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5 Ways to Feel Grateful Every Day
Posted: 12/22/2011 | Personal Development Comments
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Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow. –Author Unknown

 
Gratitude helps you to grow and expand; gratitude brings joy and laughter into your life and into the lives of all those around you. – Eileen Caddy
 
You probably know that gratitude is good for you. It’s a key expression of compassion toward ourselves and others. Gratitude brings ease and flow into our lives. In fact research suggests that expressing gratitude has benefits that span from improved physical health to greater mental acuity.
 
According to a recent article in Psychology Today   researchers have also discovered that when we develop a daily habit of appreciation–the attitude of gratitude–we experience a, “generally higher level of psychological well-being and a lower risk of certain forms of psychopathology.” Gratitude is a mood elevator. It has us focus on the “haves” instead of the “have nots.” It helps us find closure with the past. 
 
With all that going for it, doesn’t it make sense for us to make it a priority to aim to feel grateful every day? I can hear some of you thinking, “With my hectic schedule? Right. Whatever. Thanks.” So many of us rush through our day, overwhelmed with all we have to do. A gratitude practice might seem like just one more thing on the “to-do” list.
 
But if you take just a few moments every day to express gratitude, you can develop a habit that requires very little effort over time. You’ll be more fully present, which will help you focus. It brings peace under pressure. Its restorative, relaxing and will give you an energy boost. Ready?
                                                                                                                                                                                      
Choose five ordinary moments in your life about which you could feel gratitude. You can feel grateful for absolutely anything, a person, pet, object, quality, idea or image. I’ve provided five very basic examples of some ways to connect with your feelings of gratitude throughout your day. Choose what resonates with you and add your own. The key is to develop the habit of pausing to appreciate life. And say “thank you” for anything that feels good to you, even if you feel remotely grateful at first. And if you don’t feel particularly grateful when you first begin this, fake it until you make it. That can work!
 
Here are five simple examples of how you might feel grateful and say “thank you” as you go about your day:
 
  1. Morning: Your first cup of coffee (or tea) Most of us start our day with a hot drink. As you sip from your favorite cup, travel mug or paper cup, pause and inhale. Appreciate that earthy, familiar scent and the warmth in your hands. Allow the taste to linger in your mouth as you take that first sip. Say “thank you” for this pleasurable morning ritual.
  2. Midday: Hunger At your lunch break, notice how your stomach feels.     Acknowledge the hunger and appreciate the anticipation of your next meal. Say “thank you” knowing that you will soon be fed, that you have everything you need right now.
  3. Afternoon: The sky Whether at your desk, in your kitchen, driving your car, wherever you are mid-afternoon stop and look at the sky. Step outside if you can, or simply glance out the window. Notice the mood of the sky. Is a storm brewing? Are there clouds? How would you describe the color, exactly? What is the quality of light? Can you see any birds or planes? Say “thank you” for the ever-present yet ever-changing backdrop to your day.
  4. Evening: Movement As you walk to your car or down the sidewalk, stand, swaying on a bus or train, feel your body move. Feel your chest rise and fall with every breath. Feel your arms swing and feet fall on the earth. Say “thank you” for your mobility and your graceful, powerful body.
  5. Night: Your bed. As you turn off the light, close your eyes, snuggle under the covers and move into your favorite sleeping position, feel the sheets against your skin. Notice the weight of the comforter or blanket keeping you warm. Feel your head nestled against the pillow, the mattress supporting you below. Say “thank you” for the experience of rest.
 
As you stop to say “thanks” throughout the day you’ll feel better. As the days and weeks go by you’ll find more and more to feel grateful for. Even on your darkest days you’ll have an instant of peace, and on good days you’ll feel great!
 
Have you tried a gratitude practice? What benefits did you receive? Please let us know your experience. Your comments make a difference for all of us!

 




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