Thoughts on this post? Share them with me on Facebook, join the SPANily or Tweet me at @angieatkinson. ~Angie

Be thankful for what you have, you’ll end up having more. In you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never have enough.
~Oprah Winfrey

We’ve explored the concept of gratitude and how it relates to cultivating contentment in the past, so you probably already know that the ideas of gratitude, contentment, and happiness are all interconnected.

We all want to be happy – and if you ask me, this is especially true for narcissistic abuse survivors – we’ve been through hell and we deserve it!

And, of course, striving for happiness is part of the human condition. But it doesn’t always feel easy for survivors. And that’s why I think we need to dig into this a little bit deeper.

The Universal Law of Attraction states that “like attracts like.”  So, every time you feel grateful for something in your life, you put out that grateful energy into the universe. At least that’s the theory.

“Here’s the problem. Most people are thinking about what they don’t want, and they’re wondering why it shows up over and over again.” ~John Assaraf

So, if you knew that how grateful you are in life were to contribute to your overall happiness, wouldn’t you try to bring more graciousness into your everyday existence? I know I would – and I did. As a matter of fact, since making it a habit to be grateful for the good things, people and situations in my own life, I’ve found myself to be much more satisfied, even happy, from day to day. Let me show you what I mean.

Gratitude and Contentment
An attitude of gratitude is a powerful thing. It goes back to how your brain develops patterns of connections that work to develop certain habits. When you’re grateful and positive about life, this loop begins to repeat in your mind. Unfortunately, our brains are hardwired for the negative. Therefore, it takes a concerted effort to overcome natural instincts toward pessimism and complaint. Being grateful and acknowledging what you have helps to do just that and to build the contentment so many of us seek.

On Happiness
Happiness goes beyond contentment. It’s not simply being satisfied and expands to feeling fulfilled. One who is happy with their life possesses a range of emotions that transcends the various aspects of their existence. When you’re happy, you experience that state and emotion throughout your personal and professional life. You feel it even when every little thing isn’t perfect. It is a feeling of overall life satisfaction. Being happy has been shown to be beneficial to our overall wellbeing. Mental and physical health are improved through attaining this state, and even your immune system gets a boost when you’re happy.

Ways to Cultivate Gratitude
If gratitude leads to contentment, which then can result in the overarching state of happiness, it would seem crucial that we begin to understand ways to cultivate gratitude. There are lots of ways you can consciously work toward being more grateful for all the good you possess.

Personally, my favorite way is intentional gratitude: take a few minutes each morning to think of 10 things you’re grateful for (and 3 things you love about yourself – we’re survivors of toxic relationships and we need the boost!).

A few more suggestions:

  • One of the most proven and successful is to write in a gratitude journal each night before going to bed. List three to five things that you are thankful for. It’s best if you choose specific occurrences from your day, but it’s okay to repeat some general items from day to day.
  • Spending time with your loved ones and engaging in self-care are other good ways to bring about feelings of gratefulness. When you’re with those you love, you get a rush of the feel-good hormones that help you to see how fortunate you are in life.
  • Taking care of yourself by eating well, going for a walk or otherwise treating yourself once in a while can boost your mood of gratitude when you begin to get complacent in life.

Being grateful boosts happiness through regular bouts of contentment. You’ll begin to notice this impact when you start to practice being grateful. As with other skills, embracing gratitude takes time and repetition. Soon, you’ll begin to feel comfortable leaning into this newfound habit.

This video may also help you to change your vibe when you’re feeling miserable!

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