Did you know science shows that gratitude is the single most important trait for happiness? When we are grateful an energy surrounds us that gives our lives passion, excitement, and contentment. So come along with me as we explore some real and effective ideas to create a daily practice that will connect us to our natural, pure state of happiness using a few simple keys to gratitude.
Before getting right into the nit and grit: let’s look through the eyes of a child for a moment. I always chuckle inside at the sight of a small child’s facial expressions, body language, and sometimes words when they’re told to say thank you.
But why do I have to say thank you? As if it’s a word from another planet. Doesn’t get anymore raw and honest than that. Why do you think that is? Well, here’s what I think…
True, the response can stem from not wanting to do the thing simply because mom or dad said so, or possibly the embarrassment of being called out in front of others on their manners, but maybe – just maybe, it stems from something a little deeper than that. Stay with me for a moment.
Could it be that a child’s mind in its uncluttered state lives by the law of the universe: Ask and it is given? Could it be that simple? When we think about how children naturally approach life with gratitude – it’s felt when they play, discover a cool bug, roll around in the grass, dip their toes in the ocean – for a child gratitude is constantly in motion. They’re lovin’ life to the fullest, they feel it unconditionally.
Could it be that for a child there are no feelings connecting the words thank you to gratitude itself? The connection hasn’t been rationalized in the mind, it just simply is. They are present in that moment. They are worthy to receive because they are grateful deep within. That’s the natural state, as it’s meant to be, no words attached.
Gratitude is Our True Nature
Is it possible that this could be the pure unadulterated bliss of gratitude itself? I’m thinking these little beings are on to something here. They’re holding out on us adults. They know something we don’t. Of course not really.
I’m only trying to make the point that from the day we’re born gratitude is a flower that blooms within us simply because it is its true nature. The layers of societal conditioning have not yet skewed it.
Little by little as the layers of societal conditions build up, instead of trusting our intuition, we start to question it and begin placing limits and conditions on our gratitude until suddenly our gratitude becomes stripped away of its once naturally blooming state.
Awakening Through Daily Gratitude Practice
This life itself is a blessing. Being, itself is enough cause to feel grateful, and then to be able to experience the beauty of human consciousness is one of the greatest blessings we have received. Here are some ideas that will enable us get in touch with our deepest sense of gratitude.
Greet the Morning with Gratitude
Begin by waking up every morning and before even getting out of bed, try to feel deep gratitude for just being, you have awoken with the opportunity to experience a brand new day of this wonderful existence – that in itself is a blessing!
Ever noticed how many times we say thank you in a day? Quite a lot. It’s a statement that, without any intention, can be over used and taken for granted if we’re not careful. Next time you say thanks I challenge you to actively pay attention to what you’re saying it for. Is it an autopilot pleasantry, so to speak?
Try to stop and really relish in the moment so that you can gain some deeper clarity on what you’re saying thank you for. Be present and allow it to really mean something.
Practice Gratitude Affirmations
According to the Chopra Center for Wellbeing daily affirmations help to keep small things in perspective, help us to stay positive, promote a healthier heart, keep us focused, and keep us in a constant state of gratitude.
Try this simple exercise and read these affirmations to yourself or out loud as they come on the screen. Notice how you feel afterwards. Eventually you may desire to create your own affirmations by making a list of things you are personally grateful for.
Keep a Gratitude Journal
Write down things from your day that make you feel good. From things as simple as your morning tea, a hug from your child, a beautiful sunset, to major things like a job promotion, or a life lesson learned. It can be one thing, three things, or many things. It will vary each day so it’s not about how many things you write, or even if you write every day, once a week may work for you.
Focus more on elaborating on the feelings attached to the thing so that you practice building consciousness around being grateful.
Connect with a Spiritual Practice
Whether it’s connecting with God, the Great Spirit, the Universe, Mother Nature, etc. spirituality and faith are key ingredients for humility, which in turn makes us realize we are not the center or source of the universe, which in turn gives us gratitude for something much bigger than us and the human ego. Connecting with a spiritual practice keeps us in touch with the many things we have to be grateful for.
Invest in Experiences Over Possessions
Obviously the idea is not to stop being grateful for our possessions. It’s just to stress that possessions come and go. One can be void of possessions yet be rich in life experiences that last a lifetime. Research shows that people who invest in experiences rather than possessions are happier.
Volunteer and Give Back
Among those who have more than enough, the quality of gratitude can be seen in the way that they freely give to others for the purpose of creating life enriching experiences for them, in turn investing in and enriching their own experiences. It’s important to keep the vibrational frequency of gratitude alive.
Write a Gratitude Letter
This is a great way to express how grateful you are for the people in your life. You can even share and read it aloud to the individual. Bring some tissues just in case. Now this one may be a bit uncomfortable for some, but don’t forget to write to a letter to yourself.
After all gratitude is a reflection of who you are inside, so being grateful for who you are first, will allow you to be even more grateful for others. One of the best ways to live life as your true self is to practice gratitude.
Rest Peacefully Feeling Grateful
Prepare for bed by slowly beginning to allow your mind to sink into grateful thoughts, letting go of all judgement. Go to sleep each night with a deep sense of gratitude for just being.
Feel it down to the core of your whole mind and body.
Practice and Repeat to Attract More Gratitude in Your Life
When we practice feeling grateful for small things our whole sensitivity will increase. When sensitivity happens every moment will pass in deep awe of the happenings in existence.
As with any practice, it is important that it resonates with you as an individual, so have fun catering these ideas in ways that work for you. As always, I am grateful for all of you awesome readers and love to hear your comments and experiences.