Gratitude is easy when we are in love, or we receive a big check, or a special gift, or the baby is sleeping through the night. It’s all good and easy to give thanks when the food is on the table, we feel healthy and pain-free. However, it can be challenging to see the goodness when we are living in the shadows of life. But that is exactly when we need gratitude the most. That’s when we must go looking for it.
In the words of Melodie Beattie: “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity…. It turns problems into gifts, failures into success, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”
Below Find 5 Action Steps To Start Living in Gratitude:
1) The Mental Gratitude List. You can go over a mental list as you do the things that relax you, such as working in the garden, walking in the park, or whatever relaxation activities that you do. You’ll find that doing your mental gratitude list work is much more effective if you can do it while you are in a more relaxed state of mind. The key is to get into the habit of reminding yourself what was good about today so to help you create a better tomorrow.
2) The Written Out Gratitude List (AKA “Gratitude Journal”). This is the most basic and powerful practice in all of Positive Psychology. There has not been a single text on happiness published in the past decade that does not mention this exercise. Every day, write down 3 to 10 blessings from the past 24 hours. Think deeply about each area of your life that you are grateful for, and begin to write in detail the good things that come to your mind as you write. Make sure that you are finding and writing things that you are sincerely grateful for.
3) Offer a Prayer of Thanks. Robert Emmons, in his 2007 book, “Thanks!” says that 70% of people surveyed pray daily (all religions combined). Those who say ‘thank you’ more often than ‘please give me….’ experience higher life satisfaction.
4) Include others into your expression of gratitude. By focusing our gratitude on individuals that we are thankful for, we enhance the benefits of our gratitude. Give a detailed description of what this person did for you, and what impact they have created in your life.
5) Find Gratitude Within Every Problem. No matter how bad things might seem, the problems we face can be of tremendous value; our problems are there to help us make progress in life. However, if we resist these problems by blaming, complaining, making excuses, or feeling victims, then we are doing ourselves no favors. The most wholesome way to embrace all the problems we face is through gratitude. To do this, ask yourself:
- What are the true benefits of this problem?
- What can this problem help me learn?
- How will it allow me to grow as a person?
- What insights can I gather from this problem that can help me?
- How could it change me as a person?
- What value is there in all this?
- How will these benefits help me right here, right now?
- How could I benefit from working through this problem in the future?
- How does all this make me feel?
Our problems are only what we make them out to be. And it is only through an attitude of gratitude that we will successfully unmask the true value of what they have to offer.
Have faith that you will learn the lessons that must be learned; you will grow from the experience, and that progress will eventually be made.
“Everything that happens to us has a blessing built into it.” ~ Dr. Wayne Dyer
May Your Gratitude Practice Increase the Abundance and the Joy in Your Life.