Accessing the Power of Gratitude

 

“Accessing the Power of Gratitude”

 

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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 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, undone or lacking in our lives. And for gratitude to meet its full healing potential in our lives, it needs to become more than just a Thanksgiving word. We have to learn a new way of looking at things, a new habit. And that can take some time.
 
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… here are a few off the top of my head: colorful autumn leaves, legs that work, friends who listen and really hear, chocolate, the ability to read, roses, our health, kittens. What’s on your list?
 
Some Ways to Practice Gratitude:
 
* Keep a Gratitude Journal in which you 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 will remind you to think in a grateful way. I’ve made a habit of writing down at least 5 things I’m grateful for every night before I go to sleep.
 
* Make a gratitude collage by drawing or pasting pictures.
 
* 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, make a gratitude list instead. 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.
 
 
Author’s content used under license, © 2008 Claire Communications

Comments

  1. PJ,
    This is lovely and reading it has me feeling gratitude for you for sharing it!

    I love some of the simple things you mention – like legs that work and the ability to read – things we often take for granted.

    I have a gratitude bowl that I drop gratitude notes into and then sit down and read at the end of the year. But I do really like your idea of writing down 5 things each evening.

    I’m always looking for tools for the anxious, overwhelmed women I work with and the sections about greater health and a higher sense of well-being got me thinking. So I just searched pubmed … a study published just this month also found less anxiety and depression when we focus on gratitude. I look forward to sharing this and your tips with my peeps!

    Thanks!
    Trudy

  2. I use gratitude as an exercise in all of my programs. I may be a fitness coach, but everything we do- including working out- comes from a space in our minds. We can better take care of ourselves when we appreciate our lives and express gratitude on a regular basis.

    I did an experiment on myself once- for 30 days I wrote down 5 things I was grateful for every day and did not allow myself any repeats. It really made a difference in how I approached finding solutions to issues and life in general. You just inspired me to do it again. Thanks for the reminder!

  3. Rose says:

    PJ,

    Great thoughts! I am running a gratitude month on my Mindfully Organized Facebook page and it is really amazing how much we have to be thankful for even on those days that you wish you could hit the redo button on.

    Looking for the good, instead of looking for the bad, can put you in such a better state of mind.

    ~Rose

    Rose Hawley
    The Simplification Coach
    Mindfully Organized

  4. PJ, thanks for an inspiring post. Gratitude is one of my favorite topics. I strongly believe in all things gratitude. I do all the things you mention above. Another thing we do in the family is write down one thing we are thankful for each day, put it in a gratitude bowl and at the end of each month, we get together and read the notes! It makes for great family discussion and keeps our energy at the highest level.

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