The Upside of Brazen Gratitude

Life is like a mirror, if you SMILE at it, it will SMILE at you.

I had an enlightening experience earlier this week as I was coming out of the library. I was dressed in a light jacket and I was feeling quite blissful. The sun was warm on my face while a chilly breeze swept over my cheeks.

I was thinking “Oh yes I’ll take more of this!”

Then suddenly the lady who had followed me out, caught up with me and started loudly complaining right in my ear about how cold it was, how awful this weather was and blah blah blah. My first instinct was to run away very fast!

I turned in surprise but, before I could put two words together, I was a bit startled to see she was barefoot in flip-flops and yoga gear. No wonder she was cold!

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Let your joy rise to the surface

I smiled, and not wanting my happy bubble to burst, and continued walking away, thankful once again how my regular gratitude practice made such a difference in my life.

It was a perfect illustration about why it’s so important that we live with appreciation rather than be focused on what we don’t like

Here was a lady experiencing the same moment in time that I was.

Yet completely missed the opportunity to feel good.

She missed that glorious feeling of warm sunshine on her face.

The feel of being warm despite the chill in the air.

The full body sense of happiness and peace flooding through her body as it had mine. When just for a moment…the whole world felt good!

And if that isn’t enough…

Gratitude

With a gratitude practice, it’s very natural for us to try it for a few days, or do it sporadically and then think, “I did that, and nothing much happened.” Then we move on to whatever captures our attention next.

I invite you to try it again for as little as 2 weeks (gratitude actually resculpts our brains) and see for yourself what a difference it makes. You will begin to experience an increase in enthusiasm and creativity, and you will notice that you are having more and more happy thoughts.

Things that used to bother you will be easier to accept or they’ll pass by leaving you feeling wiser, peaceful and grateful. New experiences will show up in surprising ways. You’ll notice love, peace, joy, and laughter in your life more often.

Making Your Gratitude Practice Work

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 1) Write out your Gratitude –

I’ve noticed that the best effects of gratitude really occur when I actually write them down regularly and consistently.

Enough

If you want your practice to make a difference in your life it needs to be a physical thing. Of that I am sure!…

… because gratitude works best when we DO it, rather than just think about it.

When we are only thinking about Gratitude it has to fight for space with all the other thoughts in our heads.

Writing your thoughts down helps you to think big and enter into a sense of possibility.

It also creates a space to keep track of your ideas and desires so you can return to them later.

2) Why its SO important to “Feel” your Gratitude

Imagine how you felt the last time you narrowly avoided a bad consequence: braked just in time to avoid a car accident or got an “all clear” on an important medical test.

Gratitude

After a moment like one of those, you have an immediate, crystal clear sense of how fortunate you are, a heartfelt Thank god washes through you along with a flood of adrenaline.  You have an immediate appreciation of being alive and whole. Nothing else matters and then peace descends.

You realize that all the “things” in your life are not nearly as important as you usually imagine.

The reason those moments are so amazing is because you have stopped thinking, instead, your whole attention is riveted on how good you feel.

This is the feeling to look for as you write down your gratitude’s, feel them in your body.

Do this regularly and I suspect you will notice all kinds of subtle and not-so-subtle positive changes: in how others relate to you, in how you feel about your life, in how you weather difficulties.  You may even see changes in your health, or in your closest relationships. Which will give you even more cause to be grateful.

3) Make it Creative –

Creative lighthearted writing practices help us to be more engaged in our lives. Think of simple, doable creative activities that you already enjoy, and play with incorporating them into your regular gratitude practice.

Gratitude garland

This is the ultimate win-win because then you are making BOTH gratitude AND creativity part of your daily life.

A lovely journal, even a tiny one, coloured markers and stickers or adding favourite quotes makes it easier to return each day to your gratitude practice.

“Gratitude Garlands” are fun and expressive.

Decorating a container to hold pieces of pretty paper with your daily gratitude’s are a wonderful way to record happy moments.

You can dip into the jar when you’re having a “blue” day or save them to read again say, on New Years eve!

4) Make it fit your lifestyle –

Your practice needs to fit in with your real life.

What time of day works best for you to express your gratitude easily and regularly?

You might experiment and try a few different things until you find the alternative that seems the most natural.beinggrateful

Be realistic about what you can and cannot do, and think of ways for your practice to fit in with the nooks and crannies of your individual life.

For example, if you don’t have a lot of time to yourself because you are parenting young children, think of ways that you could include them in your gratitude routine, so that you are spending high-quality time with them while also actively engaging in your gratitude practice.

If you have a long commute, perhaps you could do it as you travel.

Afterthoughts
We all have so much to be grateful for.

Once you become oriented toward looking for things to be grateful for, you will find that you begin to appreciate simple pleasures and things that you previously took for granted. Gratitude should not be just a reaction to getting what you want, but an all-the-time gratitude, the kind where you notice the little things and where you constantly look for the good even in unpleasant situations.

Today, start bringing gratitude to your experiences, instead of waiting for a positive experience in order to feel grateful; in this way, you’ll be on your way toward becoming a master of gratitude.

The end of the day ou close your eyes, smile and be happy with where you are right now. You’ve survived the last 18hrs. Take a moment to reflect back on the day and be grateful for what you have experienced and overcome.

Life is rarely perfect, but it’s always pretty darn good.

Your turn…
What three things can you think of right now to be grateful for?

What do you sometimes forget to be grateful for?

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