January 23, 2012

An Attitude of Gratitude


TJ was driving us home from a game recently and I was motor mouth complaining about how tired I was. How I just wanted 15 minutes to catch up on personal emails, 15 minutes to write a blog post, 15 minutes to paint my nails, 15 minutes to take a bath, 15 minutes to take a nap, 15 minutes to just breathe.

And do you know what that boy did?

He totally put me in my place.

After half listening to me throw myself a pity party he flatly responded and said "And last year you were complaining that you couldn't work and that you were bored. You're never happy."


I admit that I've been challenged lately to find happiness. My mind has been forced and pulled in several different directions. I've been go-go-going for the past month, fought with an incredible tension headache last week - and while I do need those "15 minutes", what I need more is to appreciate and be thankful for the little things that don't require an allotted time slot.


My bestie came to the rescue again and sent me a fantastic article that her mother sent her. The article has completely changed my way of thinking and provided me with a much needed attitude adjustment. I'm going to share my favorite exerts from the article by Murry Page below, but I encourage you to read it in full.

"Studies have proven that if you are grateful for the things in your life, you will be significantly happier. Adults who feel grateful have more energy, more optimism, more social connections and more happiness than those who do not, according to studies conducted over the past decade. They are also less likely to be depressed, envious, greedy or alcoholics."

Now, I know that these findings are not rocket science, nor are they entirely surprising. It's common sense, really. But how many of us actually put into practice the act of having a grateful heart?

The article goes on to explain the findings of three studies where participants were asked to write down the things that they were grateful for that week. Here are the results:

  • Participants in the gratitude group were a full 25 percent happier and were more optimistic about the future than the participants in the other control groups. 
  • They had fewer symptoms of physical illness and health complaints than the other two groups.
  • The gratitude group exercised 1.5 hours more than the hassled group.
  • Participants in the gratitude group reported more hours of sleep each night, spending less time awake before falling asleep, and feeling more refreshed upon awakening.
  • The gratitude group also reported more satisfaction with their lives as a whole, felt more optimistic about the upcoming week, and felt considerably more connected with others than did participants in the other groups.
  • Spouses of the participants in the gratitude groups reported that the participants appeared to have higher subjective well-being than did the spouses of the participants in the other groups.

That last factoid really struck a cord with me. Gosh, is this Negative Nancy of a person that I have become lately the person that I want TJ to marry in July? Heck to the no. 

We laid in bed Friday night and I proposed the idea of ending our days by saying aloud the things that we each were grateful for that day. Saturday night and last night we had to do this new ritual via text message because he had an away game.

The results? 

I honestly feel happier. I feel healthier. I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders, and I feel that even though I am overwhelmed and at my crying/breaking point with exhaustion and overworking myself, I am better prepared inside to handle the stress that this week has in store for me. 


I know it's only been three nights of "change", but I'm telling you - this conscious practice of appreciation is life changing. 

"Happiness is a state of mind." - Unknown.

It is said that the more positive energy you send out into the world, the more you'll receive. The same goes for negativity. Will you join me in creating a daily habit of appreciating the good? I challenge you tonight before you fall asleep to say aloud or keep a journal of a short list of things that you are grateful for today. I promise you - when you begin to truly understand and appreciate the good, the bad doesn't feel so bad after all.



Images 12 . 3 . 4 . 5 . edited by KY
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9 comments

  1. When you can, read "The Secret" by Rhonda Byrne. Her book got me started on positive thinking. From there I moved on to "A New Earth" and then later Paulo Coelho. But what really helped me was a Meditation Center. For 2 days a week, I made it mandatory to go. It helped me change a lot of things in my life. It gave me more good health days than bad days...but the bad days always come. But when they do, it's all about how you perceive things. You can think the worst of the situation or you can think positive about it. I've always chosen the positive, because I want to have a good life. Even when crap happens to this body, I realize that this body is just sick and there's nothing I can do about it.

    You value how you live in the moments that you have. How you choose to live it is what makes your life...choose to be negative...or choose to be positive and happy with the life that you have.

    Life is also a lot of hard work, especially when you're trying to make a dream real. There are a lot of hours that go into making a dream come true. Read "The Outliers." It explains that Mozart and Bill Gates put in thousands of hours of practice before launching their careers. People assume it happened overnight. No, they just perfected their work over 10,000 hours.

    Focus on the things you want out of life. Only do those things. If it's a means to an end, start at one point, move on to the next to make the ultimate dream come true. Don't ever do anything that doesn't make your dream a reality. That's just wasted time. Do the things that matter. Time is never guaranteed to us, that's why it's best to make each second count for something.

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  2. Totally hits home on this one, and I'm constantly putting myself in my own place to remind me that I am lucky to be alive, so I should be grateful and happy. Thanks for sharing that article!

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  3. Thanks for your post. Positive thinking, being thankful, and being happy are all related. We at our counseling firm help clients to focus on the positive, however given the clients state of mind this can be difficult. With some counseling and coaching we are able to help a person understand their thoughts, and overtime change them to be more positive.

    Thanks for sharing, I hope your words can help others!

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  4. This is a great idea Kim - and I love the article! It's a good reminder for me too, because I sometimes am not as positive as I could or should be.

    But also realize that you're in a stressful place right now and that it's ok to be frustrated sometimes. Don't be too hard on yourself - you're doing great! :)

    xxx
    Jenna

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  5. This might be my favorite post so far. I'm so proud of your for actively trying to change 'where' you are right now. And I always love when you let everyone in a little ... ;)

    Ending every night on a positive note is such a positive and healthy thing for you both to do. We've been doing the same the past two days (since you first mentioned this), and I kid you not I feel better too. Every day might not be the best, but we can always find something good in it. Always.

    We have so much to be grateful for Kym. So much.

    Love you to the moon and back sistahfriend.

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  6. This is such a great post and something I can definitely put into practice myself. No matter how many good things happen in my life, I seem to always turn around and focus on what else could be good instead of what already is.

    I'm in the process of reading "Every Day a Friday" by Joel Osteen, which is a great read and definitely helps me put things in perspective as well.

    Thanks so much for this posting!

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  7. I think it's a great idea to take the time to focus on the positive things in life. It takes a weight off your shoulders, and it's the perfect way to end a day! I should start doing the same thing with my guy.

    Great post!

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  8. Don't you hate when your man says just the right thing to put you right back in your place.... ;) Mine tends to do that too. One of the reasons why I married him, but also one that drives me nuts sometimes. haha. That is a great idea though. Especially to do it together. Often times your significant other can point out something to be grateful for that you didn't even think of and vice versa.
    On another note... You know I love ya!!! Hope things are getting better and easier and you're a happier girl ASAP!

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  9. Loves it! (and the new blog design/name). Ya'll are too cute, and think this is a wonderful thing to start doing. He is lucky to have you, and it sounds like you are pretty lucky to have him as well :) Hope you are getting a few breathers here and there, my dear! We all need some of those every once in a while, no matter what!

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