“The grateful mind is constantly fixed upon the best; therefore it tends to become the best; it takes the form or character of the best, and will receive the best.” – Wallace D. Wattles
There is no emotion like gratitude that can (lovingly) back-hand you out of a negative state. Pause for a moment right now and think about something you are so positively grateful for…bring it to mind…now feel it in your heart. Isn’t that the most beautiful, radiant feeling?
Gratitude has even been studied, believe it or not. What a number of studies have concluded is that there exists a positive association between gratitude and an individual’s well-being. People who express gratitude on a regular basis tend to be happier, feel more optimistic, experience lower levels of stress, have better relationships, and be healthier. Who can’t use a little extra of that?
Here are some easy ways you can cultivate gratitude in your daily life (key word – daily!):
- Keep a gratitude journal. Every morning before you rise out of bed – take 3 minutes to write 10 things you are grateful for. You’ll be amazed at how differently your day goes with this simple, 3-minute practice. Bonus points for making a new list before bed, or review your morning list.
- Write a thank you note or card. This may or may not become a daily practice for you, but you can create the opportunity at any time. In this technological age, it’s rare to get a hand written card or letter. And although it’s really nice to receive a thank you e-mail, there is something wonderful and nostalgic about getting a hand-written note that makes it special.
- Thank someone in person. A person may have provided excellent service, gone out of their way for you, shared great advice or given you a shoulder to cry on – there is no gesture too small to say thank you to someone.
- Thank someone inwardly. You may not have the chance to thank someone personally – perhaps it was a stranger who helped you or someone who has passed on, but thanking them inwardly will do the trick. Holding the intention of gratitude in your heart and acknowledging the support you have received can work wonders in your world.
- Pray. Prayer is easily accessible at any time, can be used by anyone, anywhere, and there is no requirement of religion. The exact words you use will not make or break your use of prayer, just say the words that come naturally to you and remember what is most important: your feeling and intention when saying a prayer of thanks.
- Meditate. A meditation in gratitude is profoundly relaxing and can be done in silence, or through a guided meditation. This can be done at home, in the office, or on the subway – whatever works for you.
- Count your blessings and give thanks your challenges. Blessings may be easier to count, but challenges offer new opportunities for growth. Find the lesson, value or insight in all of your challenges, big and small.
There are two main keys to cultivating gratitude in your life:
- Choose the one practice you will do everyday – and use the others to spice up your routine, and,
- Feel the emotion in your heart, don’t just intellectually recite your blessings.
What are you grateful for today? Share in the comments below 🙂