Gratitude, giving thanks, being thankful, showing appreciation...
Looking at it on a page for a moment and going back to where I was in my life a few years ago I would have looked at that list and thought to myself, yes I do all of those things.
I gave thanks, always remembered to say thank you in return for kindness or polite gestures, appreciated the fun that I had and great times I shared. As well as the gifts that were bestowed upon me and special moments I spent with family and friends. I would have stood by my belief that I was thankful. Until I discovered what it really meant to express gratitude, and just how powerful the emotion of gratitude can be.
Gratitude is widely recognised as one of the most powerful emotions in the universe for the way it gets you to focus on all that you have as opposed to all that you have not. When you are focussing your mind and thus your attention on all that you have in your life to be thankful for it becomes a lot more challenging to feel down, lacking or negative.
It is with that understanding that I have to admit that 4 years ago I was not living in gratitude. I had sporadic and unconscious moments of thanks, but I was not living in a state in which I was appreciative of all the abundance that actually surrounded me.
Why? Because I just couldn’t see it!
I was so fixated on the lack in my life, the challenges in my relationship, the opinions I held about myself and my body, how hard everything was, how two-faced, selfish and unkind people could be, how everyone else always seemed to have and I didn’t... the list goes on but I’m guessing you get my point.
Yes I said thank you, almost on autopilot out of politeness and I did have times when I was thankful, but this thanks never touched my heart. I never really said the words and allowed the emotion of gratitude to ripple through my body, not in the way it does now when I fill myself with true gratitude.
I found gratitude, in the same way, I found most things at the beginning, in YUMMY. My eyes were opened to the way to not only be grateful but to FEEL grateful. In the last three and a half years my gratitude practice has grown from an initial practice of saying words with my mouth, to thinking grateful thoughts in my mind, and now cultivating the emotion of gratitude in my heart and throughout my entire body.
I practice gratitude daily, every morning and evening. I make the time in my day to engage my body, mind and soul in a powerful and immersive process of thinking grateful thoughts, giving thanks aloud and encouraging feelings of thanks sweeping throughout my body.
With the way, my practice has developed over the years, and now informed with an understanding of the powerful impact gratitude can have, even in moments of challenge I am able to focus my mind to say find something to say thank you for. Whether it is a lesson, or a warning if you take the time to look, it is possible to find gratitude in every moment, and in a moment gratitude can change everything.
Take a moment now and join me in an exercise in which I would love to share with you with the power of gratitude.
Read through all of the instructions in full and then complete the exercise listed in steps 2 - 5
Close your eyes
Take three deep breaths, focusing on your breathing as you breathe slowly and deeply in through your nose and out through your mouth.
After completing your three breaths focus your mind on one person that you have in your life that you are grateful for. Picture their face in your mind, how they make you feel, all the things that they contribute to your life and the appreciation you have for them. Let the feeling of gratitude fill you up from the tips of your toes to the top of your head. Making the picture of them, brighter and bigger as you think about all the things that are wonderful about them and that you have to be so thankful for. Allow the feeling to grow, getting bigger and bigger and brighter and brighter.
After about 90 seconds of focusing on that person, and feeling that scrumptious gratitude feeling, wiggle your fingers and toes and open your eyes.
How do you feel?
Good? Happy? Relaxed? Calm? Loved? Warm? Great? ... Grateful?
Usually for me when focusing on someone I have to be grateful for I experience such a magical mixture of emotions that I’m left smiling from ear to ear, whilst my mind bounces from memory to memory, enhancing more and more this feeling of pure love that seems to be emulating from my heart, engulfing me in beautiful yellow bubble of warmth and light.
Perhaps you have engulfed yourself in a different colour or your gratitude is emulating from another part of your body, but I bet my bottom dollar that you've got a warm fuzzy feeling inside and a smile on your face.
Powerful isn't it! Now imagine if you did that every day... Imagine if day after day you took some time to express thanks for all you have, how you would feel?
In a world where there is literally so much to be grateful for,
The big things... your home, job, car, holiday,
The people... your parents, friends, children, siblings, partner,
The small things... the air you breathe, the clean water in your tap, the blue sky and the morning sunshine, the stars at night, the birds singing in the trees, a cup of tea and a biscuit, a plate of food to fill your hungry belly,
even the challenges... submitting that report and being picked up on some incorrect information... I am grateful for the reminder to check and double check before the next submission,
Sitting in the traffic... I am grateful for the time to wind down, listen to music or audio-books, car dance or give a front row karaoke performance to my fellow drivers!
The end of that fleeting relationship those years ago... I am grateful for every kiss that was shared, each smile, each laugh. Every time I got to experience the love that I felt. Yes, it didn’t last long, it ended and that hurt, it hit me when I was down. But when it was happening I experienced love, it was real. The end of that relationship was the final kick I needed to embrace the path that I have followed for the last few years, so for that, I am and will eternally be thankful.
No matter what way you look at things, even those painful moments if you look hard enough there is something to be thankful for.
And the great thing about gratitude is you don’t need anything to start, you can do it right away because it exists within you. You hold the power of gratitude within your body, mind and soul, just waiting to be unleashed into your life.
This journal combines the power of gratitude with self-love, affirmation practice, intention setting and reflection to give you a place to cultivate and nurture your feel-good focus every day! Big enough to fit comfortably in your bag, discreet enough to look like a book, and containing templates to guide your thoughts so that you can get the optimum experience out of a daily gratitude practice, even when building it into a full and busy day.
But don’t take my word for it, read the customer reviews and better yet try it for yourself. For just £11.99 for a 12-week gratitude journal from Amazon, give it a go and experience the life-changing effect of inviting a conscious gratitude practice into your daily routine.
Join the gratitude movement and find your focus in all of your haves!
But one last thing before I go.
Just in case if I haven’t convinced you already!
I will let you in one a little secret that you reveal when you turn your focus to gratitude. By turning to a regular practice of expressing true heartfelt thanks you attract more into your life to be thankful for, your gratitude bucket grows! I’m serious, it’s just... wow, amazing... but more about that in another post ;)
For today turn your focus to gratitude. Be grateful, smile and live your dreams x
To purchase your own Be Grateful and Smile Journal and read reviews click here.
To contact Nicola email firstname.lastname@example.org