It’s as simple as gratitude. I’m sure you’re no stranger to the saying “you should be thankful for what you have”. Well, you’re going to hear it from me again. YOU SHOULD BE THANKFUL FOR WHAT YOU HAVE!
Let’s take a few seconds (okay, maybe more than 10 seconds) to do a quick gratitude exercise.
Read and Repeat:
• Regardless of what I am going through, I am grateful for life
• I am grateful for the little things in my life that bring me joy
• I may not be where I want to be, but I’m further along than where I used to be.
That felt good, didn’t it? Now think of other areas of your life and apply the same practice. It’s really THAT easy.
Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.
I started my daily practice of conscious gratitude last year (October 2016) and at the time had no idea what would manifest over the coming months. I’ve learned over the last year, through journaling and grateful living that life gives you the opportunity to do something with what life gives you.
I could list at least 30 more benefits that I have experienced since I started consciously practicing gratitude, but for the sake of brevity, Here are my top 3.
Gratitude increases your sense of appreciation.
Appreciate your personal journey. When things go wrong, take a moment to appreciate all of the things that are still going right. Better yet, think of all of the things that had to go right for this one thing to go wrong. You may not be where you want to be, but you’re also further along from where you used to be. When I had knee surgery last December, I had to make a conscious effort to appreciate the fact that I live in Canada and was fortunate enough to undergo a surgery and a rehabilitative process fully covered by the health care system … instead of sulking about the fact that I spent my Christmas stuck on my couch, in pain, Netflix’n and at the mercy of my prescribed pain killers. As difficult as this was to do, it certainly made my healing process much more bearable.
Gratitude makes you become more mindful.
The real gift of gratitude is that the more grateful you are, the more present you become. – Robert Holden
Mindfulness is one of the biggest challenges for me but in the same light, it was one of my healing sources when I went through a brief period of depression earlier this year. Since I now understand the power of I am, I will refrain from stating a previous belief and defining myself to be an anxious person. However, this is something that I struggle with. I am always thinking ahead and trying to calculate my plans and executions and sometimes lose sight of the fact that there is no greater moment than now.
By default, practicing gratitude will jolt you into the present moment. When I deliberately think about what I am grateful for, I experience greater attentiveness. I feel more alert, aware of my surroundings and take extra notice to the little victories I may occasionally overlook. Gratitude brings your attention to consciously acknowledge the experiences in the present moment and the things you are grateful for in that moment.
Take a moment today to be with, rather than resisting, the uncomfortable urges that arise in these moments.
Gratitude is the key to happiness
Many studies have shown depression to be inversely correlated to gratitude. Have you ever noticed that your happiest memories are those you feel most grateful to have had? Or how quickly you reduce feelings of envy or inadequacy when you channel your own accomplishments? Or even how much easier things seem to be when you’re trying to bounce back from stress? I promise, life gets much happier when you cultivate the habit of counting your blessings more than you do your problems.
Let me be the first to admit that the practice is easier said than done. There are good days and there are bad days. Days when you feel tired, overwhelmed, frustrated and straight up unwilling to do the work. You’ll quickly realize however, that those are the days that matter the most.
There’s no half-assin’ this by the way. Gratitude only works when you’re grateful for something real.
Do you practice gratitude? What are some benefits you’ve experienced from your practice?
Share in the comment section below.