Practicing gratitude as a means to happiness has been in the mainstream for years.
Long-term studies support the effectiveness of gratitude, suggesting that a positive, appreciative attitude contributes to greater success in all aspects of your life, including having a higher sense of overall well-being.
But while we may understand gratitude’s many benefits, it still can be a challenge to sustain. We are trained to notice what is broken, undone or lacking in our lives.
For gratitude to meet its full healing potential, it needs to become more than just a Thanksgiving word. We have to learn a new way of looking at things, a new habit, which can take some time.
That’s why practicing gratitude makes so much sense. When we make a point to give 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.
We develop the habit of noticing all that’s right in our lives rather than focusing on what’s wrong.
Gratitude isn’t about ignoring those things in life that are not pleasing to us. 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 raises our vibration so that we can live our lives in alignment with who we really are.
There are many things to be grateful for: colorful autumn leaves, legs that work, friends who listen and really hear, chocolate, fresh eggs, warm jackets, tomatoes, the ability to read, roses, our health, butterflies. 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.
• 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 make the practice of gratitude an integral part of your daily life, an inner shift begins to occur, and you will be delighted to discover how content and hopeful you are feeling. That sense of well-being is gratitude at work.
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Rev. Elaine C. Torrance-Gingrich – www.avalonianmoon.com.