Gratitude used to be an old-fashioned word for me about something that I would archive in the category of manners: nice, but somewhat useless. In recent years I have experienced, how important gratitude for my quality of life is. Here are the reasons why you cannot afford to live without GRATITUDE - or rather - why you would not want to live without ...
Thursday, July 8, 2010
First of all I want to say that Gratitude is so highly underestimated and underutilized that I am always happy to talk about Gratitude in order to spread the word. Practicing Gratitude systematically is a very powerful tool and essential in the pursuit of a happy and fulfilling life.
What does it do for me?
As always I invite my readers to try it on yourselves and not to believe anything just from hear say. I can tell you my story so you can relate to how it works. As a typical teenager I used to be very good at complaining and at the "that´s the least they (parents) can do for me" attitude. So even good things got downplayed. The main motto was "never enough". This attitude can be seen in many adults, who have never shed this approach to the world. It actually harms the chance for a rich and fulfilled life. With an attitude change towards gratitude, life is suddenly seen as a miracle, full of wonders and precious experiences. The endorphins and other great neurotransmitters are flowing and the feeling of happiness is created.
How to practice Gratitude?
There are various ways to practice Gratitude. It starts with very simple and time efficient ways that require merely moments of awareness. During your day, stop to think about what is great in your life, your day, this moment. Recognize it, smile and say to yourself how thankful you are to have X in your life and how blessed you are. This awareness practice also works well first thing in the morning to set an uplifting tone for the day, or last thing in the evening to recap the day and let it end on a high note, which makes for better sleep.
Another way is to keep a Gratitude journal and enter some things to be grateful for every day (or whenever it fits for you, but as regularly as possible). It is also rewarding to read earlier entries. It is an especially great resource in times of despair and distress.
There are also websites where everybody can log their things to be grateful for. It is fun to do it that way, it comes with some comradeship, which helps sometimes to stay with it.
What does it mean to be grateful?
Being grateful is truly a way of life. It has nothing to do with an "I am not worthy" approach. It is a conscious thought about how happy I am and how blessed I feel to have X in my life, to be able to do X or to have experienced X. These can be big and very little things. It makes me feel special and connected to and engaged in life.
As an example, here is what I am grateful for now:
having breakfast cooking on the stove
being happily married
having wonderful clients, who I love and adore
being free to create my life one day at a time towards my dreams
that my early morning headache dissipated
that the weekend is approaching
that the workers on the roof are about to finish today
for my MacBook that I absolutely adore
for having been able to give up coffee in the morning - after years of trying
for learning each and every day new and exciting things about life
for the tomato harvest in our garden
for the fresh figs from our fig trees
I could go on an on. So, with the list getting longer, my composition improves more and more. In daily life it is so easy to forget the wonders of this world. I would for example be rather annoyed at all the spam mail and the many work mails than marveling at the fact that we can communicate via e-mail these days, which I find highly fascinating.
Gratitude is a tool, a conscious choice for a better life. If practiced as prescribed, it will definitely create major improvements for anyone. All it takes is a commitment to it. The rest happens from there on.
Thank you for listening :-)
Have fun with this.