Practicing Gratitude

June 22, 2011

Every new day of life is a gift! But how often do we acknowledge it as such?


It feels like focusing on "lacking" is the norm, people often long for what they don't have or complain about their current situation and very seldom think about the good things they have.

There is a quote that got me thinking about this: "The key to contentment is not having what you want but wanting what you have" which is NOT to say you won't get what you want, in time, but it presents a totally different approach to life, that of being happy with what you already have!

Taking things for granted often means we are not appreciative of what we have in the present, and therefore we don't enjoy it fully. Not seeing our daily blessings and thinking the grass is always greener elsewhere does not allow us to live in the present and find happiness in every moment.

One of the great practices that can bring this appreciation into our lives is GRATITUDE. By being grateful you appreciate what you have and by appreciating it you are more able to enjoy it.
According to Kathryn Britton (Master of Applied Positive Psychology) Cultivating Gratitude involves:

  • Acknowledging good things that happen – major and minor. Being mindful of present benefits; enhancing the ability to remember positive events.

  • Recognizing the sources of goodness that are outside of us - Much goodness happens to us independently of our own actions.

When you enter a state of sincere gratitude your energy is aligned with acceptance and harmony, and that energy in turn, will bring more things into your life to be grateful for, following the Law of Attraction.

We can all make a conscious effort to be grateful, here are some ideas of exercises to get started:

  • Take one minute a Day
    Take one minute a day to say THANKS for your day, or for any special thing that happened to you, small or big, or just by being in good health or having loved ones by your side! It could be a prayer, if that is part of your life, but it can just be a simple acknowledgment.

  • Writing down 10 things you are grateful for
    Every day before bed, take a few minutes to write in paper 10 things you are grateful for (if this seems to much, start with just 3 and increase the number each day). If you have a hard time finding things, just think about simple things like: the fact that you can see and walk!, that you have food and shelter, that you have good friends, etc.

  • Doing a guided Gratitude Meditation
    I highly recommend this practice daily. There is one particular meditation I love to do and you can download it here. Just find a quiet time and place in your day, put headphones on, get comfortable and just follow the instructions. It doesn't matter if you are not familiar with meditation, there is nothing you need to do but listen and relax, and it will not take more than a few minutes to do.

  • Writing a letter of appreciation
    Think of a person that has been supportive, helpful or a mentor for you and write a letter or a note to thank them (you can choose to share your writings with that person or not, that is up to you).

You can come up with your own ideas on how to cultivate gratitude in your life, but it is good to repeat the exercises that work for you over and over until gratitude becomes a habit, a state of mind, a way of seeing your life.

Being alive is a great adventure, be grateful for all the little things that come with it, every day!

Here are a couple more quotes that I love!:

"He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has." - Epictetus

"If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, "thank you," that would suffice." - Meister Eckhart

"The hardest arithmetic to master is that which enables us to count our blessings." -Eric Hoffer

Have a wonderful week and: THANK YOU for reading my newsletter!

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