Are you making a mindful practice of gratefulness? If not, you are missing out on the many benefits of gratitude. I know that most of us are thankful for what we have. We understand that our lives are filled with blessings. We are happy that we have a roof over our heads or food in our pantry. But, do we dwell on our blessings? Do we really take time to feel just how incredible they are?
Want What You Have
When was the last time you got teary-eyed with gratitude because you have running water or electricity or access to the internet? Now, think about the last time you complained. If you’re like most, it’s easier to think about what you lack than what you have. It’s completely normal, but it’s not completely good for you.
Chances are that no matter what you have, you want more. Honestly, I don’t think that there is anything wrong with that. This world has so much to offer and I want to enjoy my time here, don’t you? The problem starts when we get bogged down in our state of ‘not having’ and fail to focus on what we do have.
When I began practicing intentional gratitude my life changed. It didn’t happen overnight, but slowly I was able to become less focused on what I didn’t have and more focused on what I already had. I became less anxious about the things I thought were missing from my life and became more joyful about the incredible life I already had.
Does it sound like I’m asking you to Pollyanna it up? Good, because that’s exactly what I’m telling you do to. Sure, it will feel silly at first. I’d suggest that you not share your gratitude experiment with anyone who will make you feel silly for doing it. This is your path, not anyone else’s.
When I first began intentional gratitude practice I spent some time looking at pictures of people living in poverty. It sounds dark, but it quickly made me realize that I had nothing to complain about. No, my life wasn’t (and still isn’t) perfect. I chose to take my focus off of the areas that were not up to par (unless I had a direct plan of action that would improve them) and instead focus on what was good.
One of the easiest ways to make gratitude a habit is to keep a gratitude journal. Set a specific time every day to record at least one thing for which you are grateful. If you keep journaling you will find that stopping at just one thing can be difficult. The more you practice gratitude, the more you shine the light on what is right in your life, the more you find that you have to be grateful for.
To help you get started practicing gratitude, I have created a free, printable gratitude journal. Each page is for one week. Each week there is a new, inspirational quote about gratefulness.