Cultivating an Attitude of Gratitude
By Jan Marie Dore
The practice of gratitude is a powerful tool for recreating your life so that you regularly experience happiness, joy, and contentment. Gratitude is simply a feeling of thankfulness and appreciation for all that is. Grateful thoughts align your heart, mind, and soul.
Opportunities are given to you in every moment to be grateful for what you have and what you experience. Beauty, richness, and love already exist in your life. There are gifts and opportunities in every situation. The core of gratefulness is having an awareness of these opportunities inherent in life events and circumstances, and then thoughtfully choosing your response.
Gratefulness is about enjoying the sights, sounds, smells and abundance all around you, appreciating all of your emotions and feelings, and celebrating the blessings of family and community.
We all have the ability to make our lives even richer and more positive by noticing daily events, appreciating the benefits we receive, and being mindful of surprises. You have the power to control whether your thoughts will be positive and focused on what's going well in your life or negative and focused on what is not going well.
You can be an example of happiness and gratefulness by expressing appreciation to people on a regular basis. Let the people you care about know that you are grateful they are in your lives - and why.
Having much to be thankful for does not diminish the reality of sadness, disappointment, or discouragement, or the need to feel those feelings at times. You can, though, intentionally reframe painful or disappointing events as opportunities for growth and learning, and deliberately look for the silver linings.
Begin to notice if your words and thoughts are full of complaints about what is lacking in your life. By applying gratitude daily in your life, it's possible to achieve peace and contentment in a demanding, overwhelming, and sometimes disappointing world.
You can begin right now to see the perfection and beauty in everything and everyone. It's a habit of mind!
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Here are five intentional practices to feel more peace and contentment and to make your life richer and more positive:
1) Gratitude Journal
Create your own personal gratitude journal - a place to list your blessings on a regular basis. Record the small and large gifts and moments that are enriching your life every day. You can also create a family gratitude journal where everyone makes entries.
2) Gratitude Ritual
Create a gratitude ritual. Before going to bed at night, glance back over your day and reflect on moments of grace, abundance, joy, friendship, and contentment - the things that you enjoyed or felt blessed by that day. Nightly, record three things that went well each day and why they went well.
3) Evening Meal Blessing
Pause before your evening meal to acknowledge the things that make your life abundant and meaningful.
4) The Gratitude Alphabet
This exercise works like magic when you need a change in attitude. Either aloud or in writing, beginning with "A", think of the first thing that comes to mind that you are grateful for that starts with that letter and say (or write) "I am grateful for ______." Do this quickly without too much thought. Continue until you have reached "Z". You might also share this exercise with your loved ones, speaking aloud alternate letters.
I am grateful for Apples
I am grateful for Beauty
I am grateful for Chocolate
I am grateful for DVD's
I am grateful for Email
I am grateful for Friends
I am grateful for Grass
I am grateful for Hugs
"..you get the idea
5) Gratitude Affirmation
Practice gratitude by reading this affirmation on contentment:
"This day, I am content.
I am grateful for what I have and for what I do not have.
I learn from both joys and disappointments.
I refrain from criticism and fault-finding.
I don't try to change others.
I accept myself as I am and as I change."
About The Author
Copyright © 2006 Jan Marie Dore. All Rights Reserved.
Jan Marie Dore, Master Certified Coach, Speaker, and Writer, publishes articles like this one in her free ezine designed to inspire, challenge, and support you in creating a life that is meaningful, authentic, and a joy to wake up to every day. You can sign up for your own subscription by sending a blank email to firstname.lastname@example.org. For free resources and programs on living a purposeful life, visit Jan Marie's website: http://www.janmariedore.com.