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The Practice of Gratitude

Updated: Oct 20, 2022

Here we are in October already! With Thanksgiving around the bend, it is a reminder to reflect on what we are grateful for in our lives. Like all holidays, they give us reminders. However, we must practice this at all times, make it a habit to attract more abundance in life. To show our appreciation and love to those who matter, not just on holidays but every day. Gratefulness should be part of our daily living and how we experience every moment since every moment is a gift, which we are not sure if we get another. Everyone has unex

pected challenges presented to them in their day. Understandably, we all have our misfortunes and suffering, but it is still possible to be grateful. We all know of someone who this relates to, that they have had difficult situations but can exemplify being happy. They have risen to the occasion even if it is difficult. They found the opportunity to see the richness in life. Therefore, it is not just happy people who are grateful but people who choose to live gratefully.

Decades ago, Psychologists began to study the effects of positive emotions such as gratitude, happiness, and compassion in humans, which was a leap in a different direction than was typically looking at the negative emotions and its impact. These studies confirmed that being grateful has a positive effect on our brains and our overall health. Many studies revealed that the cultivation of gratitude through adversity and emotional turmoil leads to more happiness and resilience. The benefits of gratitude: are improved physical, emotional, and social wellbeing, better self-esteem, and decreased stress, and anxiety. Gratitude overtime improves mental health and trains the brain. Greater empathy and generosity are a few more reasons to embrace this as a goal.

To cultivate gratitude, we have to shift on an inner level to make a shift on the outer. To be grateful needs to be instinctive. When you notice you are not feeling it in your thoughts, you can remind yourself of your blessings. Thinking about blessings will lessen our ruminating on negative experiences. We must also challenge that inner voice when it says, “this isn't going to last or you don't deserve to be happy” and “Why me” because this inner voice interferes with feeling gratitude and plays with reality while building on our fears as well as paranoia. We might feel it is hard to accept a compliment or generosity from others instead of being grateful. Paying attention to that inner dialogue can allow us to shift that inner state. When we are grateful this puts us in a positive state of mind. The method to do this is stopping to pause or slow down to seize the opportunity or moments, like the saying, “stop to smell the roses.” We are rushing around and we miss so many small important details. This may be the primary reason why we are not feeling grateful, we need to pause and saturate life in those simple moments. Seeing the everyday splendour that we overlook or worse waiting until it is taken away from us to realize the importance.

There are some simple things you can do to cultivate gratitude like asking yourself, “What makes life fulfilling or worth living?" “What are the things you enjoy most in life? These are the things you devote your time and energy to and that should be incorporated into everyday life. Start a gratitude journal, jar or wall. Make grateful actions and gestures to those around you. Do not forget to thank yourself, self-love is essential for personal growth. Remind yourself daily instead of just on the holidays of all that there is to be grateful for and let this inspire you.

Rachel xo

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