Learning to live a life of gratitude

It can be hard to find things to be grateful for when experiencing bouts of misfortune. It can sometimes feel like life is throwing you one challenge after another. How do you find the positive side of things in situations like job loss or death in the family when all you feel is sadness, grief or stress? It’s not an easy task to learn how to do this but it can be done. It can be challenging when learning how to live a life of gratitude and may feel even a little “fake” at first, but once you cultivate this daily practice into your life you will never go back. It changes your outlook on the yourself and the world around you. It’s amazing how easily it can spread into all aspects of your life. When I started practicing daily gratitude I couldn’t deny the huge positive impact it had. These are some of the ways I have brought mindfulness and daily gratitude into my life.

  1. Daily gratitude started for me by placing an intention before my daily yoga practice. After my yoga practice I would sit in meditation and take time to thank my body for the strength it had to carry me through my asanas. I would thank my mind and spirit for staying focused and bringing calm into my practice. This expression of gratitude can be done with any exercise you may enjoy. Take the time to be in the moment and enjoy the activity you are doing, then make sure to take the time to thank your body for all it does for you.
  2. I would always start my morning in the bathroom as do most people, brushing my teeth and getting myself ready for the day. I always have sticky notes on my mirror that have sayings or mantras written on them. Every morning as I get ready for my day I read them. When I feel that a mantra is no longer serving me I take it down and write a new one. This is a great way to start my day off with positive affirmations and cultivating daily gratitude.
  3. There are days that are just so perfect you want to hold on to the beauty that occurred in that moment. In these moments I have a special jar that we fill with little notes that we write what we are thankful for on. I encourage my children and husband to add to it anytime we’ve had a particularly amazing day. Its not a set thing I do everyday but I do it weekly or whenever I feel the need to record a special event. At the end of the year we plan to go through all the sticky note and reflect back on all that things we have to be grateful for.
  4. We as a family have integrated a weekly gratitude meeting, where we check in with everyone on what parts of their day or week they have really enjoyed. During “gratitude” we often practice yoga poses together, do a short mediation, work with calm breathing techniques and sometimes if I feel they may benefit from reiki, I will do energy work on them. This is a fun time where we allow ourselves time to connect with each as a family.
  5. Journaling is another way I practice gratitude. I obviously love to write, so much so it has become a wonderful creative outlet for me to express myself in an authentic and positive way. Art and music are other examples of how we can express ourselves through stunning paintings, beautiful poems, or powerful music.
  6. One of the things I do daily is work on bringing my awareness into the moment. Throughout each day I practice seeing the world with my eyes wide open. When I see a beautiful flower, or notice how much I’m enjoying the warmth of the sun I express it vocally. If I encounter a friendly stranger that offers kind words or a a caring gesture I acknowledge that moment and I express how thankful I am. By voicing my positive experiences it helps to bring it to light. Once you express an event in a positive way the vibrations leave your body and you can feel the positive energy flowing. When you share your experience with others people they in turn end up sharing their positive experiences with you. It becomes this beautiful transfer of positive energy.
  7. Daily mediation is so important to maintaining a level of gratitude. When we stop and connect back to ourselves, and sit in silence, we have a moment to appreciate the beauty that exists around and in us. When we allow ourselves the space to let go of all the pressures, we can create a space of authenticity and purity. We remember the simplicity of who we are and why we are here.
  8. Last but not least you must be wondering, what about the times when everything is crumbing and you can’t see the horizon? Yes I have been there, many, many times. In these moments its especially important to practice gratitude. This helps shift your awareness from all that is horrible to all that is going perfectly as it should, because really isn’t it all that way we choose to see it? When ever facing a challenge I always ask myself what is the lesson here? Am I needing to be more mindful, or compassionate to others or myself? Am I struggling because I need to learn to let go something? After self reflections I can begin to see that there are reasons for everything. And in this awareness I often come to a place within myself that expresses how fortunate I am in many other ways. Take a moment to ground yourself in your personal truth, remember all the beauty that exist within you and around you and realize that no matter what, everything is ok. Everything is going to be just fine.

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