The power of gratitude is not truly realized if only adhered to on Thanksgiving or Christmas. It is something we need to do regularly to reap the benefits. As Thanksgiving has come and gone, I want to remind you that you can practice gratitude beyond the dinner table 1-2 nights a year. Maybe you already do this regularly, but are not seeing amazing things come into your life, nor are feeling relief from anxiety, depression or a lack of enthusiasm.
I am writing this for you!
- the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.
Why is everyone doing a “gratitude practice”?
Oprah, Jack Canfield, and Tony Robbins all agree that a gratitude practice enhances their lives, and has a power beyond comprehension.
Research has begun to catch up with ancient practices of deep appreciation, gratitude and prayer:
– UC Davis psychologist Robert Emmons, author of Thanks!: How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier, shows that simply keeping a gratitude journal—regularly writing brief reflections on moments for which we’re thankful—can significantly increase well-being and life satisfaction.
– According to UCLA’s Mindfulness Awareness Research Center, regularly expressing gratitude (the quality of being thankful and readiness to show appreciation) literally changes the molecular structure of the brain, keeps the gray matter functioning, and makes us healthier and happier. Feb 7, 2018
I work with people 1 on 1 that “should” be grateful, “should” be ecstatically happy with all that is going well in their lives, but you know what?
They can’t feel it.
Which just creates a whole other messy ball of emotional yarn coated with guilt and hopelessness. Which unfortunately leave many people feeling like there is something wrong with them, yuck. It is sad to see amazing people not see themselves, but it makes me happy to help them get out of it, and hopefully this article will spark some new possibilities for you too.
This experience of hopelessness and “something’s wrong with me” is the opposite of the levity gratitude and appreciation can bring. So, why can’t these amazing humans with amazing lives feel the deep appreciation they know they should?
GUNK- Old emotions that have not had the space to heal and move through.
Bad societal programming.
Survival Mechanisms of fear and control or guilt for being well off.
Lack of training or being shown the right tools.
If this sounds like you I hope you will not feel alone or make yourself wrong for not being able to access the feeling of “gratitude.”
There’s nothing wrong with you 🙂
You can get there, it is underneath all the noise and gunk, don’t worry.
“You make serious face like this, you scare away good energy. To meditate, only you must smile. Smile with face, smile with mind, and good energy will come to you and clear away dirty energy. Even smile in your liver.”
Ketut Liyer, Medicine Man in Bali, Indonesia made famous from the book
“Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert
Honour all your Emotions
Old unprocessed pain will hang around in your heart and body until it is safe for it to move and heal. This layer, is the thing keeping you from the other feelings such as deep appreciation and effortless gratitude.
I help people do this, and there are many professionals that do as well. Don’t be mad at yourself if you need help and support to move through some stuff that was too hard to feel and heal from your past. Your emotions are not wrong, simply misunderstood. The pain we shove down doesn’t go away, it just takes up space.
Do not deny or negate how you feel
Feel how you feel, honour it, then steer your mind to where you can realistically effect change, or let go if there is nothing to be done.
This is not lying to yourself, but gently shifting your perspective.
I’m normally not a huge supporter of “fake it til you make it” I do like the saying “faith it til you make it” more, gratitude is definitely one of those practices that need practice to actually work.
If you are feeling really low, don’t leap to affirmations of wealth and abundance. It is too big of a leap. Aim for 5% improvements.
I am grateful that I could eat today.
I am grateful I have a blanket to sleep with.
I am grateful for my health.
Start small, and don’t force yourself to feel happy.
Let yourself be in a grump if you are in a grump. Do the practice anyway and suspend your expectations of instant results. Again, if you could feel 5% better, that is absolutely a win.
Even if you are still experiencing other emotions, the practice works. It won’t do any harm and might create just enough room for you to see things from a different perspective and begin to shift from a familiar state of anxiety to a moderate state of relief or simply neutrality. These small shifts are exactly what you want to aim for.
Your life experience right now is essentially a hologram of what you were thinking and feeling regularly months or years ago. So, if you begin now, then in a few months to a year you will start to see the evidence of your consistent work show up in your life in the future.
Stop Trying to Fix things
What is there was nothing to fix?
What if nothing was “wrong”
Try to practice that everyday.
Bad things happen that wake us up to an even better life or show us aspects of ourselves we never saw before. And good things happen that have consequences that are unforeseen and uncomfortable as well. It all equals out.
Rest your attention on what IS working and avoid the tendency to fix or react to things.
Many people find it quite easy to think about the future and imagine many things that could go wrong (that have not happened) and feel the feelings of stress and un-ease as if the things they are imagining did go wrong. That is simply called worrying.
So, why can’t we imagine a bunch of ways things could go well? And feel those feelings even if they haven’t happened yet?
See my other articles about reverse worry for further information on directing your thoughts to steer your emotions.
Is there a difference between Prayer and Gratitude?
I do not think so. I believe both practices bring us into the same elevated energy, and in doing so enhance our lives and the lives of others. As we re-remind ourselves of the magnificence of life, I believe we become more receptive to allowing life to shower us with things to be grateful for.
Following any meditation practice you currently do, simply go through what you are grateful for in your mind, but feel the feelings more importantly in your heart space or body.
Things to start with: You are breathing, you perhaps have shelter, running water, people in your life, animals, nature, anything that arises. Once you get started you will get on a roll. What we focus on expands.
Some people can get too distracted by the pop-ups in their mind while attempting to meditate, if that is you then writing these gems down will be a great option. Don’t forget to FEEL it.
Made popular by the movie, “The Secret” a gratitude rock is simply something, a rock, you keep around in your pocket or by places you habitually will pass by or interact with. For example, by the coffee machine, in the bathroom, in your car, by your tooth brush, by your night table, you get the idea. The key is consistently entering into this emotional state of gratitude by remembering all that is working with you work you, all the things you love and cherish no matter your mood or circumstances.
Gratitude Anchor Jewellery
Here is my own addition to this list.
When I was first practicing shamanism my teacher said to me, “find your centre and choose everything from there.” The “centre” is the space inside where our Spirit/God/Soul/Intuition can speak to us. I bought a tree of life pendant at a music festival kiosk to use as a reminder that this knowing is always with me. When I forgot, I would touch it to remember a future I want to live into. Each time to held it I would remember there is this place called my “centre” and it is where I will know what to do, when to do it, how, with whom, and that all the information will arise as I re-align to this centre.
Another word for it could also be presence. Either way, I had no clue when I started out how to get to this place, and live from there in day to day life. I was like most people, drowning in a sea of noise, constantly feeling like I was on uneven ground. Slowly, I got there. It does work! I would reach up and grasp the metal pendant whenever I was confused, anxious, or unsure about what what to do next.
It was, well…centering.
Rather than something that we do, it’s something that we become. Life becomes your prayer.
– Gregg Braden
What to learn how to create more gratitude in your life?
Check out my self-study program: YOU ARE THE MANUAL.
For Further Insight: