I have been thinking a lot about gratitude this month. I know it’s not November and maybe this should be my November post but I have a few thoughts and ideas I wanted to share with my readers. Gratitude can be defined as feeling or the quality of being grateful; showing thanks and appreciation. The Latin word “gratis” translates to “pleasing” or “thankful”.
Research shows that people who regularly show gratitude have better immune systems, improved moods, better sleep, a healthier heart, lower rates of depression, better coping mechanisms, improved grades for children and teens, and feelings of happiness in romantic relationship as compared to people with a low recognition of gratitude.
For me, I am noticing that when I have gratitude it brings more abundance into my life. The more abundant I become the more gratitude I have, creating a very strong connection between gratitude and abundance. In his book, “The Science of Getting Rich”, Wallace D. Wattles explains gratitude is a natural principle that seeks both action and reaction. Action and reaction are always equal and moving in opposite directions. The grateful mind giving praise and thanks is the action, which creates a return force (the reaction). The return force comes back to you, creating more gratitude.
This idea is also true for those of us who are not grateful. When we dwell on the inferior, sadness, poor, etc., that becomes the action of the mind. The reaction is returned to us creating more sadness, less gratitude. The mind is of thinking substance, which takes forms of what it thinks about. As he quotes in his book, “To permit your mind to dwell upon the inferior is to become inferior and to surround yourself with inferior things. On the other hand, to fix your attention on the best is to surround yourself with the best, and to become the best.”
I know from personal experience when life is sad, you are poor, you feel sick all of the time, you have no friends, or whatever your are struggling with, it is so hard to turn your attitude around into a state of thankfulness. But if you can take one minute of your day to be thankful for one thing, I think there will be some little shifts and changes. Below is a simple list of ideas to help harness a more grateful attitude, which will hopefully lead to more abundance in your life.
1. Say Thank You Frequently: Give thanks to everyone around you, from your servers to your baristas to your dog. Just give them a simple thank you and a smile. When you do say thank you make sure you really do appreciate them and feel in your body that as you give them acknowledgement.
2. Morning Meditation: As you do your morning meditation, think about the things that will come your way that day. What things make you feel happy or joy inside when you think about them? Once you feel that joy, give that thing in your life some acknowledgement of gratitude (even if that thing is your breakfast to come, or getting into bed at the end of your long day.)
3. Write a Letter: Think of someone in your life who your feel very grateful for and write them a letter. You can choose to give them the letter, or not. Explain to them why they are important to you or what they have done for you to make your life better.
4. Avoid Complaining and Judging Others: When we complain and judge other people it just takes our thinking mind to that negative place and we start to attract that negativity to ourselves. We are what we think, so the more positive we can be, the more positive we will become. When you mind dwells on the inferior we become the inferior. When I find myself being judgmental I silently say, “practice non-judgment”, and it stops my train of judgmental thoughts. I haven’t figured something out yet for my complaining!
5. Start a Gratitude Journal: Every day write at least five things you are thankful for. Try to not repeat yourself and think of new things every day. They do not need to be life-changing things. Gratitude for simple things counts too.
6. End of Day Reflection: At the end of your day before you fall asleep think of one thing you are thankful for that day. When my husband in I were on vacation we had dinner with some family friends. Their nightly tradition with their 6 year old was to say what they were grateful for that day. It was so fun to hear what everyone had to say. It was the simple things that brought joy, such as the food on the table, or a friend at school.
7. Set a “Gratitude” Timer: Once, or more, times a day set a timer. When it goes off take a moment to be present and reflect what you are grateful for. Choose a time of day that will be easy for you to take a minute to reflect upon and feel your grateful moment.
In closing, I have so much to be grateful for: my husband, good friends, a loving and caring family, my education, my health, my personal business and all of the exciting things I am planning: meditation retreat, trips this summer for weddings, and perhaps a visit to an Ashram. I am grateful to everyone who reads my blog and supports my growing business and comes to my yoga classes as I learn to teach. I am grateful my teachers and guides. Wow! Even just this paragraph makes me feel so good! Your turn to give it a try.
*Besides my brain some information and ideas were from: “The Science of Getting Rich” by Wallace D. Wattles, 2009.