Developing the Habit of Gratitude


I am from Tanzania, and we don’t have thanksgiving public holiday. But I like this tradition of having a special day designated to allow people to gather together in their homes, with their loved ones and friends, to celebrate together and share their gratitude, eating turkeys and pies and some more of other food, I think it’s a really nice tradition.

I like to give thanks and be grateful on regular basis. I have shared before that I am one of those people who keeps a gratitude journal to help me develop a habit of gratitude. And I have to tell you, there are specific benefits you get when you decided to be a grateful person, or develop this gratitude habitual.

  • Gratitude changes how you see things

When you develop this habit of gratitude, it really opens your mind to see things on the good and brighter side. You may look at your day and say, ‘my day was pretty horrible today, I am really upset, it was terrible,’ and then you end up to a conclusion that you had a really bad day, because there is this one particular thing that disappointed you that day.

But imagine if you decided to shift your focus, instead of complaining of how bad it was, and decided to give thanks and be grateful for other things that went well that day. Maybe that day didn’t go well let’s say at work, but there were one good thing happened to you. For instance, you got a free parking that day, or when you came home you found a check in your mailbox, or a package, or some kind of good news that you were really looking forward to hear. So, focusing on that good thing should be able to help you see that your day wasn’t really bad at all. It will change how you see things and your day.

When you develop a habit of gratitude, it helps you see things that you can’t see on the surface especially when you are crowded with so many problems and negativity. It’s so easy to forget how blessed we are when we are in a frustrated mode.

If you are like me who likes to write things down to help you remember things, get a gratitude journal, or a notebook, and put in a place where you can see it every day. Some people write down or say their gratitude every morning, some every evening just before going to bed, other throughout the day when they can; and they carry their gratitude journal wherever they go, or use their phones. There are a few gratitude apps we can download for free on our mobile phones that we can use also.

I think the world is a better place, and maybe not as better we would like to see it, but if we concentrate on what’s good, it will help us see that maybe things are not as worse as we actually think sometimes. Even when it comes to people and this may not be to all people, but there are kind people out there.

So one way you can develop this attitude of gratitude is each time or each day when you feel frustrated or have had a bad situation, write down one or two things you are grateful for in your life for that moment. It will get rid of that sudden negative energy, and help you focus on what’s good at the moment in your life.

  • Gratitude connects people, but also the dots

During Church services we usually have sessions that people can share their testimonies and give thanksgiving offerings. And it will be like a designated special Sunday that will take place every month to allow anyone who would like to give thanksgiving and share their testimonies, but also to give glory to God for what He has done for them.

So, the person’s testimony and gratitude moment can be like this; “For a while I was praying to God for a job promotion, but then a month or two ago, one of our colleagues got another job to work with another company, and this job position became vacant and I wasn’t really sure if I was qualified to get the job, or if they were going to hire somebody else for that job position. Two weeks ago this previous Sunday, the Pastor while he or she was preaching said someone is going to get a job promotion if only could ask for it. So I felt like the Pastor was talking about me, and I believed, and I went and talked to my boss. And last Friday, my boss said, the job promotion is yours if you are still interested. So, I got promoted. And I am so grateful because not only I got a job promotion, but my salary also has increased or doubled.” After that this person gives her offerings, and the rest of people in the Church joins her to celebrate and gives thanks to God and for her testimony and maybe praying also and sing songs of praise.

Now, you may think after sharing the testimony and be grateful for it things ended there, but not entirely so. Not only some people in the Church got motivated and inspired that day to continue to have faith and hope, but this person’s gratitude connected many people and things. For instance, it connected her to the Pastors and some members of the Church and attendees. But also because of her testimony and her gratitude that day, there was someone else in the Church who believed God for a job, who is qualified to get the job that this person used to have before she got this promotion. Therefore, God used this moment to connect these two people.

Do you see how this works? One person had to believe to get the promotion to leave this certain job, but because of her habit of gratitude she decided to give thanks and share her joy and testimony with other Church members, and by doing that another person gets to hear about it, apply for that job that this person left, and get the job she or he also was asking and believing God for.

During Thanksgiving Day for example; family members and friends are connected. They gather together to appreciate the goodness of the Lord and for what God has done for them. They celebrate their successes, they celebrate that they still have each other. They celebrate that they are still breathing; they are healthy, and et cetera.

So, gratitude connects people and opens doors of friendships. But also, gratitude connects the dots, and opens doors of opportunities.

These are just a couple of examples what a habit of gratitude can do for you. Being grateful is something that can benefit us all. It can help us to set ourselves in positive motions, help us see things in a positive perspective, connect us with others, and also open doors of opportunities for ourselves and others.

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