This article was provided by OneStaff Medical.
With Thanksgiving just two weeks away, tis the season of gratitude, self-reflection, and a little re-centering. The year begins to wrap up, and we start to look back at the ups, downs, and things we may need to adjust for the year to come. So, in this blog, we thought it was time to explore that topic of gratitude more. How can we all individually strive for it? More importantly, identifying our realm of contentment to truly live in a state of gratitude regardless of what we’re surrounded by. Let us explain…
For the most part, all of us can easily list out the typical things we are grateful for; a roof over our head, abundant food to eat, clean clothing to wear, a good-paying job that allows us those before mentioned items, and, of course, our health in the time of a pandemic, etc., etc. We can just as easily express why we are grateful for those items. Understanding that “why we are grateful” is what helps level set.
Feeling grateful when others have more
It’s easy to be grateful when looking at those that have less than us, but how do you keep that same “attitude of gratitude” when you see others with more. That, my friends, is the “attitude of gratitude” killer. For example, how quickly do you lose your feelings of gratefulness for having a roof over your head when you walk into someone else’s house that has all the additions and updates you wish you could do to yours; the remodeled kitchen or master bathroom? Or your neighbors put in a below-ground pool, and your kids ask, “why don’t we have a pool, mom/ dad?” Or when you find out a fellow traveler is making more money in a similar location than yours? Or even, more mildly, when your best friend, the foodie, posts pictures of the amazing meal they cooked up while you are eating semi-cold reheated leftovers? That feeling of gratitude is easily drained in many of those instances, are we right? Hence the idea of finding our own individual space of “contentment.”
Now let’s step back.
Contentment (the state of being satisfied) shouldn’t be viewed as not having bigger dreams or the lack of aspiring for greater things. Simply put, it should be viewed as what we need today, in the present, to feel we are thriving in our lives. The ability to pre-empt feelings of continued need, or wanting more, in being happy in the moment. In Buddhism, this concept is referred to as Taṇhā (referring to “thirst, desire, longing, greed” either physical or mental). This “craving” is the entire focus of the Buddhist Four Noble Truths, and addressing it, actually the 3rd & 4th Truths. They believe that accepting and overcoming these occasional “cravings” is a major factor in finding true happiness in this life and eventually enlightenment. After reading more about it, it’s easy to relate to how the constant need for bigger/better/more can easily distract us and steal our feelings of gratitude in our daily moments. So worth exploring and understanding.
Now, are we saying go out and become Buddhist and all of your problems will be solved, you’ll be full of gratitude? No. Not at all, but the wisdom and understanding of human nature definitely are helpful in finding our own happiness, and in turn, helping each of us keep that “attitude of gratitude.” With that said, a few helpful tips for finding your happy “attitude of gratitude” place…
5 ways to help you along your journey, and find that “attitude of gratitude:”
1. Be Present
Clear your mind and be in the room, easier said than done with the chaos of our present-day lives.
At everyone. Coworkers, strangers on the bus, the clerk at your local store. It’s contagious. Even on a bad day, it may turn your day around because of the vibe you are radiating and getting back. Or you just may make someone else’s day turn around by the simple gesture.
It’s literally a proven fact that when you serve others, it helps bring feelings of happiness and gratitude. Volunteer your time. Donate unused goods or find a local non-profit to help. We explored that subject in more detail on “National Acts of Kindness Day back in February here.
4. Show it
Show your appreciation for others, whether a written “thank you” note, a hug to a loved one, or telling a coworker you appreciate them. Doing so fosters an environment of appreciation and ensures your circle keeps paying it forward.
5. Remind Yourself
Have personal notes around your home or art in your workplace to help remind you to be grateful. Seems cheesy, but sometimes we need the reminder.
We’re all about the good vibes. This article (here) also has a few good pointers for us all. All said and done, the holidays get chaotic, but having loved ones to celebrate it with, and a good-paying job that offers the luxury of traveling the country are all the more reasons to be grateful.