The Magic Pill
If I told you there was a magic pill that would improve your health, make you more attractive in the eyes of others, improve the depth of your relationships, enhance your career, and make you happier today, tomorrow, and the next day, would you be interested in learning more about it? Some of you are probably wondering if such a pill exits, and if it does, how much does it cost? Well something does exist that will do all that …. and it is free. Yes, free. Now it’s not a pill in the traditional sense, but to obtain all the benefits discussed above you do have to swallow some things. The magic pill is GRATITUDE. And, to obtain it you must swallow your ego, self-centeredness, and need for attention.
Do you want to learn more about the pill of gratitude?
There has been an abundance of research on gratitude from varying perspectives. First, the word gratitude comes from the Latin word gratia which means grace, graciousness, or gratefulness. And, gratitude as we know it encompasses all three of those definitions. In short, gratitude is thankful appreciation for what one receives. It is an acknowledgment of the good in our lives and recognition that the source of that goodness lies outside of ourselves.
Thus, expressing gratitude enables us to better connect to something larger than ourselves – people, nature, or God. Gratitude is strongly linked to higher levels of happiness, more positive emotions, improved ability to deal with adversity, appreciation of past pleasant experiences, and overall improved health.
Let’s take a look at the impact of gratitude on these five areas of life:
Expressing gratitude makes people more social, increases kindness in an individual, fosters healthier marriages, forge more friendships, and in general have deeper, more meaningful relationships.
It makes us nicer, more trusting, and more appreciative. Others become more attracted to us when we express gratitude. Wouldn’t you want to be around someone who shows these traits?
Expressing gratitude increases the number of good feelings we experience, helps to better relax, strengthens our resilience, makes us less envious, and helps develop and recall happier memories.
Interestingly, our memories are not fixed. They are plastic and can change. We may recall things worse than they actually were or even better than they may have been. Our perspective and attitude affects how we recall things. Expressing gratitude leads us to recall more positive memories and can rewire negative memories into neutral or positive memories. What we see and what we recall is shaped by our positive or negative attitudes and perspectives.
Expressing gratitude makes us less materialistic, makes less self-centered, heightens our optimism, enhances our spirituality, and improves our self-esteem.
Optimism makes us happier and that improves our health. Beware of materialism. Materialism is strongly linked to reduced well-being and increased rates of mental disorders. By its nature gratitude leads us to focus on others and less on ourselves.
Expressing gratitude enables us to be better managers, improve our networking ability, better achieve our goals, improves our decision-making, and improve our productivity.
Expressing gratitude in the work place as a manager can be a great motivational tool. It is a more positive way to motivate than offering criticism. Gratitude, self-esteem, and confidence all go hand in hand. And, those who possess those traits tend to more productive. Gratitude enables us to more easily help others (protégés), but it also makes us more attractive to receive help from others (mentors). All of this enlarges our social/work network.
Expressing gratitude improves our sleep, increases our longevity, prevents illness, increases our energy levels, and makes us more likely to exercise.
Think of what you are grateful at night rather than those things that worry you. This prepares your mind to relax and more easily fall asleep and stay asleep. Those who are grateful report higher levels of physical and mental vigor.
All of that and it is free.
Gratitude can be expressed for the past, the present, and even the future through hope and optimism. Being grateful is just the right way to be even if there were no benefits to it. But, now that you know the benefits of being grateful how do you become more grateful?
Being grateful is natural for some, but all of us can learn to cultivate more gratitude. Like most things, expressing gratitude becomes a habit, a habit that can be practiced until it becomes second nature.
Cultivating more gratitude can be done by doing the following:
- Keep a gratitude journal. Write down daily those things you are grateful for. Pay attention to the little things. The big things are obvious but they don’t occur daily.
- Say and write “thank you” notes. Think of how you feel when someone thanks you.
- Notice every day events that you may have taken for granted. Smell the roses as they occur.
- See the positive in every situation and the good in every person (setbacks can have positive benefits).
- Pay compliments daily. Be sure they are genuine.
- Make a point to learn something from every bad event/situation that happens to you.
- Go a predetermined length of time (week, month) promising not to complain, criticize, or gossip.
- When some calls you sound excited to hear from them even if it’s your spouse asking to pick something up on the way home.
- Find a cause important to you and your values and give of your time, talent, or money to it.
- Pray, meditate, live in the moment. Practice mindfulness.
No matter your situation, it can alway be worse for you. Be grateful it isn’t.
Live long, stay young. Be grateful!