As I read the newspaper and forums daily, it seems that the majority of comments and news I read about is negative. People tend to spend more of their time complaining about how bad things are and focusing on what they don’t have rather than focusing on their blessings.
What many of these people do not realize is that they are actually sabotaging their happiness, health and future success. There is a powerful universal law in life that says that we attract whatever we focus on. By complaining and focusing on everything that is wrong (e.g. lousy government, too many foreigners, not enough money etc..), these people are actually attracting more poverty, ill health and unhappiness into their life.
When you don’t feel grateful for what you have, you are sending a message to God that you don’t deserve to get more of what life has to offer. When you are in a negative emotional and physical state, you will not have the passion and physical energy to notice and pursue the abundance of opportunities around you.
If we want more success, more happiness and a greater level of heath, we have to adopt the attitude of gratitude. Learning to be sincerely grateful for what you have and putting yourself in a state of ‘thankfulness’ increases your psychological as well as physical well-being.
When you focus on the blessings that you have, you put yourself into an emotional state of happiness. Not only does this make you feel good, it initiates a healing effect on your physical body. The left pre-frontal cortex of your brain is activated and positive hormones like Serotonin are secreted into your body. Serotonin is a ‘happy hormone’ that further boosts your mood. This natural ‘drug’ improves your physical health by strengthening your immune system!
Psychologists Dr. Robert Emmons of the University of California, Davis and Dr. Michael McCullough of the University of Miami, have found during their ongoing Research Project on Gratitude and Thankfulness that people who keep weekly gratitude journals had lesser health problems, had a more optimistic outlook on life, and were more likely to reach their goals.
Gratitude Attracts Greater Abundance
“Nothing new can come into your life until you are grateful for what you have.”
Besides just making us feel good and positively improving our health, having an attitude of gratitude actually attracts greater success and abundance into our life. How does this work?
Every thought we have is a quantum of energy that vibrates at a particular frequency. Negative, pessimistic and unhappy thoughts vibrate at a much lower frequency as compared to positive, happy and optimistic thoughts.
Since all matter in the universe is actually made up of vibrating atoms at the quantum mechanical level, our thoughts actually attract and shape the kind of people, object and events we experience in our lives.
We tend to attract events and people that vibrate at the same frequency as our dominant thoughts. Simply put, if you constantly have positive, happy and grateful thoughts, you tend to attract even more happiness, abundance and positive circumstances into your life. You get more of what you focus on. This is a universal law of life. At the same time, if you always focus on lack and what you don’t have, you tend to attract more lack and more of what you do not want.
What Is There to Be Grateful For?
I once had a participant who attended my ‘Patterns of Excellence’ programme who was going through a really tough time in his life. He had recently been declared a bankrupt (he could not pay the debts from his failed business) and his marriage was in the final stages of divorce. He was potentially losing his kids and even his house. Nothing in his life seemed to be working. He felt as if the whole world was going against him.
“Gratitude is for people who already have a lot and want to achieve even more. What can I possibly be grateful for, with everything going downhill in my life?,” he said. At times, when we all go through rough patches, it may seem impossible to find something to be grateful for.
However, I believe that no matter how unfair or hopeless things may seem at times, there are many blessings that we can choose to focus on. Focusing on our blessings changes our energy from negative to positive and it is the first step we have to take if we want to turn the events in our life around. When we focus on what we have as compared to what we do not have, we draw the strength and the inspiration to turn our challenges into opportunities.
During the training, I got this man to start focusing on and writing down everything in his life that he was grateful for. While it certainly wasn’t easy, he gave it a shot and stretched himself to focus on his blessings. He began to realize how much he had to be happy about. He was in good health and had the knowledge, energy and experience to start all over again. He had a great network of friends who were there to support him and two children who loved him dearly. He began to realize that he had the chance to find someone new who would truly love him and stand by him should he go through tough times again.
He realized that he had the opportunity to learn from all the mistakes that he made with his former business partners and focus on starting a new business that he could own all by himself. Although he was temporarily broke, his reputation for honesty and connections would allow him to find investors for his new venture.
As he focused more on being grateful for he did have, you could see the excitement building up inside him again. His fear and depression faded away and the fire inside him was ignited once again. That is the power of gratitude!