“There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle or you can live as if everything is a miracle.” – Albert Einstein
One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned over the past year is how the spirit of gratitude can positively impact your life. Although I don’t have every thing I want, somehow I ALWAYS have every thing I need. And acknowledging just how blessed I am has caused even more blessings to pour into my life this year – in the form of people, opportunities and even income.
Studies have shown that cultivating a sense of thankfulness in your everyday life is also good for your mental health and emotional well-being. Psychologist Robert Emmons demonstrated this in the research for his book Thanks!: How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier, finding that:
“The evidence that cultivating gratefulness is good for you is overwhelming. Gratitude is a quality that we should aspire to as a part and parcel of personal growth…Specifically, we have shown that gratitude is positively related to such critical outcomes as life satisfaction, vitality, happiness, self-esteem, optimism, hope, empathy, and willingness to provide emotional and tangible support for other people, whereas being ungrateful is related to anxiety, depression, envy, materialism, and loneliness.”
Perhaps counter-intuitively, when you feel least grateful is when you most need to express thankfulness for everything you’ve been given. This is how you become more optimistic about your life. It’s not about having more stuff to be happy about, but simply being thankful for what you have right now.
Here’s how you can easily incorporate this practice into your life.
Cultivate a spirit of gratitude
Start by being more conscious and mindful of the blessings – big and small – that surround you. Notice how the presence of God shows up in your life in various ways. Be aware of how the universe moves on your behalf just when you need it the most. It could be as small as a happy child brightening up your day or as big as getting a new client in your business.
Write down at least 3 things you’re grateful for every day
Either at the beginning or end of each day, write down every thing that you’re grateful for. Your list should contain at least 3 items. It may be helpful to ask yourself the following questions over the course of your day as “gratitude prompts” to get you in the habit of thinking about your blessings.
- What am I thankful for in this moment?
- What’s working for my good right now?
- Today, I’m grateful for . . .
Get a dedicated gratitude journal
Use a separate journal or notebook to record your lists of what you’re thankful for. Having a special place where you can count your blessings in writing can help you stay on track with doing this on a regular basis. I really love and recommend this little hardcover gratitude journal by Catherine Price.
What I’ve realized is that sometimes, we have to learn how to be thankful for what we already have before the universe will give us more.
Leave a comment: What are you most grateful for right now?