On Sunday I did an impromptu talk to ten people on gratitude and my book. Seeing the audience was unknown to me, I decided to start with ‘what is gratitude.’ Often times, starting at the beginning makes it easier.
This is what I said – Gratitude is an emotion than a head activity and until we take our journalling into our hearts, we won’t really gain the huge benefits of being grateful.
It can be tricky in the beginning for we may not be feeling it. Being consistent in our action and asking ourselves whether it is a head activity or are we feeling it, we do move from the head to the heart.
After all, we do have a ‘head’ start with gratitude because we are brought up to say thank you when receiving. This can sometimes also be a stumbling block as it becomes so automatic that we are on autopilot and unaware of what the potential may really be.
What we may not do automatically is give – pay it forward.
Gratitude works with giving as well as receiving.
In the academic studies in positive psychology, people giving compliments, doing acts of kindness and giving attention receive a boost of positive feelings the same as when receiving.
In fact, the givers receive two boosts. The first is giving and the second is receiving the reaction from the person. We respond positively when greeted with a smile, a twinkle of the eyes and a exclamation from the person in receipt of our good deed.
This is a great incentive to give.
Remember too, these moments can be added to the journal and not just as a single entry.
Add a different entry for every element.
Relish the moments.
The more we relish, the greater the impact.
Writing this now, my positive emotions have been activated even though I am not bringing specific examples to mind.
Getting into the practice of acting on your observations means you are also more present in the moment.
More able to relish!
Then everything else is extra.
What a great way to live!
This is how gratitude opens us to abundance.
How life is rich with opportunities, rich with love and joy.
If you wake up feeling a bit under the weather, open your journal and read entries of the past few months.
If this is not possible, go outside and look up at the sky, listen to the noises, feel the breeze, the clothes
….. there is so much to be grateful for
eyes to see,
ears to hear,
skin to feel sensations,
a body to wear the clothes.
This is without even taking in what is seen, heard or felt.
You may find it helpful to pick up your copy of the extract of the book for being open to new ways of practicing gratitude.
Keep doing this for a while and an attitude of gratitude is formed in no time.
Let’s not stop there though.
We can deepen our connection with gratitude by looking for the silver linings in life’s curve balls. Sure, in the beginning, it may be as a reflection. How would life feel if you were able be experiencing a difficulty such as grief, job loss, relationship ending or being forced to redo your goals and be gratitude at the same time.
When grieving my daughter, I looked for gems in the darkness. It was such a horrendous experience that there had to be something positive to gain.
I am not going to tell you that doing gratitude made the grief all magically disappear. It did, however, made the grief journey one of transformation than endurance.
When we are able to do this, then gratitude is an integral part of your life. It’s second nature to you. Life is full of abundance.
There are always areas where we could do with more. Much easier when we already appreciate everything we have already.
How are you doing with gratitude?