Over time, I’ve read many articles and inspirational quotes about gratitude. Yes, I’ve always known gratitude was a good thing and had opened my heart to gratitude; however, I did not grasp the power of gratitude until this last year. I’m certain that I still do not fully grasp the concept of its power because I’m a work in progress but my experience has truly been transforming. I’m talking life changing, mind blowing, healing, paying it forward, be the change in the world – power!
Although gratitude is accessible for all of us, we are often in a hurry, stressed out, busy and decide we do not have the time to spare. We do not take time for a gratitude journal, time in nature, or a moment of meditation or prayer allowing ourselves to feel and experience. Unfortunately, over time the consequences are dire. We become numb, disconnected, closed off and dismissive of our many gifts. Usually I turn my nose up to advertised “quick” fixes or changes but I can honestly say my experience was immediate change. When we cultivate gratitude in our daily lives it connects, transforms, and empowers us to bring about change and also start a ripple effect as we pay it forward.
Once I committed and began cultivating gratitude in my daily life, it quickly became clear that time spent cultivating gratitude is an investment with an extraordinary return. I immediately noticed improved mood and energy. Although I was investing time cultivating gratitude, I seemed to be getting more done than before and I was humming while I did it! I noticed a lot of people smiling at me throughout the day too. After checking to make sure my zipper was closed and no toilet paper had stuck to the bottom of my shoe, I realized it was because I was smiling more throughout my day. As a serious minded recovering control and efficiency freak, I found this interesting and a bit unsettling. Could it possibly be that “my way” of controlling, planning, and martyring myself could be… inefficient? Pause and breathe.
Next my relationships with those around me had significant improvement, even the relationships that I thought were great. I found a growing sense of being connected and an increased awareness of our common ground. This makes one more approachable and also gives the power to communicate at a much deeper level. I’m also now a firm believer that the energy you bring into a situation multiplies. If you are living in gratitude, you will be blown away at the changes that can take place, especially in problematic relationships or situations. You are taking the power of gratitude, bringing that energy into the situation and it multiplies. Go ahead, give it a try.
There are many ways to access and cultivate gratitude. You’ll need to experiment and see what works for you. As for me, I meditate, pray, journal and try to make at least one of these activities happen in nature each day. Nature is my church. It quickly brings me into the moment, connects me with my higher power and deepens my awareness. I have found short pauses throughout the day to just breathe and notice are very effective also. When you step outside, close your eyes and be still. What do you notice? Feel the sun on your face, hear the fall leaves dancing in the wind, notice the cool air as it tingles on your cheeks and breathe it into your body. Feel the warmth of the air as you exhale it. Check in with yourself and then have a conversation with your higher power. What are you grateful for?
Please view this video for inspiration: