One thing I can control today is my attitude and perspective. I make it a point everyday to practice gratitude. Why? Because practicing gratitude makes me feel grounded, mentally and physically. It makes me happy, sharpens my attitude and my perception of life. It’s my time to talk to myself and think about what I am grateful for.
How do I practice gratitude? I tone into PERMA. PERMA is an acronym for a model of well-being put forth by a pioneer in the field of positive psychology, Martin Seligman.
According to Seligman, PERMA makes up five important building blocks of well-being and happiness:
1. Positive Emotions - One of the most effective ways to cultivate positive emotions is to keep a gratitude journal. Having a list of three things that you are grateful for on a daily basis can cultivate feelings of gratitude and compassion. This could be your health, friends and family, your pet, or simply your ability to be present in this very moment.
2. Engagement - How do you engage in what you are doing? Can you fully be present to experience your emotions? Those are some great questions to ask yourself to assess if you are appreciating and engaging in your surroundings. When you engage in positive rituals you create feelings of happiness, recognition, and a feeling of purpose.
3. Relationships - Relationships are one of those consistent courses of self-satisfaction. We are social animals who are hardwired to bond, connect, and depend on one another. Positive relationships with a spouse, family, friends, co-workers, and other peers are key elements to feel happiness. Strong relationships can create support and resilience throughout challenging times as well.
4. Meaning - Having goals and ambitions in life can allow you to achieve feelings of accomplishment and self-satisfaction, and it allows you to connect to something larger than yourself. Toning into your “why” will provide a sense of belonging and stability. When you tone into your meaning, it is easier to know where you belong. Take time to understand the impact of your work and why you choose your “why.” This will create genuine happiness.
5. Accomplishments - Think about your ambition, your pride, and realistic goals and achievements. Enjoy the adventure of getting where you're going, rather than the bumps on the road. In some ways, the most powerful accomplishments are the things that are just consistent with your personal values. It doesn’t necessarily mean starting a business or getting a degree. Don’t just wait for the accomplishment to be proud of yourself. Take pride through the journey to reach ultimate fulfillment and pride.
Being positive builds humanity. It builds relationships, friendships, opportunities, families, and we would not be here today without positivity. Our mind is instinctively on the lookout for reasons to be negative, so you will automatically have self-defeating, unhelpful thoughts and stories that pop into your head. All of that is out of your control. The only thing you can control is how you respond to these automatic thoughts. By practicing gratitude, we are productively training our brain to respond to negative thoughts by looking at the positives and being grateful for what we have.
Take this as an opportunity to learn about yourself and from past mistakes. I challenge you to be curious to find the cause of what you are struggling with and be open to work towards eliminating it. This is a lesson for all of us to make our lives more productive, more rich, more positive in our connection with our friends, our parents, our siblings, and most importantly with your connection with yourself.
I encourage each of you to be humble and recognize this as an opportunity for growth. This will make the world a better place and will fill your life with more meaning and purpose. With all the challenges that life throws at us, we have to look out for ourselves by looking within ourselves to build strength. You never know who you will impact along the way. When you start developing and projecting that positivity you can get yourself through whatever challenges you are facing.