We celebrated Thanksgiving just a few days ago, and like many of you, my mind was focused on all of the marvelous blessings I have.
The practice of gratitude as a tool for happiness has been a mainstream concept for years. Long-term studies support gratitude’s effectiveness, suggesting that a positive, appreciative attitude contributes to greater success in work, greater health, peak performance in sports and business, a sense of well-being, and a faster rate of recovery from surgery.
While we may acknowledge gratitude’s many benefits, it still can be difficult to sustain an attitude of gratitude. Our unconscious minds are trained to notice what is broken, undone or lacking in our lives. For gratitude to meet its full healing potential in our lives, it needs to become more than just a word said ’round the table at Thanksgiving, or when something positive occurs in your life.
Gratitude as a Lifestyle
We have to learn a new way of looking at things, develop new habits of thinking and behaving. When we practice giving thanks for all we have, instead of complaining about what we lack, it shifts our perspective and gives us an opportunity to see everything in life as a blessing. Remember, gratitude isn’t a blindly optimistic approach in which the bad things in life are whitewashed or ignored. It’s more a matter of where we put our focus and attention. Pain and injustice exist in this world, but when we focus on the gifts of life, we gain a feeling of well-being. Gratitude balances us and gives us hope.
Notice the experiences in your life. Are they joyful and fulfilling? Shift your focus from what’s wrong, missing, or making you unhappy to giving thanks for all the gifts and blessings in your life. Give thanks for the difficult situations, because they are your greatest teachers.
There are many things to be grateful for. Here are some of mine:
· eyes that see
· ears that hear
· fresh clean drinking water
· friends who love me unconditionally
· chocolate in all its yummy varieties
· warm clothes, jackets, blankets and a heated home
· indoor plumbing
· the softness of my bed
· the ability to learn and grow and redefine myself at will
· good health
· warm sunshine on my skin
· and so much more…
What’s on your list?
“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” -Oprah Winfrey