Gratitude is probably one of the most powerful emotions in helping you transform your life. Here are three suggestions to increase its presence in yours.
1. Make a conscious decision
If you want to have more gratitude in your life, then allow the energy of your thoughts to include more moments of gratitude. You may have heard the expression "energy flows where intention goes." We have a lot of choices to make each and every day. One of the biggest is how we react to all the things which happen in our lives. While not everything is pretty, pleasant and/or painless, they are happening regardless and we have a choice to make. Are you able to find a some gratitude, however small, within the situation or are you letting yourself get drawn into the potential drama that is unfolding? How can you shift your awareness in a more productive way of being? How can this be a win-win for all involved? Begin to invite in a new mindset of gratitude even it is just for the opportunity to learn what we don't want.
2. Create a daily practice
I find that if I want to bring gratitude more into my life that I need to make it a daily habit like brushing my teeth. I don't want to have bad breath or a bad mindset. There are many ways to do that, but I like these three ways:
Gratitude Jar - Start by finding yourself a clean jar. I bought big mason jar from Crate and Barrel. Then, take some paper and place it next to your jar so that you have your resources close by. I decided that I wanted it to be colourful so I bought some construction paper from an arts supply store and cut it into many little pieces. Finally, at the end of the day (or frankly anytime that you are inspired), write down on a piece what you are grateful for at that moment and place it in the jar.
Over time as the jar fills up, you will begin to see that your life if quite amazing and full of lots of things to be grateful for. On those days when life is getting you down, take a few of the pieces of paper out and read them. It is a good reminder that you are blessed in many ways.
Endless Gratitude post on Facebook - A wonderful woman and friend named Trilby Jeeves started to put on her facebook page, quite a few years ago, a list of daily (or weekly) gratitude moments in her life. It was so inspiring to me. I decided to take it and change it to fit my life and situation calling it Endless Gratitude.
I just list everything I am grateful for in my life however small. Some days it is only that I am breathing or I know that I am loved. Other days the list is large and expansive. It doesn't matter the size of the list it only matters that you write it down so that you see it. The more you do this, the more you begin to create a new habit of gratitude instead of gripping. You begin to look for gratitude in your life and in the world-at-large.
Let your Endless Gratitude be offered in the spirit of this is how I see the bounty in my life and NOT in the spirit that you are better than everyone else. In fact, invite others to add there gratitude moments either as comments or to start something on their own page. This is a great way to shift the dialogue and energetic vibration of the world when we focus on what excites us and give gratitude for it.
Take a Gratitude Break - Whenever you have a moment, stop and give gratitude for that moment. Allow yourself to remember that amazing things that had to happen for you to even be here. You have a life, your heart is beating, your senses are working and you can choose to be in your highest self or not. Notice what is working that is "right" in your life. Notice how it gives you joy. I call these gratitude breaks, equal opportunity time. We spend so much of our days being negative or disheartened with our life or the world around us. Why not take a moment to focus on the beauty as well?
3. Fall in love with empathy and patience
Over the many years in my life, I learn one important lesson and that is we get much more pleasure in our life when we have more empathy and patience with ourselves and others. If you can take the time to feel what others are feeling and allow empathy to enter into your heart, then true growth and happiness has a greater chance of coming into your life.
Our world is full of events that can cause us to lose hope and feel angry, frustrated and helpless. I feel it all, too! We as a culture need to shift our awareness so that empathy isn't viewed as a weakness, but a strength and patience is once again a virtue. We are all different with different ways of approaching life and our situations within it. That is a great strength and will help us move forward if we can learn to fall in love with our empathy and patience in a truly heartfelt way.
Recently, I had a situation that allow me to practice my patience and empathy. I was walking along Robson Street and a homeless man started to yell at me for reasons that I didn't understand. I decided to stand and listen to him as compassionately as possible. After about 5 minutes, he stopped and stared at me, I looked back and said, "thank you for being so clear. I am sorry that this situation has upset you so much." His disposition shifted considerably after that. He just wanted to be heard and acknowledged. Who doesn't?
While it wasn't easy to be verbally abused, I did feel gratitude that I could offer him my time and a compassionate ear. I don't know if that will help him out in the future, but in that moment it appeared to. How can you bring more compassion, empathy and yes gratitude into your day? Feel free to share them in the comments section below.
I hope you all have an amazing Thanksgiving, the ultimate holiday for gratitude.