The Power of Gratitude
I’ve been speaking and writing about gratitude for many years in my journal and in poems, I’m still amazed at how challenging it can be to focus on what I’m grateful for at times (especially when I’m feeling sorry for myself, complaining or focused on what I think I should be getting, instead of all that I already have). I’m also blown away by how powerful and transformative gratitude is when I choose to pay attention to it, experience it and express it.
I think of all the simple things we take for granted we could choose to be grateful for each day, instead of focusing our attention on what we don’t have, what we want or what we think we deserve (but haven’t been given yet).
What are you grateful for? What do you appreciate about the things you already have in your life? What do you love most about the people in your life? How often do you ask yourself and others these powerful questions? Sadly, many of us don’t take the time to ask or answer these types of questions on a regular basis, especially in the midst of these hard and very difficult times, while the stress and expectation of the holidays is just crazy.
I pray that you and your family have been and will be spending time focused on what you’re grateful for during this time of year. However, focusing on gratitude is something that we can do all the time, not just on special occasions or during the holiday season.
There are many reasons (i.e., excuses) we have for not focusing on what we’re grateful for:
- We’re too busy and stressed out
- We’re waiting for things to work out perfectly (which they almost never do)
- We don’t want to brag (especially now, when lots of people are going through tough times)
- We focus on what needs improvement and the many things we still have to get done
- We focus on all the bad stuff in our lives, about others and in the world
- We pay a lot of attention to what we don’t have, what we want and what we think we should get
While all of these reasons make sense and are understandable, they simply and sadly get in our way of tapping into one of the most powerful emotions and states of beings we have access to: the power of gratitude.
How to Live a Life of Gratitude
The thing is, simple acts of gratitude don’t cost you much (especially once you get over the initial discomfort some people feel with thanking others). But they can make a huge difference.
If you’re interested in living a life of gratitude, here are my suggestions:
- Morning gratitude session. Take 2-3 minutes each morning to give thanks, to whoever or whatever you’re grateful for. You don’t have to do anything, other than close your eyes and silently give thanks. This one act can make a huge difference.
- Say thank you. When someone does something nice for you, however small, try to remember to say thank you. And really mean it.
- Call to say thanks. Sometimes you might think about something nice that someone did for you. Perhaps you remember during your gratitude session. When you do, pick up the phone and call the person, just to say thanks. Let them know what they did that you’re grateful for, and why you appreciate it. Takes a minute or two. If it’s too early to call, make a note to call later. Even better is telling them in person, if you happen to see them or if they’re on your route. Almost as good is a thank-you email — keep it short and sweet.
- Give thanks for “negative” things in your life. There’s always two ways to look at something. Many times we think of something as negative — it’s stressful, harmful, sad, unfortunate, difficult. But that same thing can be looked at in a more positive way. Giving thanks for those things is a great way to remind yourself that there is good in just about everything. Problems can be seen as opportunities to grow, to be creative. See the prayer below for more on this.
- Learn a gratitude prayer. There are many prayers, religious or not, that can remind you to be grateful. Find one you like, and print it out or make it your desktop wallpaper. A good one is below.
Let me leave you with a prayer of gratitude that I’ve always found … well, perfect:
Be thankful that you don’t already have everything you desire,
If you did, what would there be to look forward to?
Be thankful when you don’t know something
For it gives you the opportunity to learn.
Be thankful for the difficult times.
During those times you grow.
Be thankful for your limitations
Because they give you opportunities for improvement.
Be thankful for each new challenge
Because it will build your strength and character.
Be thankful for your mistakes
They will teach you valuable lessons.
Be thankful when you’re tired and weary
Because it means you’ve made a difference.
It is easy to be thankful for the good things.
A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who are
also thankful for the setbacks.
GRATITUDE can turn a negative into a positive.
Find a way to be thankful for your troubles
and they can become your blessings.
~ Author Unknown ~
New year and it’s all about making small positive life changes, and I’m doing it by writing and sharing affirmations. Affirmations are small personal key positive messages to ourselves. Powerful reminders helping to keep positive messages at the forefront of the consciousness. It’s very important to speak and think these affirmations on a regular, it’s a great idea to leave them scattered around the home in your favorite places, where you will occasionally notice them. Powerfully reinforced your affirmations to yourself.
Believe it our not affirmations are a very powerful tool in supporting and encouraging positive thinking and very effective in changing life patterns and perspectives. I’m working on creating affirmation cards and CDs. Everyone needs to be uplifted. Affirmations allow you to consciously harness the power of positive thinking and target it to specific areas of your life that need a makeover or where you want to bring about change. The great news is that affirmations really work and can transform your life!
I’m so happy that I have the desire to start writing affirmations, which is a personal and powerful exercise. Your goal for writing affirmations is to write a statement that generates your true feeling. Here’s 6 keys to write effective affirmations: Make sure you write affirmations in your speaking style. We all talk to ourselves, so we have a certain undertone that we use to confront our individual self. It’s this voice that we trust and believe. Write from your heart and your authentic voice will revel itself.
Make it Believable
Affirmations must be believable.
Short and Sweet
By writing affirmations short and easy to remember, you’ll increase the likelihood that you will use them frequently. The more frequent you say your affirmations; the more they will manifest.
My favorite affirmation to the universe: “Money comes easily, frequently and abundantly!” (A slightly adapted affirmation by Loral Langemeier from The Secret). I’m going to say this frequently.
Write affirmations to be very literal. Yes, affirmations are VERY powerful. Make sure you truly desire what you are affirming.
Keep it Positive
Always keep your affirmations positive. It’s not that we do not know the meaning of negative words or contradictions. Negative words evoke a very different vibe from positive words. When writing affirmations, be completely focused on your target feeling. Writing with a negative slant focuses on your current situation that you would like to change rather than focus on your desired outcome. For instance:
- Intention: Self-esteem
- Affirmation (with negative wording): I am not pretty!
- The focus is on useless which creates a negative feeling.
- Positive Affirmation: I am beautiful!
- The focus is on beautiful which creates a positive feeling.
Even though both affirmations point to the end result of self-esteem, they create different imagery & feelings.
Writing affirmations brings a tremendous amount of clarity and focus to what you truly want. Take your time and really hone your affirmations to immediately start shifting your vibes.