Attitude of Gratitude
“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” ~ Melody Beattie
Counting our blessings for what we have is in our life is what this weekend’s Thanksgiving holiday is about. This one simple practice of giving thanks can improve our health and change our life. Happiness studies have shown that people who spend just 15 minutes a week performing some kind of gratitude practice are significantly happier than those who don’t.
During my darkest moments after suffering multiple losses in a very short time, I was too overwhelmed with grief to feel happiness or remember the positive things in my life. Many books I read during this time suggested the practice of keeping a gratitude journal to increase happiness. I was desperate to move out of the darkness so I bought my first journal and started writing.
When you first start a gratitude practice you may find it hard to find things to be grateful for. When I first started this exercise many of my entries were simple and repetitive. I was always thankful for my kids, our health and our home. With practice it got easier to find the gifts. Then on days when I was really sad and couldn’t recall anything to be grateful for, I would simply reread past entries. This act created a huge emotional shift in me. Reading of the gifts I had received on prior days, gave me hope that there was to more my life than the weight of the grief and sadness.
When you start to look for the good things in your life they show up everywhere! The universe begins to align itself to bring you more of what you want. Over time I shifted from counting all my losses to counting all my blessings. And the more thanks you give, the more you have to be grateful for.
It is easy to be grateful for the big gifts in our life- a promotion, a new puppy, a trip to Disneyland. However, it is the attention to the simple things- a beautiful lime, an afternoon watching the waves, a creamy soy latte, a warm autumn wind, or a compliment from a stranger- where we find the true gifts of our life.
Daily simple pleasures that I had previously taken for granted, now had my attention, and with that I started to take notice of this amazing life I have. And with my new focus, the grief and pain in my heart started to subside.
Each day we are on this earth is a gift in itself. Shift your focus from looking at what you lack, to all the abundance you have. It’s there. You just have to pay attention. The more you do this the more you will be able to view even difficult situations in a positive light. By bringing gratitude to each day instead of waiting for the big experiences to be grateful for, you will discover a lot to be thankful for each and every day.
I’ll admit it has taken me almost two years to view the time of being completely broken open as a great gift, but it has been. Not only did these moments of impact clarify for me who I am, it also taught me that giving thanks for all the simple treasures that life provides can increase happiness and feelings of love, and reduce feelings of isolation and stress.
While my life situation hasn’t changed drastically over the past two years, my levels of happiness and feelings of stress certainly have. You too can make a similar shift in your life by adopting an attitude of gratitude. Start a gratitude practice today and you will be surprised at all the gifts that are right in front of you, that you just never unnoticed.
With light, love and adventure,