Gratitude - why it’s not just for Thanksgiving
Every fourth Thursday in November, American families gather together for food, fellowship, and football - among other things. This is also known as a day to give thanks for all the blessings in our lives, and when you’re surrounded by good food and good company, it’s easy to find things to feel grateful for. But what about when Thanksgiving is over? What about the other 364 days of the year?
If you are looking for more to be grateful for in your life, then it is not enough just to acknowledge your blessings one day a year. Whether you call it karma or just “what goes around, comes around,” the attitude you project out into the world determines the experiences you attract. Therefore, the more you put yourself in an “attitude of gratitude,” the more you will have to be grateful for. Don’t believe me? Well, think about this. Have you ever looked at someone and wondered why they seem so darn happy all the time even though their lives don’t look that great from the outside? Have you wondered what their secret is? They’ve most likely programmed themselves to look for the good in life. They choose to maintain a positive perspective even in the face of adversity. Have you ever noticed when “bad” things start happening in life that your attitude shifts in a negative direction? And then more “bad” things just keep happening? It’s not merely coincidence. It’s the result of your perspective and how you’re choosing to judge your experiences based on your subconscious programming.
We are creatures of habit. Our programming is difficult, but not impossible, to alter. Overcoming our subconscious programming requires focus and dedication. Here are some suggestions for techniques to help you shift your perspective:
First, when you find yourself crying, “Why me?” ask yourself instead, “How is this happening for me?” or “How can I use this for my benefit or upliftment?” This starts to retrain your brain to look for the good in all your experiences. I use this technique a lot when my day does not go the way I had it planned and scheduled. It helps me to be more loving to myself and others and to be more flexible and go with the flow of life that day.
Second, keep a gratitude journal. This doesn’t have to be anything big or fancy. You can even just type it in the notes app on your phone - although personally I prefer putting pen to paper. The point is to take a few moments out of your day and actually write out at least one thing you’re grateful for that day. That’s it - just one thing. It doesn’t have to be anything grand or exciting. In fact, I think it’s better to focus on the little blessings. Of course you’d be grateful if you won the lottery. But how about being grateful for that stranger who smiled and held the door for you? Or for your loved one who put the dishes away so you didn’t have to? Or for the beautiful sunset you got to witness? Or hearing your favorite song on the radio and the smile it put on your face? These simple joys in life are the most precious because we tend to overlook them. So stop and look, really look, at all the little blessings that are already present in your life. And write one down. Yes, actually write it whether on paper or typing it. This energetically helps to solidify it in your consciousness and is a better way to acknowledge it than just thinking about it. Do this every day, and watch as your perspective changes.
My challenge to you: keep a daily gratitude journal for the rest of the year. You don’t have to wait for tomorrow, next week, next month, or next year to start changing your life. You can change it today. You can change it through gratitude. You are the creator of your life. What are you choosing to create?
May you experience immense gratitude as you learn to recognize that the blessings already are.
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