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An Attitude of Gratitude

change empowered grow heal Jul 25, 2019

Gratitude — The quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return the kindness. Today you will start a Gratitude Journal to learn how you can reap the numerous benefits of gratitude and how to create a regular gratitude journal practice.

Gratitude is a powerful emotion.

It can transform your life and open up incredible opportunities for love, joy, and success.

It shifts your perspective and helps you find the good in each and every moment.

Science tells us that an “attitude of gratitude” is a good health choice. Being more grateful more often makes us happier and more optimistic. But gratitude also adds to the bottom line – in very real ways. And the best news about gratitude is that it requires little time and no money.

Here are five reasons gratitude improves your productivity and results:

Gratitude attracts what we want. The universal law of attraction says that we will attract into our life the things we think about and focus on. Since this is true, wouldn't you want more of what you are thankful for? (I think I know the answer to that!) Remember that when you are consciously aware of your blessings and are grateful for them, you are focusing more clearly on what you do want in your life – and are attracting more of those things into your life.

Gratitude improves relationships. We learn the importance of saying “thank you” as little children. We are taught that habit because it is “good manners.” This childhood lesson is extremely powerful. Think about those people that you know who are most appreciative of you – and let you know it. How do you feel about them? Does their appreciation positively impact your relationship with them? Of course it does! Be grateful for people, their contributions, their talents and their actions – and make sure you let them know how you feel.

Gratitude reduces negativity. It is hard to be negative about your situation when you are thinking about things for which you are grateful. One of the fastest ways to improve your mood or outlook is to count your blessings.

Gratitude improves problem-solving skills. Too often we look at problem-solving with a very jaded view. “Something is wrong. We have barriers in our way. Then, we have to put in an effort to fix it.” Conversely, when we think about what we are grateful for we open our minds up to new possibilities and connections. We also enter a problem-solving situation with a perspective of improvement and opportunity rather than challenge or issue.

Gratitude helps us learn. Every dark cloud has a silver lining. Behind every problem lies an opportunity. Being grateful for our situation – even if we don't like everything about it – allows us to be thankful for the opportunity to learn something new.

How to find gratitude when we need it most

People who practice gratitude are predominantly happy and easygoing because they always see the positive in most negative situations.

But it’s often when we need gratitude the most, that it’s difficult to find. When you’re overcome with grief, sadness, anxiety or anger, it’s hard to see what’s going right in your life.

Getting in the habit of keeping a gratitude journal is an excellent way to ensure you experience the benefits of gratitude when you need it most.

I will explain the benefits of gratitude and why it’s such a powerful force. I'll walk you through the steps of creating a gratitude journal and give you advice on how to maintain the habit of writing down what you’re grateful for.

The Benefits Of A Gratitude Journal

When intense, painful situations arise, it just doesn’t seem logical that there is a simple solution. This line of thinking often prevents us from accepting answers that could potentially solve our problems.  Gratitude is a simple solution to complicated problems. By disabling painful or seemingly debilitating problems, the simple act of practising gratitude can bring joy, hope and light to the darkest of times.

Look for positive aspects to any situation no matter how grave the outlook.

Life is balanced by negatives and positives. Your focus on a situation will shape your attitude.

Journaling your way into happiness

We all know quite a number of people who have everything that it would take to be happy, and they are not happy, because they want something else or they want more of the same.  And we all know people who have lots of misfortune, and yet they are happy. Why? Because they are grateful. So it is not happiness that makes us grateful. It’s gratefulness that makes us happy.

The greatest benefit of gratitude is happiness — which of course is the one goal that we’re all seeking to achieve.

Most people would sacrifice everything to find happiness, and most of our life choices are made with the aim of eventual happiness.

Simply put, happiness is the biggest motivator for all of the decisions we make.

A few typical, though misguided, aspirations:

  • If I find true love, I’ll be happy.
  • If I am successful in my career, I’ll be happy.
  • If I’m healthy, I’ll be happy.

Happiness isn’t found in things. It is gratitude for what we have that creates happiness.

Following the Law of Attraction, more happiness will gravitate toward those individuals who are already happy.

Gratitude doesn’t come naturally to most of us. Aiming for goals that aren’t met can make it difficult to pause and genuinely feel grateful for what you have.

But here’s the great news about gratitude: it gets easier with practice, and the perfect way to practice is to start a gratitude journal.

Create A Gratitude Journal Ritual and Implement It Everyday!

Creating a gratitude journal is pretty easy — buy a blank notebook or a Gratitude Journal and write down a few things every morning you are grateful for.

Create A Ritual

Make writing in your Journal a daily ritual.  Consistency is the key here. Rituals implement a call to action for our mind, body and spirit by our muscle memory. Importantly, rituals create habits.

If you like you can add a few special touches to make it a special time for you to devote to yourself every day.  This is part of loving yourself.

A few “ritual” suggestions are:

  • Lighting a candle
  • Playing a favourite song
  • Drinking a cup of tea
  • Taking a relaxing bath
  • Saying a calming prayer
  • Chanting a meditation

Anything you decide to do is a great way to let your mind and body know that it’s time to focus on gratitude. Whatever you choose as a ritual, do it consistently. It strengthens the ability to turn action into a habit, and it’s usually fun and relaxing, giving you the motivation to form our habit.

Expressing Your Gratitude

Gratitude journals can take on any desired format. Some journalers make a gratitude list of items to express gratitude — others draw images or create a collage of pictures; while a few write a poem to capture and motivate their gratitude.

Expressing your gratitude is very personal and totally up to you.  Feel the gratitude as you write about it.  Even at the end of a terrible day, you always have things to be grateful for. Forget everything else, and just for a moment, to express your gratitude and all you are grateful for.

Gratitude Journal Ideas – What To Be Grateful For

  1. Your Family
  2. Your Health (or the absence of pain)
  3. Your sense of sight
  4. Your oldest friends
  5. Your sweet memories
  6. Your education
  7. Your work
  8. Your body
  9. Your journey
  10. Who you are becoming

Celebrate Your Successes

As you begin to express your gratitude you'll notice a shift in your consciousness.  Practise being grateful all day long and you'll notice more and more greatness coming into your life.  When you find a free car bay, say thank you to the universe, or when someone smiles at you, or you hear your grandchildren playing… The deeper you feel gratitude for even the smallest parts of your life, the easier gratitude sensing becomes for you.

Read your Gratitude Journal before bed as it will close your day on a high note. It empowers the feeling in your mind and helps you infuse the thoughts into your spirit. This cue to your subconscious uses dreams to process and understand the important feelings you associate with those thoughts.

How To Maintain The Habit Of A Gratitude Journal

Follow our outlined steps to get you into the habit of writing in your gratitude journal. Positive reinforcement along with repeating your gratitude journal habits can keep you motivated. Journaling habits are a matter of personal choice.  Based on personality type, here are a few tips to stay motivated enough to develop a habit.

Set the alarm clock and start your day off by completing your journal.

Select a motivating reward and give it to yourself on a short or long-term schedule that makes sense to you whether nightly or after 30 uninterrupted days of journal writing.

Design your personalized ritual by following the steps outlined for creating a gratitude journal and choosing a method to maintain the habit. You’ll start a valuable ritual for one of the best things you’ve ever done for yourself and your life. Gratitude creates happiness, and who could really ask for more.

Fiona May 

Relationship and Transition Coach

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