The Power of Gratitude
Expressing gratitude and acknowledging the positive things in our lives expands our energy, enables us to appreciate the blessings we have and helps us to attract more of them. It also helps us connect with our inner guidance and tap in to our creativity. But being thankful for the good things in life is something we can so easily forget to do, especially whenever our focus gets stuck on what’s going wrong, rather than appreciating what’s going right. It is so easy to get caught up in daily struggles and forget the countless blessings all around us. I’ve always loved the concept of the American Thanksgiving festival, traditionally celebrated every November to give thanks for the autumn harvest, now used to express gratitude in general. Families and friends gather together to take time out from their busy lives and give thanks for all the wonder they experience, including the love they share with each other.
When was the last time you paused for a moment to smile and behold the beauty in your life?
As the saying goes “you get what you focus on” – when you focus more on the good than the bad, you receive more of it! And vice versa. This is because whatever we think about effects how we feel in our body and determines the actions we take. Our thoughts also effect our energetic vibration, attracting to us the people, places, opportunities and things aligned with our energy. We are literally like magnets drawing towards us whatever we focus our attention on.
“Every day… I choose to be in an attitude of gratitude. I get to choose how each day begins and receive the positive energy that accompanies my awareness and gratitude for all the many blessings in my life… Gratitude may not be the greatest of virtues, but it is the parent of all the others.” Lee Brower
Shifting our thoughts so that we regularly notice and express thanks for the things we are grateful for in our lives can be referred to as switching to a gratitude attitude. Like forming any new habit, this can at first take a little effort and perseverance, but within as 21 days it is likely to have already become second nature. One of the oldest traditions linked to gratitude is the act of giving thanks or saying ‘grace’ before and/ or after eating a meal. Whenever introducing something new into your daily routine it is often easiest to tie it in with another regular practice – eating is a good one! After spending three years living and working in Japan I became so accustomed to the Japanese tradition of expressing gratitude before and after meals that I automatically continued the practice when I returned to the UK. In many other countries it is also customary to express gratitude say a prayer or express and unvoiced intention at mealtimes, the act of which tends to be rooted in a religion like Christianity, Judaism, Baha’i, Islam and Hinduism.
You don’t need to be religious though to give thanks before eating. Use your mealtimes to quiet your mind for a moment and turn your attention towards all the things you are grateful for in your life. An easy one to get you started is to be thankful for having food to eat. Then turn your attention to yourself. Often self-admiration can be viewed in our society as selfish, but self-gratitude in this sense of the term is about appreciating that you are an absolutely amazing human being, right now in this moment. Be thankful for the miracle of your every breath, your very being. For all the things that make you, so uniquely you. Notice how good it feels in your body to spend some time focusing on positive thoughts. Then enjoy your meal and continue your day with your energetic vibration having been lifted to thankfulness.
“Develop an attitude of gratitude starting with you – you are worth it! Take a moment right now and look at yourself – your hands, your feet, and your face – with the same kind of admiration you might bestow on one of the most precious sculptures in the Louvre Museum in Paris. Think about this: you are irreplaceable, which makes you priceless!” Joyce Schwartz
Here are 8 great ways to experience the power of gratitude:
1. Develop a Gratitude Attitude - by linking a time to contemplate or express thanks in with something you do daily as part of your regular routine – think thankful thoughts while you brush your teeth, as you walk to the bus stop, before you eat lunch, or as you sit down to eat dinner in the evening.
2. Make a Gratitude List – experience an instant gratitude hit by making a list of 10 things in your life that you are thankful for… if you can still think of more and want to feel an even greater buzz try writing all the letters of the alphabet from a to z and for each letter fill in the name of a person, place or thing that you are happy to have in your life.
3. Keep a Gratitude Journal – write down, draw or stick in pictures of things, people and places you are grateful for in your life. Do this daily, weekly or simply whenever you feel inspired to give thanks.
4. Let People Know – remember to say thank you to the people you are grateful for in your day to day life, when someone lets you out at a busy junction give them a little flash of your hazard lights to say ‘thanks’, when you get good service from the waitress in your café leave a tip, whenever someone does something that brightens your day let them know – even if it’s just with a sincere smile of appreciation.
5. Gratitude Cheques – it’s not often the cheque book comes out in today’s age of electronic payments, but when you do pop a cheque in the post to someone write “with many thanks” on the back.
6. Have a Gratitude Gem – find a gem stone, regular rock, lucky coin or any other round small object that can sit comfortably in your pocket or purse and carry it with you each day to remind you to express gratitude. Every time you put your hand in your pocket or go into your purse, touch the stone and think for a moment of something you are thankful for.
7. Surprise Someone Special – it is easy for the weeks to lead to months, to lead to years and not think to thank people who are part of our daily lives for being there for us. Occasions like birthday’s or commonly celebrated holidays like Christmas are a good opportunity to give a token of our thanks, but why not surprise someone randomly with something special to let them know they are appreciated. You could pop a card in the post, buy a gift they’ll love or even just lift the phone and give them a call.
8. Create a Gratitude Vision Board – before creating any kind of vision board it is great to start with expressing thanks for what you already have, but rather than creating a regular board with all the things you want to attract into your life, why not design a gratitude vision board filled with all the things you already have, are thankful for and would love to have even more of! Have fun getting creative!