It is never too late to incorporate a gratitude practice into our daily routine. Here are a few ideas just in time to relieve some of the stress of the thankless job of preparing for the holidays. Gratitude will get us out of the rut of compulsive complaining that prevents us from seeing the beauty and goodness that is always right in front of us. A gratitude practice is a daily acknowledgement of the many miracles that surround us that we take for granted.
There are many benefits of a gratitude practice:
1. Increased physical health
2. Better mental health due to a shift from negative to positive thinking
3. Goal attainment
4. Better attitude
5. Less envy and jealousy
6. Increased willingness to be helpful to others
7. Dissolves compulsive wanting
A gratitude practice brings contentment and has also been known to attract good fortune and success to flow our way. We could be happy and grateful for what we have right now. Happiness does not depend on outside circumstances, like new clothes, a car or bigger bank account. We can change our thinking to: “I am happy with what I already have. I have so much to be grateful for.” True abundance begins with the thoughts we choose for ourselves. Actor Jim Carrey said, “I wish everyone could get rich and famous and have everything they ever dreamed of, so they could see that it is not the answer.” The answer is within. That is why meditation is a perfect gratitude practice.
Next time we are meditating with our eyes closed and in a relaxed state of mind, we can imagine that we have the life of a billionaire with every material wish we have ever dreamed of already acquired. Having everything we could possibly pay for, what in our life would we value the most? It would be the same things we value now. People and experiences are the most priceless and valuable part of our life right now and always will be. Together, we can explore the richest parts of our fortunate existence.
Begin with the priceless experience of a strong, loving relationship. Bring to mind the people in our life that support us and thank them. Feel gratitude for the people in our past, present and future that have been there and will be there for us, including friends as well as family. Thank them for the lessons they have taught us about ourselves and for allowing us into their life. Make sure they know that we appreciate them.
Be grateful now for our health. Thank our body for all the silent work that goes on behind the scenes to keep us functioning day to day. We don’t even have to think about breathing or all the other ways it keeps us alive. An attitude of gratitude will accelerate the healing processes of the body. Show gratitude by promising to make healthy choices to support its work. Feel deep gratitude for our miraculous and amazing body.
Be grateful for all the experiences we have had and will have that bring joy and happiness. Think about the sweetness of a mother’s love, a father’s playfulness or the joy of a child’s innocent smile. Be grateful for the experience of traveling to meet people around the world and realize we are all the same with love and gratitude in our hearts.
Be thankful for all of the wonderful feelings you have enjoyed. A good belly laugh is priceless. Give thanks to the music that makes us dance. Be grateful for a pet that licks our nose when we first wake up and gives the gift of unconditional love and acceptance. We are becoming grateful for all the deep and soulful experiences in our life. We will always have an inner wealth of valuable and precious experiences.
As part of your gratitude practice, keep a gratitude journal next to the bed. Before going to sleep, add at least one new person, place, or experience that we are grateful for. Do the same when we wake up in the morning to set ourselves up for a happy day.
Remember to thank ourselves for balancing your inner and outer life with meditation, gratitude and love, and try to carry it as far into our day and the holidays as we can.
About the Author:
Meditating since age 16, Kathryn Remati is a certified Boston-based meditation teacher and creator of the Tranquil Spectrum meditation iTunes app for Apple devices. Kathryn completed a BA in Psychology and an MA Organizational Behavior in Australia. For more info and to retain her services for a guided meditation, go to: http://tranquilspectrum.com or follow her on Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook.