The Choice Is Yours

Written By: Ibby Smith Stofer

The Choice Is Yours

Can we make one decision each day to change how happy and fulfilled we are? What words come to mind when you think about living life to its fullest?

Rich? My life would be better if only I had more money.

Powerful? With more control I would be happier.

Influential? If only others would see my point of view the world would be better.

Beautiful? If only I looked like “that” I would be content.

Most of us know that none of these are the key to finding happiness, fulfillment, or enjoyment. There has been research done by well-respected leaders and researchers that explain that happiness and fulfillment come from different avenues. Each day we can decide how we approach life with its challenges and blessings. Research illustrates the impact that leading a life filled with gratitude vs entitlement can have on each of us. Perhaps you or someone you know feels that the world owes them something, and they voice feelings of entitlement. In contrast, maybe you are lucky to be surrounded by people who are thankful. Which behavior or attitude do you prefer to associate with? You are not alone if you chose those who express gratitude.

Among the first words we teach children are please and thank you. A life of entitlement is opposite of one filled with gratitude. The following is a statment from Steven Furtick that can help shift our minds from entitlement to focusing on thankfulness. “Gratitude begins where my sense of entitlement ends.”

How does one strive towards a life full of gratitude? The first step is introspection. How do I approach my job, my family or friends? Do I appreciate them? Do I have unrealistic expectations of what I “should” have in relationships, work, or relaxation?

Instead of focusing on faults, disappointments and other negative feelings, think about what you appreciate.Changing your focus towards positive energy is a key step toward showing gratitude. Often, just internalizing these things will bring you a sense of relief and joy.

Making a habit of acknowledging three things that we are thankful for each day can replace the mindset of regretting and resenting. An attitude of gratitude begins with the transition of thoughts. Listing three things we are grateful for each day can, make you more patient, improve your relationships, ease depression, and help motivate us to take care of ourselves.

Studies from Northwestern University, The National Institute of Mental Health, documents the many benefits of living a life with an attitude of gratitude. They explain that gratitude enriches human life. It elevates, energizes, inspires, and transforms. It improves our relationships, our mental state, and often relieves stress and anxiety.

Our world is filled with stress and the constant pressure to do more, have more, and be more, in order to succeed. With a little effort we can train ourselves to truly appreciate all we have and enjoy the things that bring us happiness both small and large.

There are many other reasons to lead a life full of gratitude and abandon the beliefs of entitlement. Begin today by taking five minutes and write down 3 simple things that you are thankful for. Make the decision each day to change how happy and fulfilled you are.

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