Uplift your spirit and your life with this psychological gyan from Deipshikha Dhankar. Thank you Deipshikha Dhankar for enlightening us...
Tell us when was the last time you complained about something? Was it easy? And when was the last time you were grateful for something? Was it difficult? If you are like most who haven’t yet wrapped up the idea of how saying ‘thank you’ can change your life, then you are most welcome - thank you for being honest!
For many people, the concept of gratitude is far-fetched because well, we do have one dedicated day towards it – Thanksgiving, right? So, how are we going to be grateful every day? On the other hand, while we may not have a day dedicated to outrage, such as ‘Outrage Day’ or something, we find ourselves losing our minds at every small thing. Why is that?
Traffic lights, annoying neighbour, demanding boss, and the list goes on – we don’t have a red light blinking telling us when to stop being angry. Part of the reason why we are so quick to get mad rather than being thankful for something or someone, is because we, as humans, have a negativity bias, according to Christian Thoroughgood of Villanova University. He says that even though we might have the same amount of good and bad experiences, the negative ones have a more potent effect on our emotions and behaviours as opposed to the positive ones.
“Being yelled at by your supervisor is likely to cause you to become much more angry and upset than a client reaching out to express their gratitude to you would make you feel happy”, he explains. He also found out that daily frustrations are five times more impactful than daily uplifts.
The very reason for this anomaly can be traced back to our evolution beyond when we were hunters. During that time, humans were alert enough to sniff a situation out of a mild change in the wind direction, not because there could be a danger but because what if there was? This kept them on the edge and in a constant imaginary battle with death.
Even though this is no longer the case today, our caution centre of the brain – amygdala, still works very hard to sift through information in case there is danger. And because all kinds of information still funnel through the same centre, we are constantly uneasy thinking - what if there is someone out there to get us – more than a predator or bad weather.
Therefore, it never occurs to us to be grateful because we are always pre-occupied with what has and might go wrong! Rings a bell?
Can we truly become grateful?
Yes, we can! We can use self-awareness as a powerful tool towards becoming more conscious and thereby, more grateful in daily life. Since we anticipate a lot, we can reflect and understand the things that also went right recently and can feel a surge of safety and peace within.
We wear cynicism as a badge of honour these days because well, how can we trust our family and friends and how can we not put walls all around us? No matter what depth of cynicism you might own, the simple fact that ‘what you do for 21 days becomes a habit’ still wins out. Here’s what you can do.
Try Gratitude Journalling
No, this is not about The Secret or Law of Attraction – we are still on cynicism. So, even if these things existed, you are not going to believe in them. Then, how do you pull this off? You focus on what you see right in front of you. Got a gift? Someone made you breakfast without asking? Got a ride to work? Someone lifted your heavy stuff in exchange for nothing but a thank you (see how that works?)? Write it ALL down! It’s as simple as that. All you must do is write everything down whatever were the positive aspects of your day – every day.
Don’t know how to do it?
There are no rules about how frequently you can write in the journal and how much you should write. You can start with two times a week, writing one sentence about at least three to five positive aspects, gradually increasing it to writing every day or night if you prefer. You only have to integrate fifteen minutes of your time – eliminate that from the time spent in brainless browsing on your phone. Win-win, right?
What about the law of diminishing marginal utility?
Yes, the law also applies to all things pleasurable. For example, the first shopping spree after you receive your salary brings that much more pleasure. But if you keep doing it, it can soon make you angry with yourself.
But don’t worry! With the gratitude journal, you can see yourself coursing through positive moments for days, months and years, which can make it a habit for you to constantly keep a look out for positive moments rather than delving into negativity.