive those days by any means, but rather that I have accepted them for what they were, and am actually thankful for the lessons in which they taught me. 

I am a stronger person because of my past. Had I not have gone through all that I had, I don’t know if I would believe in myself as much as I do today. I know what it feels like to hit rock bottom, and because of this, I have established a level of confidence in myself that there truly isn’t anything that I can’t achieve. 

I have overcome some incredibly difficult days, weeks, and months. Collectively, these challenges required far more strength than any single obstacle that I will endure moving forward. And because I have overcome the difficulties of mental illnesses, that is how I know that there isn’t anything that I can’t achieve. 

And I’m not just saying this either. I truly believe this.

How To Be Grateful For Your Present

Take a moment, stop everything that you are doing, and focus on the world around you. Do you realize that you are living the greatest gift known to man? I know it may sound a bit cheesy, but you overcame far greater odds than that of winning the lottery. You are incredibly lucky simply by the opportunity of getting to be human.

Sure, life is going to present many obstacles and challenges along the way, but instead of viewing these obstacles and challenges as a negative, see them as an opportunity to grow from the person you are into the person you want to be. 

Being grateful for the opportunity to learn from experiences and to grow into the person you want to be is what’s going to help you to not only change your present, but it’s also going to help you change your future as well.

At every stage in your life, there is always something to be thankful for. Sometimes, you may have to look harder for that something than other times, but I assure you that it is there. From your family, your friends, your job, your home, to the strangers around you who make you smile, there is always something that you can be thankful for. You just need to be willing to look. 

Be grateful for the present, be grateful for all the opportunities that you have, and be grateful that you have the ability to influence your future.

How To Be Grateful For Your Future

Every morning when you wake up, you have the opportunity to paint your life’s story exactly how you want it to be. Once you accept your past, then you can appreciate the present. Once you appreciate the present, then you can influence your future. 

Finding things to be grateful for not only helps to increase your overall happiness, but I also believe that it helps to manifest the things that you desire.

One thing that I do every morning is I write out five daily affirmations. Not only that, but I also reflect on the day prior, and I find things in which I am thankful for.

The combination of gratitude and affirmations helps me to visualize my day and my life moving forward. Call me old school, but I also believe in visualization. If you want something in life, then you need to imagine yourself possessing that something. 

What do I mean by this? Close your eyes for a moment and picture something that you desire. Imagine yourself with that desire. It is this image in your mind that is going to motivate you when the going gets tough. You have successfully pictured yourself having your desire, now all that’s left to do is to go out and make it a reality. 

If you want to achieve a dream that you have, then you need to believe that you have the strength to achieve that dream. If you don’t believe in that strength, then you won’t ever achieve it. And honestly, it all starts with finding gratitude – gratitude that the past has helped shape you into the person you are, gratitude that you have the ability to pursue any dream of yours, and gratitude for life as a whole. The more things you find to be grateful for, the more happiness and success you will endure.

Final Thoughts

You have the ability to create the life that you are living

You have the ability to change your perception and how you view your past. Because of this, you have the ability to alter both your present and your future, but it all starts with finding gratitude for all that your life is already filled with. 

Everybody experiences many challenges and obstacles in their life, and while the difficulties that you are going through may seem overwhelming, know that there is always somebody out there who has it worse. This isn’t to say that your problems are irrelevant, but rather to put it in perspective that life could be worse. The fact that it’s not is something to truly be grateful for.

Through finding gratitude, not only will you be able to change your negative beliefs into positive beliefs, but you will also find more happiness in your life than you have ever experienced before. That much I promise you. 

So take the extra time out of your day today, find some things to be grateful for, and enjoy the fact that you are alive. The gift of life is the greatest gift of all!

Michael Bonnell

Yesterday’s post: How To Learn From Your Mistakes Instead Of Regretting Them

Note: If you want to listen to A Simple Act of Gratitude: How Learning To Say Thank You Changed My Life by John Kralik on Audible, here is a free 30-day trial for you to use. Audible Free Trial

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