You’ve probably heard it all your life: be grateful for what you have. Be grateful for the work your parents put in for you. Stop complaining about everything. You have it way better than those kids in Africa.
But why should I be thankful for the things I have? Sure, I’m not starving, but I do have problems. I do have a ton of work to do. That’s not pleasant. When I fight with my girlfriend, that’s not pleasant. Neither is getting up at 7 in the morning or most everything for that matter. It’s all so stressful.
So, why bother? Why not keep things real?
Things to be Thankful For
Well, firstly, you’re never actually keeping things real. No human is capable of being fully objective. Throughout the day, you either focus mostly on the bad in everything or mostly on the good, based on your mood, habit, etc. You are mentally incapable of keeping things real all the time. People who say they can are actually pessimists who think otherwise.
Secondly, if you’re a pessimist, you’ve probably heard this before: there is a whole lot more good in the world than you think (far more than there is bad anyways).
You are alive. You have a computer in front of your face, so you have resources, food, money, a community, other people, choice, hands, a self-conscious brain and a million other things that are making your life possible, if not better. The bad stuff pales in comparison.
Finally, from a fully objective standpoint, it is in your best interest to be appreciative of things rather than complain about them. The more appreciative you are, the more positive you are, the happier you are, the more likely you are to spot opportunities and attract friends. If you are grateful for something, you take better care of it because you treasure it more.
The next time you ask yourself “Why should I give my thanks?” remember these facts. You can research them at length online.
Of course, you can’t just wish yourself to be grateful and appreciative. Complaining is a deeply ingrained habit. You need time and practice to replace it with another.
How to Stop Complaining
Complaining is a habit, and like all habits, it is maintained and reinforced by repetition. It doesn’t matter how it started, you just need to stop.
However, focusing on stopping won’t actually work. Trying to not think or do something is a surefire way to do it more often.
Instead, why not focus on the alternative? Instead of focusing on not thinking negative thoughts, focus on things to be thankful for. Find things to be grateful for daily, with every free minute and with intensity.
Daily Repetition of Gratefulness
Your personality is made up of habits, and your habits are created by continuous repetition, often times daily.
For example, within a day, if you complain 50 times and are grateful 1 time, within a couple of months, you’ll become a complainer. If you raise your gratefulness to 2, you won’t have as much time to complain. Raise it to 20, and you’ll feel unwilling to complain.
This is because complaining and gratefulness are opposites. You cannot hold both kinds of thoughts in your mind at the same time, at least not on an emotional level. Because of this, if you start your day being grateful about everything, you’ll tend to continue finding things to be grateful about for the rest of the day.
The ingrained complaining habit will be hurt, and you’ll be less likely to repeat it. Continue showing gratefulness with emotion for a couple months, and a habit of being thankful will be formed, replacing the habit of complaining in your subconscious.
Be Grateful with Emotion and Intensity
Just like reading a page mechanically for 50 times leads to no retention of the information on it, repeating grateful statements mechanically will have little to no effect on your brain.
Our brains remember only things with an emotional impact, only situations and thoughts which move us emotionally. So, whenever you practice gratefulness you must make sure you’re deeply engaged and actually feel grateful.
Try not to repeat the same words and lines every day, since repeated words lose their impact on your subconscious the more you say them. You must keep things original.
- On the first day, you can simply think of things to be thankful for. This may also work on the second day.
- However, on the third, you need to switch things up. Look around your house and actually touch the things you’re being grateful for. Pick each item up and think of how it makes your life easier.
- On day 5, go to a loved one and tell him/her how much they mean to you. Thank them for everything they’ve done to you. This is bound to be emotional, and therefore, memorable.
- On day 7, celebrate a week of being thankful by treating yourself to a meal at restaurant or a movie. Think of all the little things which make this movie possible, of the money which allows you to see it, of the peaceful society where you can afford to spend a day at the movies.
- On day 9, eat an extremely healthy meal, and think of how lucky you are to have such a healthy body. Appreciate it and treat it like the castle it is.
- On day 11, take a history lesson from the internet or someone in the know. Remember all the people and events which led to you having the life you’re blessed to have.
- On day 13, be grateful for the little things. There are so many little things which make your life special, be it your cat or your mom’s smile, the sunrise or the sunset. Appreciate them fully.
- On day 15, go on a walk through town and appreciate modern society. Be thankful for the vendors which bring you anything you want within walking distance. Thank the government for building your roads and providing you with health care. Thank your fellow man for providing you with services and things you cannot do or make yourself.
- On day 17, get creative and think of something to be grateful about on your own. Be creative and don’t stop until you come up with something that sticks, something you’ll remember for months to come.
If you practice being grateful in an emotionally powerful way daily, and change the way you show this gratefulness every 2 days, so it remains relevant, you will become a positive, grateful person in no time.
So, begin simply. Take 5 minutes to state all the things you’re grateful for. Afterwards, Google search things to be thankful for to get more ideas. Tomorrow, repeat the process. Be grateful, and with each passing day, you’ll become a more positive person. People will gravitate towards your vibe and the world will seem much more beautiful. It always was.