Happy Turkey Day!
It seems fitting that this week I am highlighting one of my most favorite values to living an extraordinary life….gratitude! In the past two years, I focused on what I was grateful for but this year, I want to change it up. This Thanksgiving, I am giving you a gift to show my appreciation and love…6 tools to express your gratitude as a means to cultivate a deeper sense of appreciation for all of life’s blessings.
When we choose to see life through grateful eyes, we become more aware of how much good exists, even when we are going through challenging and difficult times. From my own personal experience, it is the biggest key to having a successful life. It takes training, discipline and a conscious effort to focus on the positive instead of the negative but the effects of these practices can be life altering, if not downright transformational. You may find that opportunities you never knew existed, blessings in the simple, mundane things and even an overall sense of peace at the unfolding of your own life.
This quote I found sums it up nicely: Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow. – Melody Beattie
How sweet is that?!
Life is really all in how we view it. Wouldn’t you just rather have the happy and positive life full of appreciation by focusing your energy and attention on what’s good?
It’s in your power.
Try these 6 Gratitude Exercises and see what a difference it can make. I hope it fills you with tremendous joy!
1 – Thanks before meals. Just before you are about to take your first bite, give thanks for the food you have available to you…from the farmers that grew it to the grocery store that sold it and the whole food chain that exists to keep us healthy and nourishing. This can be a momentary pause, a simple “thank you” or whatever you create it to be. My husband and I hold hands and offer a quick acknowledgement, saying together “Bless this Food!” It is so simple but powerfully shifts our emotions to one of gratitude for every meal we share together and how fortunate we are to have access to healthy food.
2 – Gratitude Journal. The practice of keeping a gratitude journal is one of my favorite exercises. Before going to bed each night, write a list of three to five things about that day for which you’re grateful. Some days you’ll have exciting things to write down while others may be the simple joys of daily life. The key is in the details so be specific! As the months pass, you will be able to reflect back and discover how content and abundant your life really is.
3- Rampage of Appreciation. This exercise created by Abraham Hicks begins by looking around your immediate environment and noticing something that pleases you. Try to hold your awareness on the object as you consider how wonderful it is. And as you focus upon it longer, your positive feelings will increase. After a few moments, extend your focus and look for other things in your immediate environment that bring you happiness. Feel free to write down or just hold the positive focus and vibration in your mind and body.
4- Public Gratitude Declarations! I found this technique made popular by Danielle LaPorte. On a social media platform like Facebook, make a declarative statement acknowledging a few things you genuinely feel grateful for, ranging from the obvious gifts from that day and things you may have overlooked or taken for granted. Use the word “Life”, “God”, “Universe” or whatever word connects you to a higher power. Here is my example:
Dear Life, Today I am thankful for green juice, working barefoot, hugs from students, homecooked meals and my bike.
5 – Focus on the blessings. How many times do we get sucked into dwelling about what is wrong in our lives and the world that we lose sight of what’s good? No more! Even if your life feels like it sucks, dig to find something to be thankful for. There is ALWAYS something to appreciate. Shift your awareness. Are you alive to live another day? Do you have water to drink? Do you know someone that loves you? Are you breathing? Muster it if you have to. You’ll feel better. You will inspire someone. Remember, gratitude is a skill so even if it feels challenging or silly at first, it will get easier.
6 – Write a Gratitude Letter. Choose any individual and write a letter describing in concrete and specific terms why you are grateful. Be sure to include things they did for you and exactly how they affected your life. Tell what you are doing now and how you often remember their efforts. Make them feel loved, appreciated and proud. Personally deliver the letter and plan to read it aloud. When we acknowledge our appreciation and gratitude for others and the gifts they have given us, we increase other’s capacity for gratitude and love. It’s an incredible way to spread kindness.
There you have it. A few ways to practice and expand your inner sense of gratitude because in reality, all it is is a deep and sincere sense of appreciation for what you have in your life. It’s not located in the mind at an intellectual level. It is a soul-nourishing, energetic vibration that fills you up and makes you feel at ease and with a sweet sense of contentment.
When you genuinely fill yourself up with appreciation, it changes not only your emotions but also your perspective on life. More open, more expansive, more love.
Sending you buckets of gratitude to you during this special holiday season.
I appreciate YOU!