With Thanksgiving approaching in just a few short days, everyone is in their most thankful spirits. Thanksgiving is an amazing time of year for this exact reason, it is a wonderful time to relax and reflect on your past year. Many people use this time to practice gratitude for all of the blessings they have obtained in the past year such as a new job, new house, etc. And many others use this time to give thanks for the stable things in their life like their family and friends. It is extremely important to take time to say thank you for all of the things that make up our lives and everything in it. However, I am a firm believer in the power of practicing gratitude every day. Instead of making your gratitude practice an annual event, why not do it every day?
When we practice gratitude in our daily lives, amazing spiritual and mental changes start to occur. Gratitude is the opposite of fear and hatred, when we practice gratitude, we leave less and less room for fear and other negative feelings in our headspace. Not only will you start to feel more positive, you will have more energy, and you will start to notice an abundance of blessings flow into your life. This is called the Law of Attraction.
Here are a few physical practices you can do daily in order to bring more gratitude and abundance into your life. These methods are quick and easy and require very little effort, however, the results are astounding.
Keep a Gratitude Journal
A gratitude journal is a fantastic grounding exercise to bring gratitude into your life and into the forefront of your headspace. All you have to do is write three things you are grateful for every single day. I generally try to choose two that are completely separate from me and my decisions such as; the sun being out on a nice day, my family, my dogs, etc. And then I choose one that I brought into my life such as: a job, an upcoming or past event etc. However, there are multiple techniques for keeping a journal and you should write down whatever pops into your head first, do not overthink it. This daily practice will start to change the way you think and feel.
Remember the Bad
although this may seem like a negative way of thinking, remembering past struggles you have encountered can help you create a powerful contrast in your mind that will help you to be fully grateful for what you have now. You can also write this down in your gratitude journal (ex: 5 years ago I had to take the bus to work, now I have a car) This is not only applicable to material things, it can be applied to many different aspects of your life. This contrast between suffering and blessings creates a fertile ground for true gratitude to grow.
Ask 3 Questions
Utilize the meditation technique known as Naikan, which involves reflecting on three questions: “What have I received from __?”, “What have I given to __?”, and “What troubles and difficulty have I caused?” This practice brings your awareness to specific areas of your life and consciousness and allows you to infuse gratitude into your answers.
Remember the simple stuff
Many people when attempting to practice gratitude may feel that they have nothing to be grateful for if they are in the midst of very difficult circumstances or suffering. It is vital that the foundation for all of our gratitude practice is the simplest blessings of life. Our eyes give us the ability to see vibrant colors, art, movies, etc. Our ears allow us to hear music, and the voices and laughter of the people we love. Our legs allow us the ability to move freely and go wherever we please. These are some of the things that are within our lives every single day but rarely ever at the forefront of our conciousness. When you start to feel a deep sense of gratitude for the simplest pleasures of life, everything else is just an added bonus.
Watch your language
what we say and how we think play one of the most major roles in our lives. Grateful people have a particular linguistic style that uses the language of gifts, givers, blessings, blessed, fortune, fortunate, and abundance. In order to practice gratitude, you should not focus on how inherently good you are, but rather on the inherently good things that others have done on your behalf. Complaints and words of fear and anger work against gratitude and will make your gratitude practice more difficult. You would be surprised at how much something as simple as your vocabulary and the way you speak has such a profound effect on your life and your headspace.
Practice Gratitude Rituals
Some people say grace before a meal. Pausing in gratitude before eating doesn’t have to be religious. It’s a simple habit that helps us notice and appreciate the blessing of food on the table. However, you can take part in a gratitude ritual at any time or place during your day. You can pause for a moment of gratitude when you wake up when you are about to go to bed or just during a pause in your day. Ideally, a gratitude ritual should become part of your routine so it is easier sometimes to pick a time and place to practice your ritual. Bringing this moment of gratitude into your daily life will begin to vastly enhance the rest of your day and will train your mind to search for those moments of gratitude at all times of the day.
There are moments when you naturally, right then and there, feel filled with gratitude. These are moments when you say to yourself, “Oh, wow, this is amazing!” or “How great is this!” Pause. Notice and absorb that feeling of true, genuine gratitude. Let it sink in. Soak it up. Savor your blessings in the moment they happen. It is not silly or dramatic to allow yourself to fully sink into these moments. Do not allow fear of vulnerability keep you from fully embracing your daily moments of pure gratitude.
The most powerful effect of gratitude is the way it can affect others. Expressing gratitude is more than courtesy, manners, or being polite. It’s about showing your heartfelt appreciation. When you thank someone, you’re also practicing the first two gratitude skills: you’ve noticed something good, and you’ve genuinely appreciated it. Not only does this make the other person feel loved and appreciated, it makes you feel good too. This also allows them to search for moments of gratitude in their own lives and to pass on the good. This creates a ripple effect of gratitude in our world, creating a more loving collective consciousness.
Overall, Gratitude is one of the most profound forces in our consciousness and our soul and is also a powerful tool to help guide us on our spiritual path. Practicing gratitude daily can change your mind and your soul and make you a happier and healthier individual. Practicing gratitude is a very personal part of your spiritual journey so find whatever feels right for you in your life and encourage others to search for what they are grateful for as well.
Have a happy and healthy thanksgiving!