Gratitude will get you….Everything
A grateful heart is a light heart and a light heart is available to receive more. Gratitude somehow seems to have the ability to give off energy—positive energy! So who benefits from a grateful heart? We ALL do! That positive energy is infectious or at least potentially infectious and that is a joyful diagnosis to receive: infected with a positive energy resulting from a grateful heart.
I wonder if little notes were handed out like this by parents, teachers, any adult in children’s lives, if we would create a more grateful culture for our children. Instead of them seeking more and more perhaps they would learn to be satisfied with what they have. Not complacency but also not wishing and whining about the next cool gadget that has arrived on the market that their friends may already have worn down their parents for. Just wondering, not all kids are ungrateful and of course even as adults we sometimes get caught up in these behaviors and forget about what we have right in front or around us.
Gratitude is a cycle of sorts and once we start looking for it and actually acknowledge the feeling either by saying it or through journaling we begin to see additional things, people or events in our lives for which we are grateful. It’s almost like the snowball effect-start with a little snow, roll some more around it, keep adding to it and Viola! Soon you have a nice snowball to maybe make a snow person or to toss to a buddy.
Practicing gratitude can be as simple as just asking yourself at a particular time what you feel grateful about in say the last 24 hours. The details of your feelings can be elaborate or simple. You could be elaborate by using a notebook to honor the thoughts as a recording and really get into the details of why you believe you feel the way you do or just jot down a bulleted list of grateful thoughts, doesn’t need to be perfect. And if I could say one other thing about writing your thoughts down, please try to avoid criticizing your handwriting, your thoughts or your sentence structure. This is not meant to create anxiety-it is meant to serve as a reminder. Be grateful you can write or type, can think the thoughts and can put words together-no pressure-and certainly not perfect.
Did you know moment: Did you know that people who spend just 15 minutes a day thinking and journaling~ a page of positives in their day for which they are grateful experience or a gratitude letter to someone they may not have told in the past, improves emotional disposition in just 3 weeks of practice.
OR that keeping a journal can help us to have less tension, less physical pain, we are willing to spend more time exercising and not only will we sleep more but we sleep better. Those are WINS all around!!!!
Now, once you’ve created the habit of gratitude you may decide you no longer want to record the thoughts and instead opt for either saying the thoughts or just dedicating time to think the thoughts. My personal practice started out with a barely used spiral notebook from my daughter’s classes that I found around the house. I was glad I didn’t have to go to the store to shop for one because there are too many choices and I just wanted to get started. I ripped out her old pages and started with daily entries. I would do these entries before bed so I would crawl into bed, with notebook and pen in hand then start to review my day. I would do a mental scan of the day looking for the good stuff and write. Sometimes I would do this while listening to Meditation Radio on Pandora to get into the mood. This worked out pretty well as the habit developed but you know how habits go—they evolve. I think in the beginning we need a ritual like I was doing but then as we get in the groove we can in gratitude. I still like to listen to inspiring music of some sort but I don’t have to, I still write thoughts down but now they are mixed into more of a daily, maybe every other day review of the positives that I would like to honor and even the not so positives that I am working out. I still use notebooks as well as gratitude journals so nothing hard and fast there. I still enjoy the process very much and do not feel as if it is one more thing to do-it’s kind of just part of me now—for which I am grateful. In addition to my journaling, I have begun telling others what I am grateful for which serves as a reminder to me that frequently, when things get crazy there is also something to be found that is positive and sometimes it just helps to remind ourselves it could always be worse. Sometimes I feel that if I just saying the thoughts out loud this gives them credence but that is not always necessary because we can be goofy about our thoughts especially the negative ones.
I am not suggesting that we become Polly Anna like and only look at and acknowledge the positives in our lives. We do need to acknowledge the other parts, somewhere I read the ratio of positives to negatives was 3:1 in order to be a happier human. So, in order to attain or maintain we do need to look for the positives, as well as acknowledge the negative- just keep an eye out for the positives, you will begin to see more. As I said earlier, I now include both in my journaling and am aware of the ratio thing so I am grateful when my numbers make the ratio.
Tis the Season for Gratitude and could be that more reasons for gratitude are on their way to you!
Grateful you took the time to read my thoughts. Perhaps you will give gratitude a try? What have you got to win? Everything!