The practice of gratitude as a tool for happiness has been a mainstream concept for years. Long-term studies support gratitude’s effectiveness, suggesting that a positive, appreciative attitude contributes to greater success in work, greater health, peak performance in sports and business, a higher sense of well-being, and a faster rate of recovery from surgery.
While we may acknowledge gratitude’s many benefits, it still can be difficult to sustain an attitude of gratitude. Our unconscious minds are trained to notice what is broken, undone or lacking in our lives. For gratitude to meet its full healing potential in our lives, it needs to become more than just a Thanksgiving word.
We have to learn a new way of looking at things, develop new habits of thinking.
That’s why practicing gratitude makes so much sense. When we practice giving thanks for all we have, instead of complaining about what we lack, it shifts our perspective and we give ourselves the chance to see all of life as an opportunity and a blessing.
Remember, gratitude isn’t a blindly optimistic approach in which the bad things in life are whitewashed or ignored. It’s more a matter of where we put our focus and attention. Pain and injustice exist in this world, but when we focus on the gifts of life, we gain a feeling of well-being. Gratitude balances us and gives us hope.
Moreover, the Law of Attraction delivers an exact vibrational match to what we focus our thoughts and feelings on. Notice the experiences in your life. Are they joyful and fulfilling? If not, you have attracted experiences and conditions by default, rather than choice. Shift your focus from what’s wrong, missing, or making you unhappy to giving thanks for all the gifts and blessings in your life. Give thanks for the difficult situations, because they are your greatest teachers.
There are many things to be grateful for. Here are some of mine: eyes that see, ears that hear, living close to fantastic hiking trails, fresh clean drinking water, friends who love me unconditionally, dark chocolate in all its yummy varieties, warm jackets and a heated home, indoor plumbing, the softness of my pillow under my head at night, the ability to learn and grow and redefine myself at will, flowers, vibrant health, butterflies, solitude, the beautiful blue of a clear Colorado sky, sunshine…and so much more.
What’s on your list?
“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” Oprah Winfrey
Some Ways to Practice Gratitude
- Keep a gratitude journal in which you list things for which you are thankful. You can make daily, weekly or monthly lists. Greater frequency may be better for creating a new habit, but just keeping that journal where you can see it will remind you to think in a grateful way.
- Feel gratitude. It’s easy to make lists and think of things you appreciate, but allow yourself to really feel appreciation. Doing so changes your vibrational frequency, magnetizing to you even more to be grateful for.
- Make a gratitude collage by drawing or pasting pictures of things / objects / people you’re grateful for.
- Practice gratitude around the dinner table or make it part of your bedtime routine.
- Wake up to thinking of at least 5 things that you are grateful for, and flood your entire body with gratitude. This “pre-paves” the day, creating opportunities for wonderful blessings to arrive.
- Challenge yourself to find hidden blessings in challenging situations. *This is one of my all-time favorites because it often shifts my perspective from feeling like a victim, to feeling like I’m mastering a Soul / Life Lesson!* And, it helps me see the gift that person or situation is in my soul’s evolution.
- When you feel like complaining, make a gratitude list instead. You will be amazed by how much better you feel.
- Notice how gratitude is impacting your life. What changes are occurring as a result of your shift in perspective?
As you practice, an inner shift begins to occur, and you may be delighted to discover how content and hopeful you are feeling. That sense of fulfillment is gratitude at work.
“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.” Eckhart Tolle
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