If you want to turn your life around, try thankfulness. It will change your life mightily. ~Gerald Good
I grew up in a family who constantly reminded us to, “COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS!” As a kid, it is difficult sometimes to focus on what you have rather than what you don’t have. I feel I constantly struggle with this one with my own children, who after opening 10 Christmas gifts will say, “Is that all?”, or “How come we didn’t get a Wi?”
But recently, because I’ve struggled so much with this issue with my children, I’ve decided the struggle is there as an opportunity for me from which to learn. And what I’ve learned is that I want to model better behavior for my children and others around me, to come more often from a place of gratitude-even in the face of adversity.
Through my gratitude practice (under full disclosure-not yet perfected) I’ve found that by being grateful for ALL the things I do have, the opportunities that are before me, (often disguised as something else), the cards I’ve been dealt, the adversities I face, that:
- It makes me feel better about myself and what previously was a difficult situation
- Things feel more abundant-like I have what I need in the moment
- I feel more peaceful and am more patient with my family and friends
- I’m a more effective coach
- I’m able to see the beauty in the present moment
Scientifically, a regular gratitude practice or grateful thinking can increase your happiness by as much as 25 percent. Also, by keeping a gratitude journal for as little as three weeks, studies have shown that you will sleep better and have more energy.
What are some steps you might take if you’d like to start incorporating more gratitude in your life?
1-Say “thank you”. Who in your life needs to hear this from you more often?
2-Write a thank you note or card. Again, who in the past year has done something for you that you are so grateful for, but they may not know it?
3-Start a gratitude journal. Write down 5 things you are grateful for everyday. It’s best to do this the same time everyday, either in the morning or in the evening.
4-Spend some time everyday in nature-there is nothing that can spark gratitude more quickly than being in the great outdoors. Whether it’s a beautiful sunset, moon, leaves on the trees, on the ground-whatever you’re drawn to-express your gratitude.
5-Forgive one person. Who in your past that you are still holding a grudge with, can you forgive, and try to see there are some things for which you can feel appreciation or gratitude? Perhaps it’s a family member or friend. See if it’s possible to get in touch with ways they have loved you or supported you which you can find gratitude for.
By counting your blessings and being grateful for what happens to you, you will experience more blessings in your life, for which to be grateful. This simple principle and practice has the power to change your life!
We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude. ~Cynthia Ozick
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