With Thanksgiving right around the corner, most will be placing themselves in a “thankful” or “grateful” mindset (at least for the day), but what if you could be grateful all year long?
Thankful people are happy people. “Well,” you say, “if I had something to be thankful for, I’d be happy.” You have missed the point! You do have something to be thankful for. You have life.
It turns out, gratitude makes you happier and healthier. If you invest in a way of seeing the world that is mean and frustrated, you’re going to get a world that is, well, more mean and frustrating. But if you can find any authentic reason to give thanks, anything that is going right with the world or your life, and put your attention there, then statistics say you’re going to be better off. Recent studies have concluded that expressing gratitude, can have profound and positive effects on our health, our moods and even the survival of our marriages.
“When we choose not to focus on what is missing from our lives but are grateful for the abundance that’s present – love, health, family, friends, work, the joys of nature and personal pursuits that bring us pleasure – the wasteland of illusion falls away and we experience Heaven on earth. – Sarah Ban Breathnach
Positive vibes aren’t just for hippies. If you want in on the fun, here are some simple things you can do to build positive momentum toward a more happy and fulfilling life:
Morning gratitude session. Take 2-3 minutes each morning to give thanks, to whoever or whatever you’re grateful for. You don’t have to do anything, other than close your eyes and silently give thanks. This one act can make a huge difference.
Grace Before Meals. Giving thanks before each meal recognizes all of the people whose hard work was necessary for you to have food on your table–everyone from the farmer who grew the food, the grocery store clerks who stocked the shelves at your local grocery store, and the person who cooked the meal. It’s a moment to pause and be mindful, as well as feel blessed that you have all of the food and nourishment that you need.
Reminder Object. Place an object somewhere in your house or workspace which will remind you to feel grateful each time that you look at it. It can be a little sign that says “Thank You” hanging in front of your desk, or a door mat with the word “Welcome” written on it to remind you to be grateful each time that you arrive at home.
Turn it around. After a negative event put things in perspective by remembering that every difficulty carries within it the seeds of an equal or greater benefit. When faced with adversity, ask yourself the following questions:
- “What’s good about this?”
- “What can I learn from this?”
- “How can I benefit from this?”
- “Is there something about this situation that I can be grateful for?”
End it right. Before going to bed each night, write a list of five things about that day for which you’re grateful. Some days you’ll have exciting things to write down, and some days you’ll be writing down simple joys.
Express it. Sit down and write a letter to someone who has exerted a positive influence in your life but whom you have not properly thanked. This can be a teacher or a mentor from your past, a grandparent, or anyone else who helped you in some way.
Review it. A great way to bring things that you’re grateful for to the forefront of your mind is by asking yourself questions. At the end of each day, ask yourself the following four questions:
- What touched me today?
- Who or what inspired me today?
- What made me smile today?
- What’s the best thing that happened today?
“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity…. It turns problems into gifts, failures into success, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.”- Melodie Beattie
Sure this world gives us plenty of reasons to despair. But when we get off the fast track to morbidity, and cultivate instead an attitude of gratitude, things don’t just look better — they actually get better. When you fully connect with a sense of reverence and gratitude for your life experience, you cannot help but attract ever greater levels of meaning and purpose in everything you do. Your very focus on the good, triggers a flow of abundance and clarity that can illuminate even the darkest path.
The secret method of inviting blessings,
the spiritual medicine of many illnesses:
Just for today:
Be Grateful …
With a Grateful Heart,