Ingredients to Create a Blissful Life #27: Gratitude

Hi again, and welcome to your Ingredients to Create a Blissful Life post for the 27th week of 2015. I chose a few for the year very purposefully, and this is one. My inspiration this week is my mother’s birthday. Without her, I would not be here and I am exceedingly grateful for that. So happy birthday mom! Luv you!

Your ingredient this week is: Gratitude

Gratitude is such an amazing thing. It’s a practice that requires us to be mindful and purposeful in what we’re thinking about and it is one that I’ve made a regular part of my life. For most of my life, I’ve had trouble sleeping and since I learned this practice many years ago, I’ve tried to end my day with a prayer of gratitude for everyone and everything I have in my life. I’ve found that when I go to sleep thinking about all of the things I have to be grateful for I sleep better than almost any other time.

A really simple and effective way to start incorporating gratitude into your life is an exercise I’ve been asking my clients to practice and it’s worked incredibly well for some of them. One of my ladies showed up last week and we were all amazed and thrilled to see that she was absolutely glowing. The reason? She’d been practicing the gratitude exercises I’d asked them to the week before. Here’s the rundown:

  • Every morning, before your feet even hit the floor, say “Thank you” to whatever higher power you believe in for the gift of another day. It’s another day to love your spouse, your children, your friends and family; another day to work hard and play hard; another day to laugh and dance and play and smell flowers and taste delicious things and do all of the amazing things that we can only experience with another day on this wondrous planet. How does it get any better than that??
  • Create a gratitude journal and every night when you’re winding down and getting ready for bed, write down 3 things you’re grateful for – preferably things that you’ve experienced or were reminded about that day if at all possible. Even if it’s been a terrible day, just say “Thank you that I made it through today.” and that’s enough.

Both of these things can actually take less than 15 minutes a day and I promise you, they will change your world. As you go along, the most beautiful thing happens. We start to think about needing to find things to write about in our journal and that causes us to start to notice the most amazing things. The colours in the sky as the sun rises or sets that we’ve seen a million times but don’t usually pay much attention to. The laughter of a child. A simple act of kindness or a thoughtful word that we may have not even recognized but now we do. A hug or a touch that conveys someone’s love. Ahhhhh….

And how does this change your world? It’s simple really. One cannot occupy the space of judgment at the same time as one occupies the space of gratitude. That means that as long as we are being grateful, we don’t complain. And when we don’t complain we remain focused on the good things in our lives, and what we focus on grows.

When we focus on how grateful we are for having work to do and an income, we’re not as likely to find fault with our job and the people we work with. Focus on how grateful we are to have people who love and support us and we’re not as likely to complain about them. And I can promise you, if you have a relationship in your life that is particularly difficult and you’d like to change it, start considering all of the ways that person is a contribution to your life and you’ll start interacting with them differently and the relationship will very likely improve. Just think about how wonderful it feels to be around people who appreciate you and know that’s what you’ll be bringing to that person. How lovely is that? When we focus on how fortunate we are to have whatever we have in our lives, we realize just how lucky we really are.

So are you willing to give it a try? Like everything else, it’s a choice but I’m going to challenge you to try this for just 10 days and see what happens. I’d love to hear how it goes! Worst thing that could happen? It might not work and if that’s the case, you’re no worse off than you were before you started. But what if it does? What could your world look like if you were consciously looking for the good things and not focusing on the hard ones? Hmmmm…..

What do you choose?

 

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