A Gratitude Mindset Can Help You Reach Your Goals

A Gratitude Mindset: It’s so easy to get bogged down in the inner workings of our minds when we are striving to reach our goals. It’s also common to be so focused that we begin to believe we won’t be happy until we reach these goals. We get there only to realize it came at the expense of our daily lives and personal relationships.

We can improve upon this experience by embracing and expressing gratitude. It begins by slowing down, perhaps stopping for a bit to acknowledge your past and current achievements, and to be grateful for the process itself. Doing so puts things in perspective.  

Be grateful for having goals. Many people feel so broken that they can’t remember the dreams they once had for themselves. Life can become relegated to simply surviving minute by minute, day by day – a goal in and of itself. I’ve experienced this and I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone.

Not all goals are created equally. For the people I just mentioned, their goal of survival is way different than someone trying to earn their university degree. I am truly inspired by those who struggle yet manage to be so grateful and positive – I am grateful for their setting a good example.

A gratitude mindset will take the edge off your quest and keep things in perspective.  

Here are some things to consider when you embrace and express gratitude:

Gratitude Makes You Happier

Neurologists have discovered that feelings of gratitude actually change the way your brain works. Being consciously aware of all the wonderful things in your life leaves you feeling happier and more content.  Feeling this way actually helps you envision and be more open to the possibility of more good things to come. It encourages more goal-setting and a healthier pursuit of such goals – which leads to the next point: 

Gratitude Lowers Stress

A gratitude mindset can help you reach your goals because it keeps stress at bay. Yes, you want to reach your goals. You want to unlock the potential that’s inside you. But balancing this desire with gratitude for what you’ve already accomplished and what you already have is equally important. Focusing on what you have to be grateful for today lowers your stress level and helps you enjoy the journey towards other goals. Lowered stress also helps to clear your mind and aids in better decision making.

Gratitude Increases Optimism

Believing the grass is always greener on the other side will set you up for disappointment. It makes you feel like you may never get the life you want. When constantly pushing yourself forward, it’s easy to believe you aren’t (or haven’t been) good enough. Such pessimism just makes everything harder in life. It can even lead to depression, getting stuck in a rut, and giving up on your dreams altogether. Keeping a grateful mindset offers you a way to enjoy life now, to celebrate your achievements thus far, and to look forward to the future.

Gratitude Encourages Humility

The dangerous part of goal-setting and achievement is that it can lead to an overinflated ego and a feeling of superiority. A gratitude mindset can help you reach your goals while keeping your ego in check.

Obtaining a grateful spirit doesn’t take a lot of time or effort. All you have to do is be still and take time to acknowledge all that you have and all that you’ve accomplished so far. This makes a huge difference in your life.

I also encourage you to practice mindfulness and be grateful for the little and not so little things that happen to you throughout the day. These can actually serve as stepping stones for you to reach your goals and realize your dreams. ~Ted


A Gratitude Mindset: 7 Scientifically Proven Benefits ~parts adapted via PsychologyToday.com

1. Benefits of Gratitude: Gratitude opens the door to more relationships. Not only does saying “thank you” constitute good manners, but showing appreciation can help you win new friends, according to a 2014 study published in Emotion. The study found that thanking a new acquaintance makes them more likely to seek an ongoing relationship. So whether you thank a stranger for holding the door or send a thank-you note to that colleague who helped you with a project, acknowledging other people’s contributions can lead to new opportunities.

2. Benefits of Gratitude: Gratitude improves physical health. Grateful people experience fewer aches and pains and report feeling healthier than other people, according to a 2012 study published in Personality and Individual Differences

Not surprisingly, grateful people are also more likely to take care of their health. They exercise more often and are more likely to attend regular check-ups, which is likely to contribute to further longevity.

3. Benefits of Gratitude: Gratitude improves psychological health. Gratitude reduces a multitude of toxic emotions, from envy and resentment to frustration and regret. Robert Emmons, a leading gratitude researcher, has conducted multiple studies on the link between gratitude and well-being. His research confirms that gratitude effectively increases happiness and reduces depression.

4. Benefits of Gratitude: Gratitude enhances empathy and reduces aggression. Grateful people are more likely to behave in a prosocial manner, even when others behave less kindly, according to a 2012 study by the University of Kentucky. Study participants who ranked higher on gratitude scales were less likely to retaliate against others, even when given negative feedback. They experienced more sensitivity and empathy toward other people and a decreased desire to seek revenge.

5. Benefits of Gratitude: Grateful people sleep better. Writing in a gratitude journal improves sleep, according to a 2011 study published in Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being. Spend just 15 minutes jotting down a few grateful sentiments before bed, and you may sleep better and longer.

6. Benefits of Gratitude: Gratitude improves self-esteem. A 2014 study published in the Journal of Applied Sport Psychology found that gratitude increased athletes’ self-esteem, an essential component to optimal performance. Other studies have shown that gratitude reduces social comparisons. Rather than becoming resentful toward people who have more money or better jobs—a major factor in reduced self-esteem—grateful people are able to appreciate other people’s accomplishments.

7. Benefits of Gratitude: Gratitude increases mental strength. For years, research has shown gratitude not only reduces stress, but it may also play a major role in overcoming trauma. A 2006 study published in Behavior Research and Therapy found that Vietnam War veterans with higher levels of gratitude experienced lower rates of post-traumatic stress disorder. A 2003 study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that gratitude was a major contributor to resilience following the terrorist attacks on September 11. Recognizing all that you have to be thankful for —even during the worst times—fosters resilience.

We all have the ability and opportunity to cultivate gratitude. Rather than complain about the things you think you deserve, take a few moments to focus on all that you have. Developing an “attitude of gratitude” is one of the simplest ways to improve your satisfaction with life.

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