“We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures. –Thornton Wilder
When life gets hectic and you begin to feel overwhelmed, take a moment to focus on the people and things you are grateful for in life. When you are grateful, other things will fall by the wayside. For example, you probably won’t be able to feel jealous and grateful at the same time. You might even be thankful for someone else’s success or their contribution to you. Being thankful gives you perspective on you situation and brings you to the present moment.
One of the most impressive reasons for being grateful is the positive impact on the way you think and feel. Research shows that grateful people have, “higher reported levels of the positive states of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, attentiveness and energy . . .”
You will find a positive emotional state by simply focusing on the parts of your life that you are most thankful for. Appreciate the abundance in your life. Being grateful is an energizing way to start your day and a relaxing way to end it. Tony Robbins suggests to list out all the things you are grateful for as you warm up for your morning exercise. Deepak Chopra has incorporated gratitude exercises into his guided meditations. Swamiji has added similar techniques in his guided meditation; Nithya Dhyann.
Feeling gratitude is an important practice that I have brought into my daily routine. I notice that it has improved my emotional wellbeing and general happiness.
Sometimes a quick visual reminder is all you need to bring you back to a place of thankfulness and abundance.
1. Gratitude Journal: Each evening you can list the things for which you are grateful. Start with just five things. You will soon see that your list is much longer than you expected. Personally, I have found that the best part of a Gratitude Journal is the record it creates; pages and pages of my personal history of abundance.
2. Gratitude Rock: Find a rock that feels good in your hand. Name it your ‘gratitude rock’, carry it with you along with your keys and wallet. The idea is to remember and say “Thank You” for something in your life, each time you touch or see the rock. For example, when you empty your pocket at night; when you pack up your things in the morning; when you reach for your keys. An actual rock is not necessary; you can use anything small as a figurative representation. My mother uses a cute little keychain as her gratitude rock.
3. Gratitude Beads: Collect a short string of unique beads, and give significance to each one. As you run your fingers through them, with each bead, think of one thing you are grateful for. If you use beads in this way, gratitude can be a bridge to meditation and peace. At bedtime, instead of thinking peaceful thoughts and resting, my mind may be overtaken with all the things I have left to do. Running my fingers over gratitude beads allow me to focus on my many wonders and blessings as I go to sleep.
4. Wheel of Gratitude: Use this tool to make a mental map of who and what you are grateful for in your life. Simon Perkins’ blog offers this technique as part of his mission to, “help everyday individuals cut through our self-imposed limitations and start enjoying life.” This is a compact display of all the richness in your life (and it fits neatly inside the cover of your Gratitude Journal.)
5. Gratitude Diet: My friend Dave developed a product called the gratitude diet with a daily 10 minute video for you to watch and relax into. The videos are designed to put you in a state of abundance and gratitude.
Gratitude can make a real difference in your ability to feel positive, both emotionally and physically. Try one or two of these tools for two weeks and feel the benefits yourself. You will be amazed at what you discover.
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