I speak about gratitude often, and with this weekend being Canadian Thanksgiving I am reminded of how important it is to have an attitude of gratitude all year round.
I have found in my practice, both my own and with my clients, that practicing gratitude is life changing! Here are a few ways how gratitude helps you:
1) Switch your thinking from a negative space to something lighter.
We are naturally hardwired to focus on the negative, that means that we spend a lot of our time in negative space. We look for the bad, we look for all the things that can harm us, but the fact is we are not at risk all the time, we don’t NEED to be constantly on guard. Therefore, when you notice that your mind is in a negative place you can retrain it by shifting it towards gratitude. Instead of being focused on the negative, be thankful for the fact that you are safe. Be thankful for Mother Earth, be thankful for your families and loved ones who support and help you; really anything that you can think of. Turn your negative thoughts into thoughts of gratitude and rewire your negative brain!
2) Move through fear.
I am sure I am not the only one who has been in an overwhelmingly joyful situation and suddenly a wave of fear rushes over and ruins the moment. We feel this joy, like when we are having a romantic evening with our spouse or a play date with our kids and all of a sudden, this wave of fear comes over us. We fear that our child could get sick that our spouse could leave us … that something horrible could happen to take away our happiness. When this happens, you can turn your mind towards gratitude. Instead of letting fear rob you of the joyful moment you can be thankful and joyful!
3) Recognize the good.
Just like training any muscle in our body the more we can turn our thoughts towards the good the stronger that muscle gets. By focusing on what you can be grateful for rather than what is going wrong we train ourselves to see the good. We build that muscle and after a while (when that muscle develops) we will automatically see the good in all situations. This even applies to life’s hard lessons when we are suffering. Because you have trained your brain to be grateful, you will be able to see beyond the suffering and recognize (no matter how small) the good in the situation. There is always something good in any situation, train yourself to see it. With every storm comes the rain that nurtures the Earth.
4) Grounds in the present moment.
When we are practicing gratitude, we are grounded in the present moment. Living in the past or forecasting the future causes us grief. When we are ruminating on the past, thinking and rethinking about what went wrong, what we could have/should have done; or, we are forecasting the future, let’s face it, it’s usually forecasting doom and gloom; we are not in the present, we are not living mindfully. When you practice gratitude, you are firmly grounding yourself in the present, you are using your powerful mind to focus on what is good, in the present moment, and that is exactly where we find peace.
I can’t speak enough about the power of gratitude, but I also know this can be a struggle when we are in the middle of a stormy time, but that is precisely when we need it most! All I can say is you won’t understand how powerful this practice can be unless you try!
This Thanksgiving make a promise to yourself that you will practice gratitude daily; take that Thanksgiving feeling with you into the future and see how life changing it can be! And remember there is ALWAYS something to be grateful for!
With much gratitude for your following, Happy Thanksgiving!