I have long been interested in our perception’s ability to have an influence on the life we live. What we look for we find. What we focus on becomes real. It is the foundation behind the “Secret” the law of attraction. When we believe something we will seek that which validates our beliefs while ignoring the rest. It was with this in mind that I embarked on my 100 days of Gratitude Facebook status updates. I would update my status with things I am grateful for. It didn’t have to be everyday but close to it and it could be anything from the little things to the major things. Anything at all would qualify as long as I was thankful for it.
Gratitude is defined as: the quality of being grateful or thankful. It is the feeling that comes with realizing that things could be worse. People who are grateful exercise more, report fewer physical ailments, are better at setting and reaching goals, and overall have a greater sense of well being. Would you rather hang out with a person who is thankful or someone who bitches about everything? Simply put, the higher you level of gratitude the happier you are in life. The happier you are in life the more things you have to be grateful for. It’s a self-perpetuating energy. The energy of gratitude is like Flubber. Once it get’s going it just keeps on going and going!
Of course, it’s easier said then done. We are each a collection of our past. Our lives, today, are simply a result of the perception of our yesterdays and those will always have an effect on our lives. In order to work towards becoming more grateful you most must acknowledge that the way we perceive things can and does have an effect.
Trying to shift your perception to feel more grateful is often meet with the response that “If I had something to feel grateful about I be more grateful!” It’s the classic act vs. feel argument that people are constantly using as a justification for their misery. “If I felt grateful I would act grateful.” The belief that our actions our dictated by our feelings when in reality they are more closely tied together if not the other way around. Feelings are created by action and it’s action that we have direct control over. William James, a founder of modern psychology sums it up nicely
“Action seems to follow feeling, but really action and feeling go together; and by regulating the action, which is under the more direct control of the will, we can indirectly regulate the feeling, which is not.”
By controlling the action we can influence the feeling. By using our will we can begin to change the feelings and perception we have towards the world around and raise our level of happiness. With practice, patience and purpose we can change the way we perceive things and something as simple as gratitude days on Facebook can be a great launching pad. This is why I did 100 days of gratitude. Using my actions to create feelings. You don’t have to do 100, when I started I was going to do 30 but kept on going. Start with 30 and see how you do. I bet you’ll be surprised at the number of things you find you are grateful for and you’ll start to see the world in a different light. By using action you can influence feeling and from there – who knows what else your actions can do?