I’ve been talking about mental health and all other things related to mental health for a little while now and I’ve written a couple of blogposts about it. It’s just a topic I love writing about. Today I’m talking about gratitude.
I’ll start with my own gratitude: when, how and why I started to be grateful in life. I mentioned in this blogpost that the Bali journey completely changed my mindset. It wasn’t until recent I realized what an impact the journey had on me. And I’m pretty sure one of the reasons is the local community on the beautiful island.
I love meeting the local community in every country, ‘cause they are the heart and soul of the country. The local community on Bali completely stole my heart, and it hurts me even more to see them struggling to live a good life: especially now after the earthquake in Lombok. I’ve said this on Twitter, but I want to say it again, my heart and prayers are with all the victims and the people that got affected during this earthquake. The local community on Bali is one of the nicest communities I have ever met. They are so open towards the tourists and I feel like they’re always positive and loving their life.
My Bali journey took about three weeks and the journey opened my eyes. During the many taxi rides and tour guides, and hearing all of their stories, I became so grateful about my own life. But, I was inspired by them as well. You know, I haven’t always been a bubbly and happy person (must admit, I’m still not a happy and bubbly person every day) but their mindset was SO inspiring to me. Even though they don’t always have much, they live life to the fullest and it inspired me to do the same. I used to be quite negative, not in a bad way (or is it ever positive?) but I used to be very stressed, full of anxiety and basically just not loving life. And that changed. There was so much more in life than I made of it. I got extremely grateful to be living in such a well build house, with a loving family (their love for family was so inspiring as well), and being able to travel. Many of the locals I’ve talked to told me that they’ve never left the island of Bali. When they told me how much they’d like to travel and visit Europe, I started feeling so grateful to have travelled so far away from home to visit the beautiful island. I’m not saying that I wasn’t grateful before, but I just wasn’t aware of how grateful I almost should have been during my life.
Furthermore, I’m grateful about my health. To be honest, my health is not the best and it’ll probably never get good but it’s okay. I’m able to study, going on adventures and travel, and do the things I love. I can run, cycle, swim, surf, hike and all that stuff which I’m extremely, extremely grateful about. I might talk about my health situation in the (far) future but yes, I am grateful about my health. I’m also grateful to be able to get a good education.
I think gratitude changes your life and makes you see things in a different light. However, being grateful isn’t always easy. I’ll take myself as an example, and you might feel the same way or you may feel totally different. I used to get consumed by negativity around me. I’m a person that’s very sensitive, if someone around me is negative: I will feel negative as well. When you’re feeling negative or down, it’s hard to be grateful and look at the bright side of things and to the bright side of life. If you’re like me, I have a few tips.
Surround yourself with positive influences
I try to limit the negativity around me: if I meet someone that’s making me feel negative, stressed or just bad about things: I don’t want to hang out with them. I don’t want this to sound mean or weird, but I firmly believe it’s important to surround yourself with positive influences and just generally happy people. We all have bad days, we all have negative thoughts sometimes, but I try to turn these negative thoughts around and be 80% of the time a very positive person.
Write down the things you’re grateful about
Like I said, I sometimes get consumed by negative things or I start comparing my life to the life of others. While comparing my life, there are always things I don’t have and the other persons life somehow always looks brighter but you never know what a person is going through on the inside. I made lists about the things I’m grateful about and I am currently writing these things down every evening. It makes me happy to write down the moments where I’m grateful about, simple things or bigger things: it doesn’t matter. One bad thing during my day could consume the five positive things during the same day and that changed. I remember the positive things more than the negative things now. Letting go is what I’m working on.
While writing the things you’re grateful about or when you’re comparing yourself to others, you may start thinking about what you want in life. The comparison to others isn’t good, but it’s not always bad. I do get inspired by others and they sometimes even motivate me to change my way of living to achieve that goal I may have. If you’re not happy about your life: start thinking about why you’re not happy and how you can change it. Instead of being down and negative about life: start living and try to turn your life around to a point where you’re actually more happy. This is a long process though, but worth it at the very end.
To summarize it: I used to not be grateful because I always looked at the negative things of life and at the things I didn’t have. I’ve changed this and started to look at the things I do have in my life and the positive moments in my life. And yes, there are still some things in my life that aren’t making me happy but I’m working hard to change these things! I have two quotes to share with you, I couldn’t pick one.
“Learn to be thankful for what you already have, while you pursue all that you want.” Jim Rohn.
“Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for.” Zig Ziglar.