Since my arrival almost five years ago, I have had a lot of time for reflection. As each day with its cultural, linguistic challenges and questions, of ‘Where do I Belong?’, I’m able to remain grounded and at peace in the practice of remembering Gratitude.
But you can be sure that even knowing the practice of gratitude holds for me; I still have to be reminded.
Three Surprising Ways Having a Practice Of Gratitude Can Have An Effect On You.
1) Reduce Stress, particularly, self-imposed-stress:
Isn’t most stress self-perceived? Yes… It is. And in most cases, it is because you don’t feel you are enough or that you lack in some way. You are not smart enough, talented enough, lack the patience, in time. The list can go on. I can step out of thing those things when I go back to a mindful state or an Attitude For Gratitude. I find in that space I have time to think.
2) Stay In Real Time. Gratitude is a way for you to stay TRULY ENGAGED… IN THE MOMENT. It is hard to feel gratitude and judgment of yourself and others at the same time. As a result, you’re more relaxed and able to engage effectively in what you are doing.
3) It helps you to define what you care about. Why are you grateful? What makes you feel grateful? Have you thought about it lately? You can be general in your gratitude to help you develop the habit, but the genuine helpfulness of this practice and the real healing comes from (I believe) the deep knowing of why you are grateful. Knowing what you are thankful for helps you in defining your dreams and desires. Being specific helps you to be in touch with what makes you unique.
Knowing the specific things you are grateful for, helps you to relate more deeply to them. Opening up pathways to let them in; so you can get acquainted with them.
Many years before I left for Spain I was in a terrible relationship. For three years I kept breaking it off and going back. My self-esteem was so low that I could only think of myself with this dark cloud attached. Almost one year later I started to rethink of this experience while only focusing on the ‘good.’ That I was grateful for was knowing I could falling deeply in love and that I was ready to finding love.
What I discovered and was grateful for might not have been what you found, but it was what I saw in me without the blame and disgust to cover it up. All I know is that what I found served me very well in moving me on, allowing me to forgive myself and later to find love.
Ok Now Let’s Get Practical. How to Start to Change Your Attitude for Gratitude.
Here are five tips I used to start my practice:
1- Spend a couple of minutes every morning writing down a few things you are thankful for that day. Do this before reading email, viewing the news or any other distracting habit you have in the morning.
2- If it is a weekend, maybe a Sunday. Try devoting a full morning or afternoon to composing a more detailed gratitude list. (Idea: think both about what you are grateful for and also how you can show that appreciation to add dimension and to spread the LOVE!)
3- Smile. Make it a habit to be more encouraging in every encounter ( using less negative sharing). In this way, you can start to practice the effects of living and spreading gratitude. The Kevin Costner’s, Field of Dreams Effect “Build it, and they will come.”
4- Try Focusing On An Area That Needs Attention In Your Life.
Example, Finances, get your finances in order and look at them as “Grateful For Being Enough.” Instead of seeing them through the lenses of less than what you need, see what happens when you look at them with a positive, open mind. Maybe you will see more easily how they can be aligned with your values. Be grateful for the money you have.
5-Do Something Fun. In the spirit and lightness that you feel while reveling in your gratitude, take a trip or do somewhere that you’ve done before. See how your experience changes with this open hearted, open mind, real presences of gratitude.
You might be asking, do I still doing this practice? Must gratefulness come easy living in a beautiful place like Spain or Europe? The place is different, but it is still a journey of discovery for me. It will never stop. The more I do and change the more I want to do and change. It makes me feel alive.
SO… How about you? Tell me how you stay grateful. What works for you and how has it affected your outlook on life?