Through my recent life experiences, I’ve learned that whatever you focus on grows. If you focus on your problems, your problems grow. If you focus on something bad that happened during your day, then you feel upset and then those feelings grow. But we have the choice to steer our thinking in a different direction. Instead on focusing on the upsets or the failures, which is easy for us to fall into, we can get into the habit of focusing on what we are grateful for. If we put our attention on what we are grateful for, we feel happy and satisfied and those feelings grow.
Having an attitude of gratitude is easier said than done. Actually, it’s probably one of the hardest things to do. As moms, life can be SO stressful. We have to deal with all sorts of problems/challenges coming at us from every direction. We have little ones watching us and depending on us to fulfill their needs. We have jobs and roles to play, bills to pay, and tasks to get done and somehow, through it all, we have to find a way to keep our sanity.
One way to help us get through the struggles of motherhood is by adopting an attitude of gratitude. In this post, you’ll learn about the 4 ways gratitude can increase your happiness.
YOU SAVOUR PRECIOUS MOMENTS IN YOUR LIFE
Having an attitude of gratitude helps you to savour those precious moments in life. Lately, older ladies in my life have been reminding me that the stage I’m at is only temporary. Has anyone ever approached you in a mall when you were dealing with your crying toddler and said to you, “enjoy them now, while they are young. It goes by so fast” and then you just politely smile and think, how can I enjoy this? You care for a little child who depends on your for all their needs and it’s exhausting. But if you turn your gratitude attitude on (sorry for the cheesy-ness), you can appreciate those special moments even through the craziness of it all.
My youngest daughter is almost 17 months now and although it can be exhausting to watch her and take care of her, I do appreciate her cuteness, the way she dances when she watches her favourite show, The Wiggles. I love the way she plays peekaboo with me. I love how small and cuddly she is. I love it when I throw her into the air and she laughs. I love her cute little chubby hands. I love how soft and smooth her little feet are. Just thinking about all the little things that I love about her brings tears to my eyes and gets me choked up. When you think about what you are grateful for you realize how lucky you really are and it brings you joy and happiness.
YOU WILL FEEL BETTER ABOUT YOURSELF AND INCREASE YOUR SELF-ESTEEM
Having an attitude of gratitude can make you feel better about yourself and increase your self-esteem. For some reason, I have the tendency to think that I’m not good enough, that I don’t have what it takes. Sometimes my confidence is low and I can’t really figure out why. (Please someone tell me I’m not the only one! LOL!) But if you have that gratitude lens on and you think about what you love about yourself and focus on those aspects of yourself, you’ll have more self confidence and be happier with who you are. As Ruth Soukup (one of my favourite bloggers!) said in her most recent post, “you are enough”. She talked about how we cannot compare ourselves to each other because we are all unique and different.
If you focused on 5 things that you loved about yourself every morning when you woke up, how would you feel? I think I need to take my own advice! Positive self-talk does sound a bit cheesy but if you don’t talk nice to yourself, who will? It’s not like we have a coach in our corner at all times cheering us on and telling us how fantastic we are (although that would be nice! LOL!) If we focus on what we love about ourselves, it will definitely boost our self-esteem and our happiness. And if we feel good and full of energy and happiness, we can then in turn take better care of those around us so it benefits everyone!
YOU WILL BE ABLE TO COPE WITH STRESSFUL SITUATIONS
Focusing on what we are grateful for can help us get through really tough and stressful times, especially through loss and adversity. When my dad passed away suddenly back in 2009, I was devastated by the loss. For several months after his passing, I would burst into tears out of the blue just remembering what happened. It was a very unexpected death. He was young, and had so much more to do in his life. He was still working and enjoyed cycling and was generally in good health. One day he became ill. He thought he had a common flu but it was much more serious than that. In just a few days, he was taken away from us, just like that.
But to this day, I have lots to be grateful for. I’m grateful that I got married just the year before so that my dad was able to be there on our wedding day. I’m grateful that we had a videographer there that day to capture my dad’s speech. I’m grateful that I was able to be there when he was ill as we were living in different countries at the time. I’m grateful that he didn’t have to suffer very long. When I remember these things, I remember that there is lots to be thankful for.
YOU WILL BE LESS MATERIALISTIC
Lastly, having an attitude of gratitude can make you less materialistic. You appreciate what you have and become less fixated on acquiring more stuff. Just recently, I decided to clean up my closet. In the process, I rediscovered a bunch of stuff I already had. I found gold rings that were given to us. I found a necklace with blue sapphires on it. I found a bunch of portable gaming devices which my daughters could play with. I found a precious gold necklace with a cross pendant which my husband used to wear as a teenager. I ended up finding a bunch of cool stuff! Take a look at what you already have. You may have much more than you think. Buying stuff gives us a jolt of happiness which is temporary, but if we appreciate the things we already have, we will have less desire to go out and acquire more things.
As moms, it can sometimes be easier to notice the negatives more than the positives, like the messy house that needs to be tidied up, the pile of laundry that needs to be washed, or the crying toddler that needs to be consoled. But with a bit of practice in mind set shift (which is really hard to do!) you can have an attitude of gratitude and thus experience more joy and happiness!
To sum it up, I’ve listed 4 ways gratitude can increase your happiness:
- It allows you to savour those precious moments in life
- It allows you to feel better about yourself, increasing your self-esteem
- It helps you to cope with very stressful situations
- It helps you to be less materialistic
Way to practice gratitude:
- keep a gratitude journal– You can write down 3 to 5 things that you are grateful for either everyday or once a week, whatever you prefer.
- write a gratitude letter– This may be the post powerful gratitude exercise there is. Write a hand-written letter to someone you are grateful to have in your life.
- go for a gratitude walk– Walking is stress relieving. As you walk observe everything around you and take it all in. Be present and enjoy the moment. Is there anything around you that you are grateful for?
- make a gratitude collage– Take pictures of the people or things you are grateful for. Like the journal, you can do this once a week or everyday, and then you can put all the pictures together in a collage.
What will you focus on this week? Are you going to turn on your gratitude-attitude? Will you keep a gratitude journal or write a gratitude letter to a family member or friend? Focus on gratitude and see how it will boost your happiness!