Accessing the Power of Gratitude
June 15, 2017 by Cathy Brown
“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
The practice of gratitude as a tool for happiness has been in the mainstream 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 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 trained to notice what is broken, 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 must learn a new way of looking at things, a new habit. And that can take some time. Practice creating an “Attitude of Gratitude”.
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, we give ourselves the chance to see all of life as an opportunity and a blessing.
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, but when we focus on the gifts of life, we gain a feeling of well-being. Gratitude balances us and gives us hope.
There are many things to be grateful for: Beautiful summer days, legs that work, friends who listen and really hear, chocolate, fresh eggs, warm jackets, our pets, the ability to read, roses, our health, butterflies. What’s on your list?
Here are some Ways to Practice Gratitude
- Keep a gratitude journal to 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, so it will remind you to think in a grateful way.
- Practice gratitude around the dinner table or make it part of your nighttime routine.
- Make a game of finding the hidden blessing in a challenging situation.
- When you feel like complaining, stop…and think of something you are grateful for. You may be amazed by how much better you feel.
- Notice how gratitude is impacting your life. Write about it, sing about it, express thanks for gratitude.
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.
“Nothing new can come into your life unless you are grateful for what you already have.” ~ Michael Bernard
I am cultivating an Attitude of Gratitude
Before going to bed each night, I write down 3 things I am grateful for that day
“Imagine how you would feel if you knew you could create life however you wanted.”
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