You’ve probably all heard about Gratitude or having a Gratitude Practice in recent years, especially if you frequent the health and wellbeing world. There’s no shortage of influencers spruiking the benefits of this practice, and beyond that experts writing about it, speaking about it….it is everywhere!
I remember many years ago when the concept first came across my path. About the same time as the work of affirmations. Both to me at the time felt completely ‘wanky’. I was so sceptical, and downright resistant to expressing gratitude either in meditation setting, writing or saying it.
This was a very clear reflection of my mindset at the time. I was in my own suffering and negativity and I was quite entrenched in it. I didn’t know there was another way and I was determined to stay there.
Why? Well it takes a lot of courage to move out of that state because you have to:
1. Admit that you are there in that negative mindset
2. Acknowledge there may be another way
3. Admit that you are keeping yourself there and
4. Do something about it.
In other words, you have to admit you were wrong. Or as I like to say in a more kind and loving way; I was in a place of Fear Based Thinking.
However, at some point I must have released the grip a little. I must have started to use gratitude and affirmations! I was reading a lot of Gabrielle Bernstein’s work and in her work this is her main focus – moving from fear based thinking to ‘right minded thinking and the energy of love’. This certainly didn’t happen straight away….but I think it went kind of like this:
I started making gratitude statements; things I was grateful for, the things I loved and felt good about. I would write them or say them. I often did this while I walked. This type of moving meditation or prayer really worked for me.
I started using affirmations; saying positive statements about myself affirming loving myself, trusting myself, being positive, feeling confident, whatever it was that was coming up for me or what I was being guided to focus on with what I was reading at the time.
This slowly shifted some thinking. I was able to be more positive more often. I would still get knocked around pretty heartily if things were going well, the negative and fearful thinking came back with a vengeance whenever challenges came along.
I persisted. I continued to move in and out of using gratitude and affirmations. I started using them when I was struggling, feeling pain, feeling down, feeling triggered by people or situations. I would express gratitude for myself, for everything that was good and positive, and then most importantly, started to express gratitude for challenges – challenging people, situations, relationships.
Why? Because I was being exposed to the concept that life is working for us all of the time in order for us to learn, evolve and grow – beyond our small self, our ego, our personality. So all situations, people and relationships are opportunities for us to learn more about ourselves, make more positive loving choices – towards ourselves and others, and learn the lessons we came here to learn. With this way of thinking, we can find acceptance and even gratitude for the less than great times in our lives.
Don’t you see those stories of people emerging from hardship and tragedy and something good comes from it, they become deeper, wiser, softer….whatever it is, that is this principle at work. All humans have this capacity, no matter what challenge, big or small, it doesn’t matter, the point is to grow and learn, to evolve and become more aware, more conscious, able to make choices that align us with our true and highest selves.
But back to gratitude!…..
Once the gratitude process starts to filter into challenging parts of life, then the magic of gratitude starts to appear. It is a muscle you have trained. You can now call on this gratitude practice whenever you need it. You may forget it sometimes, but you will always remember.
It has been stated that the conscious mind can only focus on one thing at a time, and it is impossible to be stressed or have a stressful thought when we have a thought of gratefulness. Stay with it, keep holding those thoughts, and your biochemistry will change. It will set off a chain reaction: thought – feeling – hormonal and chemical responses – that will feedback into a more positive mindset and feelings.
You can literally think yourself out of stress and negative emotions with gratitude!
Gratitude has been truly life changing for me. It truly deserves all the hype that surrounds it.
Tips and Tricks
Find your favourite way of expressing gratitude – write, speak it, walk it, sing it, pray, meditate on it.
Pick a statement as an affirmation and repeat it over and over for a few minutes or freestyle everything you are grateful for.
Start expressing it to others out loud.
Move beyond it being just for the good times. Use it when things aren’t so good. This is how we grow, otherwise you can just get stuck in a BS gratitude practice (otherwise known as spiritual bypassing).
Focus on you. I’ve shared this beautiful quote from Dr Libby Weaver before but I’ll share it again;
“If I asked you everything you were grateful for, how long would it take you to name yourself?”.
Thank you for reading beautiful people.
If anything resonates from this post and you think you may like to talk Gratitude with me, contact me for a Complimentary Health & Life Coaching Consult. firstname.lastname@example.org