It’s the week of Thanksgiving here in the United States, when we focus on being grateful for all that we have. Since I practice gratitude every day of the year, I had no plans to do a special post about it for Thanksgiving; but then I thought about how much it’s changed my life for the better. Gratitude changes everything, and I have six ways you can include it in your everyday life - so you can feel more abundant, peaceful, and joyful all year round.
When you practice gratitude regularly, you’ll start to see positive shifts in all the areas of your life. You’ll also feel happier immediately! Give it a try right now. Take a moment, and think about all you have to be grateful for. It could be your family, your friends, or the abundance of love in your life. Think about being grateful for the work you do, the opportunities you have in front of you, and the things you have overcome and learned from. Just pause here, and let it settle in.
Now notice how you feel. Is it more peaceful, happy, or abundant? It feels great, doesn’t it? This is the power of gratitude. And when you’re looking to create more in your life, tapping into your gratitude is essential. When you focus on all you have to be grateful for, you begin to feel like you already have more in your life; and when you feel like you have abundance, you attract even more of it. What you focus on grows, and like attracts like.
So focus on joy, and see more joy come to you. Focus on love, and get more of it. When you create from a place of loving intention, your life becomes richer in more ways than you could ever expect. Starting a gratitude practice creates a positive momentum in your life, especially if you are seeking more happiness, peace, and prosperity.
Inviting more gratitude into your life will require you to slow down and be mindful in the beginning. But with a tiny bit of practice, you’ll soon be seeing opportunities for thanks everywhere. Here are some ideas to get you started:
1. Notice what you want (not what you don’t). Often, we go about our day waiting or expecting for something to go wrong. “I’m going to be late for lunch” or “The kids are going to be crabby because they woke up early”. This is us trying to protect ourselves from the disappointment of things not going our way. But what’s really happening is that we’re attracting what we don’t want by being hyper-sensitive to it.
Instead, try shifting your perception by looking for what you do want more of, rather than what needs fixing or changing. “Look how well the kids are playing together”, or “I can’t wait to see my friend at lunch”. Practice saying these things out loud, and you’ll notice right away that the situation feels different.
2. Appreciate yourself. Learn to be grateful that you have a nice smile, or a big heart, or that you attract positive friendships. Be grateful that you are inventive, intuitive, or creative. Appreciate that you are a great parent - or even that you aren’t a perfect one - because honestly, how boring would perfection be?
If you find it hard to choose something about yourself to be grateful for at first, just try for one thing. Practice saying it to yourself often, and it will get easier. This is why it’s called a practice. We are practicing gratitude, not perfecting it, and it becomes easier over time.
3. Appreciate your environment. In my morning gratitude practice, I often notice what I love about where I am. Seek the beauty in your life! Is it the snow, the changing leaves, or how the sun feels on your skin? It could be the cozy fireplace next to you, or the sunroom you're sitting in.
Even if there are things about your environment that you don’t love, focus on what you do like. I mentioned in a previous post that I didn’t like that I could hear the traffic from my deck. So I practiced being grateful for what I do like about that space. I love the view, and that it’s sunny and warm even in the winter, and that I can hear the birds in the trees. The more I notice the positives, the less I notice the negatives.
4. Keep track of the good things. Even if you aren’t much of a writer, still keep track of the good things in your life. First, the act of writing what you’re grateful for is more powerful than just thinking of it. Second, you'll have something to look back on when you’re having a bad day, or just to see all of the good things that have happened in your life.
I’m not a journaller, but I do write down five things I’m grateful for each morning, and it gets the day off to a positive start. It helps to affirm that good things do come your way, and you begin to trust that they’ll continue to show up. This is one of the lessons I learned during 591 Days of Gratitude, which I also talk about in my very first podcast episode.
5. Challenge yourself to 30 days of gratitude. If you want to see really fast results, write out what you are grateful for every day for thirty days. Set aside ten minutes a day, and write down every positive thing you can about your life, relationships, body, home, work, where you live, etc. I promise you that you won’t be the same at the end of the month.
6. Share your gratitude. Allow your gratitude to radiate out from you, and express your appreciation with and for others. It could be something about them that you’re grateful for, or just something you appreciate about the day. I do this all the time when I’m out walking, and it used to embarrass my kids that I’d talk to complete strangers. But now, they do the same thing!
My daughter is away at college now, but we’ll be on the phone, and she’ll say something pleasant to the person who hands her a coffee or she’ll greet someone she passes. By sharing your gratitude, you can create positive change for both yourself and others.
Try incorporating more gratitude in your life, and experience the positive changes it brings this Thanksgiving season and beyond.
Then, be sure to check the dates for the LIVE Design Your Decade Workshops in December, or get started now with the DIY version. Both will get you focused for the New Year so you can relax and enjoy the holidays.
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