The practice of gratitude as a tool for happiness has for many been popular for years and is becoming widely accepted by increasing numbers of people who have witnessed firsthand the beneficial changes the act of being grateful has brought into their lives. Indeed, 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 even a faster rate of recovery from surgery.
But while we may acknowledge gratitude’s many benefits, it still can be difficult to sustain. So many of us are programmed to notice what is broken, undone or lacking in our lives. In order for gratitude to meet its full healing potential it needs to become more than just a word we pay lip service to. We have to learn a new way of looking at things and begin to think differently in order to create the shift needed in our mindset to facilitate the long-lasting and sustainable change it takes to establish it not only as a new habit but a way of life and that can take time.
That’s why actively practicing gratitude makes so much sense. When we practice giving thanks for all we have, instead of complaining about what we lack, we give ourselves the chance to see all of life, everything; the good, the bad & the indifferent as both the opportunities & blessings that they truly are.
However, it’s important to remember that 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 without a shadow of a doubt but when we learn to focus on the gifts of life, we gain an often previously unfelt sense of well-being because gratitude in and of itself helps to restore balance and gives us hope.
What’s on your list?
For me true wealth lies in life’s intangibles and on a daily basis if we choose to see them there are many things to be grateful for: the beauty of a sunrise or sunset, colorful autumn leaves, legs that work, friends who listen and really hear, waves crashing on the shoreline, chocolate, fresh eggs, warm jackets, tomatoes, the ability to read, the unbridled laughter of children, our health, butterflies………………
5 Ways to Start You On the Road to Practicing Gratitude
- Keep a gratitude journal and establish a routine where you spend just 5 minutes of every single day (for me bedtime is the ideal time) and write down as many things you can for which you are grateful AND why. It doesn’t matter what or why. It doesn’t have to be anything other than something – anything – which has/does cause you to feel grateful in some way…there are no limits & trust me when I say that in ‘giving voice’ to your gratitude in this way you will very quickly come to realize just how much you truly have to be grateful for
- Make a gratitude collage; paste, copy, stick, draw again it doesn’t matter how you do it, just that you give it a try. How amazing would it be whenever you feel sad, upset or miserable say to be able to glance at a visual reminder of all that you have to be grateful for. Think about it you glance over & in one spot you instantly see images of your kids, better half, a sunrise, next/last year’s holiday destination maybe even a picture of yourself before & after a life altering experience (losing 100lb in weight for example) ANYTHING for which you’re grateful. How would that make you feel, how powerful would that be in lifting your mood?
- Practice gratitude ACTIVELY at every opportunity. When we make a conscious effort to be thankful by showing others that we appreciate them on a daily basis the world around us responds in kind. The most obvious example of this would simply be the act of showing your appreciation by actually saying thank you be that verbally, by text, a nice card or even sending a small gift as a token for something that others have done and not even necessarily for you.
- Instigate a gratitude challenge. When you or those around you start complaining about something challenge yourself or them to find the hidden positive, blessing if you will no matter the situation. It’s not always easy but it is possible, remember it’s a simple law of physics that for every negative there is an equal and opposite reaction. Given time and practice you’ll be amazed at how better you start to feel.
- Take time and be mindful of how being grateful impacts positively on your life. Notice how your attitude and that of those around you change for the better. Concentrate on living fully in the present and notice how deeply grateful you are becoming for even the most mundane of things which have previously gone unnoticed and then celebrate the new improved reality which will begin to unfold around you.
When we make a conscious choice, because like everything it is a choice, to make practicing gratitude a way of living an inner shift begins to occur and you may be delighted to discover how content, realigned, more focused & fulfilled you begin to feel and which has the most profound of effects in every area of our lives be that home, personal, relationships & careers and that sense of fulfillment my friends is:
GRATITUDE AT WORK!
To find out more about making long-lasting, sustainable positive changes in your life I invite you to take the first step & connect with me to claim your FREE Strategic Discovery Call
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