Unsung Hero

Unsung Hero

By: Alan Valdez

In a fast-paced and ever-growing world, people can overlook personal milestones and victories. If you acknowledge and thank yourself for these achievements, you will appreciate your sweat and hard labor. Gratitude has many benefits, and there are different ways to practice being grateful. There will be obstacles initially, but with practice and persistence, it is possible to develop a positive, productive habit. 

In a short time, you may be able to see fast results from working on gratitude. Gratitude benefits physical health. Mike Oppland from PositivePsychology states that people who show appreciation report fewer aches and pains and feel healthy overall. Grateful people are likely to visit the doctor more frequently than those who do not exhibit gratitude. Also, being grateful improves mental wellbeing and happiness, crucial components for great mental health. 

Practicing gratitude will boost self-confidence, helping your ability to network with people and grow. The PositivePsychology study also found that showing appreciation to new people you meet will make them more likely to seek a long-term relationship with you. 

Gratitude is hard to cultivate, and humans have the need to be in control of their destiny. We are quick to feel the need for change or constantly reaching for the adrenaline of success. The act of expressing self-gratitude turns negative into positive and increases productivity. With self-gratitude, you can be a work in progress and always be willing to learn. Everything will fall into place. You are free to create now that you are aligned with the positive.  Reminders for gratitude are essential and come in different forms. Go outside and pick a rock that catches your attention; this rock is now your gratitude rock. You are not limited to just a stone. It can be another small object you can carry somewhere visible or in your pocket. When you interact with the rock or item, remember five things for which you are grateful.

 A common method of expressing gratitude is writing in a notebook. Take the time to write down daily events. Writing down and reading over reasons you are grateful helps you have a more positive outlook. It could be helpful, to begin with, prompts. Try these examples:

  1. I’m grateful for these things in my home

  2. I’m grateful for these friends

  3. I’m grateful for these family members

  4. I’m grateful for these reasons

  5. Etc.

With many thoughts running through your head, many get pushed to the back of your mind. This exercise can shine a light on details your busy brain might not see.

Another way to work on gratitude can be meditation. Meditation isn’t easy. However, it can produce significant benefits and bring greater joy with practice. This exercise is different from the most common forms of meditation, where you focus on breathing. Instead, gratitude meditation is about visualizing what you are grateful for with your eyes closed. For example, you could begin with reasons like, “I am grateful for the ability to feel, touch, and smell.” 

It is easy to show gratitude to others, but it can be challenging to show self-gratitude. People may not think self-gratitude has importance. Lack of gratitude and patience will bring down your energy as well as your ability to take on tasks and set goals for yourself. After long days and hard work, you may feel like you have entered a loop. I often find myself in this situation, and I remind myself to reflect on my past and show gratitude to all victories, small or large. Once, I was at a job where I firmly believed I could grow and live decently. After almost two years of empty promises, I began to look for work, I was lucky to find two new jobs, and I started my new practice as a writer, which was my goal for many years. In January of the following year, I searched the job boards again and started looking for new hobbies to take on. I hit a wall. Suddenly, I felt sluggish and unmotivated. I took the time to practice some journaling. After writing down my goals and reasons, I am grateful many times over. I had data and patterns to compare. I knew what mattered to me and felt at ease, knowing I’m steadily heading in the right direction.

Humans live to be alive. Having ambition and goals is good, and it can come with great rewards and a wholesome journey. However, people’s vision can grow narrow with every trial. The reason you started could be a distraction, a laugh, or a smile. Your focus has brought frustration and fatigue. Gratitude can be the change you need with practice and persistence, and finding ways to show gratitude. There will be a change with positive benefits. You will have set reminders, and sooner rather than later, it will be second nature.


13 Most Popular Gratitude Exercises & Activities [2019 Update] (positivepsychology.com)

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