Living Gratitude

Do you often find yourself worrying, feeling low or stressed?

Are you concerned about your finances? Maybe you sense the fear in your stomach and hear a voice in your head pointing out all the things in your life that are wrong? That you could do better, are likely to be made redundant, especially once the economy crashes and the little stock that you have is now worth half its former value, etc. etc. You turn on the TV and the news readers are confirming the story evolving in your head and it strengthens your fear and confirms that your inner voice is right.

Has this ever happened to you?

Did you know that there is a way of stopping it?

Imagine how your life would be without all of that “noise”. Imagine that you are no longer fearful, but instead feel totally confident and relaxed - in every situation, no matter what happens. The way to achieve this is by Living Gratitude. And what exactly does that mean? For most people Gratitude is something they feel when somebody gives them a present or helps them out in some way - and that is it.

But Gratitude is so much more. To feel the full benefit of Gratitude, first of all you need to make a decision. You should decide to make Gratitude your way of life –no matter what. Then you need to start implementing Gratitude into your everyday life – and this requires discipline! Like everything else in life we need to practice until it becomes second nature.

The best way is to keep a Gratitude Journal. This is basically just a notebook where - every day – you write down 3 to 5 things that you are grateful for in your life. Remember always to write down different things so that you are creating a Gratitude library that can be referred to when you are feeling low.

Introducing Gratitude into your life is all about remembering to embrace Gratitude, so it is important to surround yourself with visual aids that can help to remind you of this constantly. You see, by having made the decision to adopt an attitude of Gratitude you are working towards turning your energy in a new and positive direction - but the rest of the world is not concentrating on Gratitude and that is why you need help to remain centred. If you turn on your TV at night you will be bombarded by negative messages, focusing on what is wrong in the world and on what is lacking. Perhaps you will speak to your neighbour and she will tell you how frighteningly bad the economy is. Then at work your colleagues will tell you some more horror stories about life and how hopeless it all is. And in the midst of that you need to stay focused and hang on to your attitude of gratitude –that is the challenge.

It is also vital to still your mind. When the voice of worry comes in you want to be able to control it and replace it with the voice of Gratitude. The way to do this is first of all to calm your mind, and the best way to do that is by starting to practice meditation. Now, the mere thought of meditation might put you off if you’re not into all this “mind, body, spirit stuff” but fundamentally meditation is merely finding a private place to sit still, close your eyes and focus on your breathing for a short, uninterrupted period of time. It doesn’t have to be more than that; it is just giving yourself time to be calm –and you don’t have to do it for more than 15 minutes, maybe twice a week. You cannot see the moon reflected in an angry sea, but when the water is still it provides a mirror for the moon. It’s exactly the same with your mind. If you calm your mind, the essentials of what you need to know will be more clearly visible and that will give you guidance.

To feel the Gratitude in your meditation you can put your hand on your heart while you are meditating and begin to think about all the things in your life for which you are truly grateful. This will help you to focus. To repeat, this new approach to life will take some practice, so be patient with yourself; you have already made the most important step by deciding to live in Gratitude. Observe yourself during the day and notice when you are not living in Gratitude. Begin to notice what you are saying, what you are thinking and how you are reacting to situations. Notice when you complain, pay attention to when you feel fearful. When you realize that you are not displaying an attitude of gratitude, try to stop for a moment and look at the situation differently; is there a hidden blessing in the situation?

I will give you an example from my own life.

I am currently single and noticed that I was complaining about it, feeling slightly desperate, focusing on the fact that it was not the purpose of my life and wondering why I don’t have a partner, etc. etc. Then I stopped my mind for a second and I looked at what being single has given me at this point in my life - and I realized how incredible lucky I am. I can do whatever I want, exactly when I want to do it (never underestimate the gift of Freedom). I never have to explain any of my choices to anybody. I can work as many hours as I want to (I love what I do, so this is actually a major blessing for me). All of a sudden realized how perfect it all is. And that I should enjoy my moment of being single to the fullest. In Spanish there is an expression: “no hay mal quepor bien no venga” which basically means that all bad experiences have a good purpose. There is a reason for everything - and it is always for the best.

So let us sum up the principles of Living Gratitude

Step 1: Make the decision to adopt Gratitude as your way of life.

Step 2: Implement Gratitude in your life in as many ways you can possible think of.

Step 3: If you can, make Meditation a part of your life too. Do a little Gratitude Meditation to keep you focused.

Step 4: Observe yourself: what are you thinking, saying and doing? Is it in harmony with your new way of life? Remember to be patient with yourself in the process.

Step 5: Realize that there is a reason for everything. All your experiences have a purpose and it is perfect. Look for the hidden blessings in all situations.

To feel the full benefit of Gratitude, first of all you need to make a decision. You should decide to make Gratitude your way of life - no matter what.

Then you need to start implementing Gratitude into your everyday life - and this requires discipline!


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