As we have just celebrated Thanksgiving in the US, I thought it appropriate to write about gratitude today.
We have all heard the common expression: Is the glass half empty or half full? which is used rhetorically for any given situation. Our answer to this question reflects our outlook on life, we either see what we have (the half-full glass) or what we lack (the half-empty glass), and… we always have the choice.
Every day is an opportunity to see “the glass” half empty or half full. Every day and in every situation we get to decide what we want to focus on. By focusing on what we have as opposed to what we lack, we are practicing gratefulness, it is as simple as that!
By opening our eyes to the things we do have, even in times of crisis, we are hanging onto what is good in our life, and that will help us see through the hard times more effectively and find the resources we need to solve problems and overcome difficulties more easily. This does not mean being in denial, not at all! we can be aware of the struggles, we can honor our emotions, we may need an outlet for tears and grief, and all that is normal and is totally OK; but we can still practice gratefulness in the midst of it all, by acknowledging the good things that we have (however few they may be).
Making gratefulness into a daily practice is very important, and we can do so by establishing a daily ritual so in time it will become second nature. A good time to do this is every morning when you wake up or every night before bed, it only takes a few minutes at most!
You can simply acknowledge all the good things you have (or have experienced), or if you prefer you can give thanks to God, the Universe, etc. I usually write a list of things I am grateful for or simply say them our loud.
Some days it may be harder to find things to be grateful for, when everything seems dark and hopeless (we all have those days), but there is always something! For instance: I may give thanks for my eyes, that allow me to see, for the big smiles my kids greet me with, for my parents’ unconditional support, etc. We can ALWAYS find something, always!
We can also be thankful for the small things that happen in our days, for instance: spending a couple hours with a good friend, or sharing a good meal with a loved one, or the smile we got from a stranger… every day gives us an opportunity to find something good, but we need to be aware of it! People often take those things for granted, and focus only on what they lack or what is not working in their lives, so they diminish importance to the, sometimes small, gifts that are around them all the time. They don’t even see them!
Once you become aware of the importance of simple gestures and actions, you also become more willing to offer them to others. When I realize that a smile can make me grateful, I chose to smile more, because that might make other people feel grateful, so gratefulness is also a way to expand your own heart and to give off good vibes around you. Gratefulness is a beautiful thing! Its effect in our life is much greater than we can imagine.
According to the law of attraction, we attract what we focus on, so if we focus on the good things, we will attract more good things, and if we focus on what we lack we will attract more lack… the law really works. If we think of it, it makes total sense, we are made up of energy, so the energy waves that we emit are like magnets that attract the same type of energy, if we vibrate at the frequency of abundance (focusing on what we have) we will see more abundance in our lives, and vice-versa.
Being grateful is very important especially in times of crisis, as it helps us remember that there is always something that is good, something that is working in our lives. This will help us navigate the difficult times much better by keeping us connected to the good things, so we don’t sink into total despair or hopeless mode.
As long as this practice is part of your daily life, you can tap into it whenever you need some comfort and relief.
I would like to share an excerpt I found in the Magazine Psychology Today.
The Benefits of Gratitude
Gratitude is an emotion expressing appreciation for what one has—as opposed to, say, a consumer-oriented emphasis on what one wants or needs—and is currently receiving a great deal of attention as a facet of positive psychology. Gratitude is what gets poured into the glass to make it half full. Studies show that gratitude not only can be deliberately cultivated but can increase levels of well-being and happiness among those who do cultivate it. In addition, grateful thinking—and especially expression of it to others—is associated with increased levels of energy, optimism, and empathy.
So I encourage you today to start a daily practice of gratefulness, it doesn’t take more than a few minutes and you will see how it magically brings more and more blessings into your life. You don’t need to wait till next Thanksgiving!!
Here is a video that may inspire you to be grateful every day!
Have a good week!