Expressing gratitude is all about being aware.Meditation Assists in Self Awareness
You must be consciously aware of the many blessings in your life for you to be grateful for them. One way to improve your awareness is to take up the practice of meditation. For thousands of years, people have used meditation to focus on the moment, and live “in the now”. Meditation lowers stress and anxiety levels it has been linked to heart health, lowers your risk of developing neurological problems, and can be practiced just about anywhere.
You don’t have to pull out the incense and a yoga mat to meditate. I tend to do it first thing in the morning before I get up and the last thing at night before I sleep.
Find a place that is free of distractions, both visual and audible. Take a few slow, deep breaths to open your heart center. Focus on nothing more than your breathing. Recognize the pattern of your breath, and clear your mind. You should do this with your eyes open, without judging or responding to anything you see or hear.
This is called mindfulness meditation.
You are attempting to become mindful of only the current moment. There is no past and no future. You are living in “the now”, a process which leads to peace and tranquillity. You are not feeling guilty about the past or worrying about the future both are relevant within this moment.
This simple meditation practice clears your mind and helps you focus your thoughts. When you are through meditating, you will find yourself feeling mentally clean, and emotionally sustained. This is the perfect frame of mind for opening your eyes to the grateful aspects of your life.
As you come out of your meditation, tell yourself that you are grateful for you. Express love for yourself precisely as you are now. Smile and feel good about your world and who you are. Then continue to move through your daily routine, and you will find yourself noticing plenty to be thankful for.
How to Stop Complaining and Focus on the Positives
It’s easy to become frustrated and angry from time to time. Human beings are not perfect. You are going to lose control of your emotions every once in a while. It’s just natural. When you experience the feeling that you are out of control, a typical response is to complain about the situation or problem you find yourself in.
Complaining about things you cannot change is a waste of time. This defeats your positive energy, boosts negative energy, and leads to stress and anxiety. As you learned earlier, stress is the enemy of gratitude. You can’t be thankful for things in your life when you are stressed out and worrying all the time.
Fortunately, it is rather easy to stop unnecessary complaining and focus on a positive approach instead. No one can control your mood unless you let them. That means that all you have to do is change your mind whenever you like, and move your attitude from negative to positive. If that sounds difficult, or even impossible, try this.
Create Your Own Reality
The next time something terrible happens and you catch yourself complaining, either out loud or silently to yourself, say “Stop.” Then look at the negative situation and put a positive spin on it. If you are stuck in rush hour traffic and running late for an appointment or other responsibility, don’t complain about the situation. You can’t control the situation.
Instead, tell yourself you are grateful for this unscheduled period of free time. Spend it meditating, jotting down the reasons why you should be grateful today, or pick up your phone and call a friend that you are grateful for. If family members or friends are in your vehicle with you, think about why you are grateful for them, and then share your thoughts.
Problems and negative events are nothing more than opportunities.
Negative, unsuccessful, unhealthy people see nothing but problems in their lives. They are constantly complaining, increasing levels of stress in their bodies, and this leads to inflammation that causes a long list of physical problems. Positive, happy, healthy people, like yourself, can always find the silver lining in every cloud.
12 Practical Ideas for Practicing Gratitude Every Day
When I first started actively practicing gratitude I have to admit it did feel a bit silly. Nowadays it’s such an active part of my daily routine I don’t even think about it. When I first started I couldn’t think of anything I was really grateful for. That is one of the funny things about practicing gratitude the more you practice it the more you realize just what you are grateful for. If you are stuck for the moment the following strategies might help you, you may need them as temporary props and they may become permanent.
1 – Keep “Be Grateful” sticky notes at strategic places in your home and at work.
2 – Call a different person each day and thank them for something they have done for you.
3 – Anytime you eat, take a moment to express appreciation for your meal.
4 – Keep your gratitude journal by your bed or your alarm clock, where you will see it every night.
5 – Write in your gratitude journal at the same time each day or night.
6 – Use all of your senses.
When you are practising gratitude remember to use all of your senses. The fragrance of cinnamon always reminds me of Sri Lanka and the life I had with my husband there. I am a kinaesthetic and generally I find feeling comes easier.
However you may not be and it may be worthwhile for you to remember that you can see something as well. This works if you are a visual person, paint a picture in your head of the things you are grateful for.
Sometimes hearing things will be an evocative memory. Touching a material may remind you of something. Tasting particular food or drink will trigger emotions as well.
Remember you have five senses and to use them all.
7 – Each morning upon waking, make a vow to practice gratitude that day.
8 – Look outward, and not inward – Grateful people are changed people. The whole attitude becomes more expansive. You are much more aware of the contribution of the people have in your life. I am not saying you should be relying on other people to create your happiness, that can only come from you. However other people have an important contribution. When you recognise this you feel more outgoing and loving, your heart centre expands. When you are grateful you are small and you concentrate on your own smallness and negativity and your own actions. Gratefulness changes all this.
9 – Find a gratitude partner. Have that person routinely ask you if you have expressed gratitude that day, and you can do the same for them.
10 – When you find yourself thinking negatively, find something positive to focus on instead.
11 – Send thank you notes to let the important people in your life know that you appreciate them.
12 – Type “gratitude quotes” into your favorite search engine, and refer to at least one quote each day.