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There is incredible power in being grateful. Cultivating a practice of gratitude is easy when things are going well. Being grateful becomes more difficult when we’re faced with adversity. Yet, it’s during the times when we’re really struggling that an attitude of gratitude can make all the difference.
I’ve always been aware of my blessings. I’ve tried for years to be mindful of all that I have to be thankful for in my life. In the big picture, I have nothing to complain about and should be overcome with gratitude 24/7.
But, sometimes I lose sight of the blessings and prefer to wallow in the mental junk. When the universe seems to be dumping in my direction…’poor me’ seems like a fitting mode.
However, when I alter my thinking and remember all that I have to be thankful for...things shift. I’m reminded that gratitude feels good. It is energizing.
Being grateful usually brings about more to be grateful for. Don’t you just love the Law of Attraction?
So simple. So amazing!
Here are some of my favorite, simple ways to practice gratitude…
1. As one foot hits the floor in the morning, I say to myself ‘Thank’. When the other foot hits the floor and I say, ‘You’. Sometimes I continued this silent mantra all the way to the bathroom. I believe I first heard of this method when listening to the late, great Dr. Wayne Dyer. It stuck with me. This silly action literally starts my day on the right foot.
2. I keep a Gratitude Journal. I’ve gone in and out of this habit over the years. I always feel better when I’m actively jotting down three things each evening for which I’m grateful. I find it comforting to read back over past entries and recall all that is good in my life. Often it’s truly the smallest things...a bit of blue sky after much rain, a delicious dinner made by Matthew, a quick laugh with one of my kids, that show me the magic strength of a moment filled with gratitude. And...making a note of the good stuff seems to attract more good stuff!
3. During the day, if I’m feeling overwhelmed and things seem to be falling apart in some area of my life...I immediately stop and give thanks for something. It can be anything. It’s an instant reality check for me. I’m quickly reminded that I have blessings and the immediate stress I’m feeling becomes a tiny bit more manageable.
4. I check in with the outdoors. There’s something incredible about feeling the magnitude of the universe. It’s powerful to experience planet Earth and to ponder the vast space beyond. I find this much easier now that I live in Colorado. I’m often moved to tears by the majesty and awe of my surroundings. I’m forever grateful for nature’s gifts.
I know there are other ways that I could be cultivating an attitude of gratitude in my life.
I'm going to start with these two ways...
First, choose one day a week and make a conscious effort to eliminate all complaining. I’m embarrassed to say that this will be difficult for me. I’ve made a nasty habit out of complaining about the little stuff… a headache, not sleeping well, a dirty kitchen, a stiff neck. While these things are bothersome, they don’t really require running commentary from me. Sharing how crummy I’m feeling isn’t really helping me or anyone around me. Here’s to cutting out the complaints!
Second, I plan to begin giving abundant thanks to my body and my mind. Aging is not for sissies. It is for the fortunate. I will practice gratitude for the strength of my body and mind as I move through this decade. Reminding myself that I might miss my current mind and body when I hit sixty:-)
How do you practice gratitude?
What are you most grateful for?
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