As doable as it may seem to practice gratitude, it can be difficult to instill in your day-to-day life. The word gratitude is considered a noun because the intent behind the word is to be in that state of mind. In order to show gratitude, one must apply it as an action. You can’t simply be “grateful” without incorporating gratitude into your behavior. Once you practice gratitude more regularly, you will notice how much you appreciate a lot of things in life. This includes very negative moments, sometimes also known as lessons… Once the moment has passed and you sit to reflect, you can in fact find appreciation for the moment because of the lesson you learned.
Gratitude can be a very hard action to undertake only because the majority of people can’t find the silver lining in things.
When I began to practice gratitude
I started practicing gratitude years ago and would fall off course when bad things occurred. I would ask, “Why me? Why is this happening?” I did not realize the blessings that would come once the negative turned into a positive. It was a challenge to find appreciation for things occurring in my life, but yet I was always reminded by the Universe to be thankful, to stop wallowing and see the blessings that I was being given. My life was changing rapidly, spinning out of control, but when things have to change, life does it quickly for you. Otherwise, you would never break free from your comfort zone and live out the change. The more I practiced, the easier it became to practice gratitude in all areas of my life. It always amazed me how the Universe would show me different ways of incorporating gratitude in my spiritual evolution. Here are some of the tips I learned along the way to help me practice gratitude.
Tips to practice gratitude
1. End your day in gratitude
One of the first things I learned when I began to practice gratitude was to always go to bed thankful. Before falling asleep, I would recall my day and say all the things I was thankful for. The more I did this at night, the more my wording of being thankful changed. I found myself being thankful for more important things in my life. The more I mentioned these aspects, the more blessed and positive the following day would be. I noticed the positive changes in me, as well. I was smiling more, viewing the world differently, being more compassionate and tolerant of others. The practice provided me with an overall feeling good about my life.
2. Start your day with a gratitude practice
More recently, I started incorporating gratitude in the mornings. Before checking my phone (and trust me, it’s hard for me not to grab my phone as soon as I open my eyes), I say what I am thankful for. Sometimes, when I wake up and grab my phone before doing this, I remind myself to put it down and be grateful.
I always start by saying: “Thank you for this morning. I am thankful for my daughter’s beautiful smile. I am thankful for the day ahead of me. I am thankful for my clients, for my work, for family, for friends, and for my soul tribe.” I then proceed to say aloud how my day will unfold– you could consider this a mantra, or the power of the spoken word. I only say positive things, and if by the end of my day not everything went as I said they would in the morning, I still go on with gratitude for the things that did occur.
The challenge of gratitude
I do believe there are more challenging ways to show gratitude that not many would be comfortable with doing regularly. The following two examples can be a challenge of forgiveness and discipline. However, these practices will not only heal you, but can and will heal others, too. The power of love is by far the greatest force of them all.
I stumbled upon this phrase a few years ago when I found myself trying to forgive people in my life. Ho’oponopono is an act of forgiving and understanding that you are the creator of your world and that everything happens as you imagine it through the interaction of outside forces. People contribute to your image of the world. It involves recognition for not only your actions, but that of others also. A well-known story tells of a Hawaiian therapist who cured a whole prison ward, including himself, although he had never met any of these people. He practiced Ho’oponopono everyday until a miracle happened. The inmates were all cured, The therapist did not realize that he also cured himself. The four main things to acknowledge in the practice of Ho’oponopono are: I’m sorry; please forgive me; thank you; and I love you. For more information on this practice, check out Practice Ho’oponopono and The Process of Ho’oponopono.
4. Keep a gratitude journal
Another great way to practice gratitude is to keep a journal of everything you are thankful for. I would suggest getting a beautiful journal and a favorite pen to use solely for your gratitude journal. Find the time and a quiet place to reflect and simply write. Let the words just flow onto the paper. You will find yourself writing and smiling, perhaps even crying, and simply enjoying the feeling of thankfulness. This 2016 study found that the use of gratitude journals have been found to reduce symptoms that can lead to heart failure. That means a gratitude practice can literally be good for heart and body. For more on how to keep a gratitude journal, check out Greater Good Magazine’s guidelines for keeping a gratitude journal.
I do hope these pointers will be of great benefit to you all. Choose to start practicing daily gratitude this month. It’s a perfect time to do so now that we are forging ahead with our goals for 2018. Who knows what you can discover and manifest for yourself with a daily practice of gratitude.