It’s not what you think/Outside the box: Being grateful

Colours of Happiness 3

By Camdiluv ♥ from Concepción, CHILE (Colours) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Hello everyone and welcome back to changing your mind-set. In today’s episode we are going to be talking about something very important, and that is being grateful for what you have. That’s it, you should be grateful for what you have, do that and your mind-set will change. Tune in next time for more great ways to change your mind-set.

Okay, but in all seriousness, as cheesy and overused as it sounds, being grateful is important. When it comes to stress and being/getting stressed out and anxious, we often focus more on the bad things than the good. My computer has stopped working, my boss didn’t like my work, my teacher won’t stop scolding me, my boyfriend/girlfriend left me, I don’t have a job, it goes on and on and on, we focus so much on the bad stuff, we forget about any of the good stuff that we have right here and now.

Truth is, it’s not our fault. Our brains are wired to perceive danger, even if whatever is stressing us out isn’t really life threatening. Because to us it’s dangerous, we pay attention to it. And because of that we pit all of our focus on it and forget about everything else and only think about that one fact. The thing is, the human mind is a complex thing, and while our instincts will make us focus on what we see as dangerous, we can also tell ourselves to shift our focus onto something else, and that’s where being grateful comes in. It’s at times when we feel down that we really need to remember the good that has happened to us and be grateful for what we do have. The fact that we have parents who support us, the fact that we have friends who will help us, the fact that we have talents that no one else has, the fact that we have people who love us, these are just some of the things we should focus on when we are stressed out about life, even small things like, when I get home I can enjoy some chocolate cake, can make a world of difference. Of course this is easier said than done but it isn’t impossible.

It is a proven fact that shifting your focus and being grateful is a good way to beat stress and become an overall happier person. Do I have evidence to support this? No, you’re just going to have to take my word for it.

I’m just kidding, here’s the evidence:

  1. The Grateful Brain,” by Alex Korb Ph.D. from psychologytoday.com. This article starts off by talking about thanksgiving and then talks about four different studies which show that gratitude and giving thanks can help you become a happier person.
  2. Boost Your Health with a Dose of Gratitude,” by Elizabeth Heubeck from webmd.com. This one, like the previous article, also starts off by talking about thanksgiving and then goes on to talk about how gratitude is beneficial to us and how we can cultivate gratitude, which is basically ways to help you shift your focus and remember and think about the good stuff in your life.

Just like meditation, shifting your focus is something that requires practice. At first it will be tough and most likely every time you shift your focus your mind will bring your thoughts back to the stressor. But just like meditation you just have to keep wrenching your mind to something else. As you practice you’ll get better at it until one day it will be as easy as talking.

So the next time you feel stressed out and/or anxious, try being more grateful with what you have and try to think more about things that make you happy, after all life’s too short to waste on stress.

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