Gratitude is truly the gift that keeps on giving and one of, if not the greatest gift of all. We are each grateful in our own way and express thanks from time to time. I’d like to suggest that we look for ways to invite gratitude into our lives more frequently and consistently.
Sometime we forget to be grateful or we don’t have time. Gratitude is forgotten when we need it the most. We forget to be grateful when …
- we are sick
- we are busy
- we are worn out
- we get bad news
- we are let down
- we are lonely
- we are hurt
- we compare
- we are scared
In this post, author and researcher Brené Brown says “When I’m standing at the crossroads of fear and gratitude, I’ve learned that I must choose vulnerability and practice gratitude if want to know joy.” Instead of giving into fear, what ifs and falling into a downward spiral she turns to gratitude.
Anytime you are asking questions like, “why me?” consider “why not me?” and find something in the mess to be grateful for.
When I was diagnosed with MS in 2006, I was scared, but I was equally grateful. I was overwhelmed with gratitude for my supportive friends and family and for meeting awesome people in the MS community. I was grateful that we had health insurance and that there had been so many medical advances with MS conventional and alternative treatment. While I couldn’t say it then, today I can honestly say that I am grateful that I have MS. While it does have its downsides, my life is so much better because of it.
How to Practice Gratitude
Say thank you everyday. Make it a point to thank the people closest to you every day. There is always something and if you truly can’t think of anything, simply say, “Thank you for being here.” This practice will help you love more deeply.
Write it down. Use a gratitude journal like Simple Abundance Journal of Gratitude to write down 5 things each day that you are grateful for. In tougher times, reflect on the days that came before and how you demonstrated gratitude.
Set a reminder. Schedule alarms or reminders to be grateful. Make it a habit.
Redirect your thoughts. A simple shift towards gratitude will soften your heart so you are more open to the opportunity of joy. When you notice yourself complaining or comparing, quickly say “thank you for …” the other words will follow. You have so much to be grateful for.
Write a thank you note. Write your thank you note on paper and mail it, on a post it delivered in your husband’s lunch or through email to someone who you appreciate. You don’t have to write an epic novel or have perfect grammar to convey your whole-hearted thanks. Simple and real means more than big words and commas in the right place.
I believe that gratitude is the greatest gift of all because it is the connective tissue to all the other amazing gifts available to us. Gifts like love, connection, joy and openness.
Meister Eckhart was right. If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough. It will be enough, but the gift of thanks multiplies each time that you say it. It opens hearts and doors, and invites more prayers and more gratitude.