By: Melan Ku Marquez
Easier said than done, we often hear motivational speakers talk about GRATITUDE and religious people preached about being grateful every day but the word, GRATITUDE is bigger than the word itself. It is the main ingredient that propels change. That is change for the better.
Gratitude is derived from the Latin word “gratia” which means, grace, graciousness or gratefulness. It is a way for people to appreciate what they have instead of always reaching for something new in the hopes it will make them happier or thinking they can’t feel satisfied until every physical and material need is met. Gratitude helps people refocus on what they have instead of what they lack. And, although it may feel contrived at first, this mental state grows stronger with use and practice.
New Year calls for a new beginning, and what better way to start the new year is by introspection and an intentional setting of goals to live a happy life. This is the time to make a a list of what makes you happy, for happiness is relative. What makes me happy may be different with what makes you happy. Defining our own happiness is a one big step in crafting a fruitful new year.
By knowing what makes you happy consciously eliminates jealousy and gives you a clear direction on what you want now and how you see yourelf in the future.
Psychologists, Dr. Robert A. Emmons of the University of California, and Dr. Michael E. Mc Culloough of the University of Miami, have done much of the research on gratitude. In one study, they asked all participants to write a few sentences each week, focusing on particular topics.
One group wrote about things they were grateful for that had occurred during the week. A second group wrote about daily irritations or things that had displeased them, and the third group wrote about events that had affected them with no emphasis on them being positive or negative.
After 10 weeks, those who wrote about gratitude were more optimistic and felt better about their lives. Surprisingly, they also exercised more and had fewer visits to physicians than those who focused on sources of aggravation.
In my experience as a mom and entrepreneur, gratitude plays an important role in making an imprint on how we can achieve our targeted happiness.
Speaking in front of children and young adults in celebration of the The Children’s month at the Venus Park View Hotel gave me the opprtunity to expound on how one can practice being grateful regardless of age. It is a mindful practice that requires full consciousness. I asked the participants, “What do you do as soon as you wake up in the morning?”, some say, they check their phones while most would engaged in their regular routine of waking up, getting dressed, eating breakfast and off to work or school.
Is this wrong? of course not, but sometimes, when what we do, becomes a habit, we missed out on doing things that truly matters and that includes being grateful.
There are so many ways to cultivate greatitude on a regular basis. You can write, e-mail or text a “Thank You” note to someone expressing appreciation of how that person made an impact in your life; No time to write? Thank someone mentally; Keep a gratitude journal; Count your blessings; Pray and meditate to name a few. Find what’s best for you.
Keeping a gratutude journal worked best for me. For months, I’ve challenged myself to list down, in addition to prayer, every single thing that I am grateful for as soon as I wake up before I get off from bed. From a single act of kindness I experienced from my son to closing a deal with a client. It’s a simple tool that consciously taught me to appreciate everything in life making my day right with a happy disposition and a heart full of gratitude amidst trials and challenges. For why not, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness and individual well-being.