As I get older, I value the Thanksgiving holiday more and more. It used to herald the start of the Christmas season–shopping, baking treats, wrapping presents and decorating. Now, I find myself longing for more than 24-hours to be still, quiet and thankful for all the blessings in my life. It is such a peaceful day to be with the ones I love, especially my beautiful children. I’m not saying it’s not a busy day, but it is a time for reflection on what really matters… the joy, the love and the gratitude we hold in our hearts.
I am learning that gratitude is the most transformative feeling there is. Finding something to be grateful for, even in the most dire circumstances, holds the power to transform the moment from negative to a positive one. Life can be ugly at times. People can be ugly at times. But, we are not helpless victims if we can choose to be happy. Counting your blessings is the easiest way to see the best in every circumstance.
Holding the feeling of gratitude in your heart has the power to transform reality. So, let’s make it last more than one day. Here is how to use the feeling of gratitude to help transform your life.
Focus on gratitude
Why not try being grateful for something everyday and see how it transforms your life? Keeping a gratitude journal or using an app is the single best way to stay in a positive state of mind. Gratitude journals are not unlike keeping a diary, but instead of writing about your day, you write about the things you’re grateful for. Keep this up on a regular basis, and it can have some big benefits:
- Positive outlook: When you take the time to focus on the good things in your life, you naturally move into a more positive state of mind
- More self-worth: If you take a little time to recognize the blessings in your life, you start to see how special you are to have all that you have. When you feel special, feelings of worthiness and appreciation are sure to follow.
- Better sleep: Focusing on positive things–like a beloved pet, a special child, a beautiful sunset, a favorite book, etc.–instead of your insecurities and fears, can help you drift off to sleep without being stuck in a wakeful state of anxiety
- Promotes feelings of happiness: Regular gratitude journaling helps change your mindset from one of lack to one of abundance
- Reduces stress: More self-worth, better sleep, feeling happier., better outlook on life.. duh, of course your stress level goes down!
Science backs this up! According to a 2019 article in Psychology Today, “Using randomized controlled trial designs, researchers in two different groups found that people who kept gratitude journals or wrote gratitude letters to people they had never properly thanked reported feeling happier and had significantly better health than those in the other treatment groups.” (Do Gratitude Journals Really Work? 4 New Gratitude Findings)
Manifest your dreams
There’s a lot of talk in the new age spiritual community (and in the general population) about the “Law of Attraction.” If you haven’t heard of it, it’s the universal principal that like attracts like. So, if you keep a positive outlook, you are more likely to get positive outcomes. The opposite is true, as well. If you tend to have a pessimistic view of life, you are more likely to get more negative experiences.
When you cultivate gratitude, you’re able to feel true joy and contentment, no matter what you have or don’t have in your life. When you’re grateful for what you already have, you will naturally attract more for which you can be grateful. It’s all about the vibes, baby! Spiritual gurus like Ester Hicks, who channels Abraham, will tell you, “You have the ability to quickly change your patterns of thought, and eventually your life experience.” Every thought has a frequency. If your thoughts are a match to high vibrational experiences, you will get more of them in your life.
Don’t believe me? Just google Law of Attraction or watch some videos on YouTube to see how benefit this is to people’s abilities to manifest their dreams.
Taking time to focus on some of the good things your significant other is doing–instead of fretting about them leaving the toilet seat up or not putting away the dishes–can change our perspective. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut in relationships and feel frustrated with daily life. But expressing our gratitude with a “thank you” or “I appreciated that” (and overlooking someone’s minor faults and foibles) can bring us closer and deepen our bonds. It shows you care, acknowledges someone’s good deeds, and cultivates kindness. We all could use that in our relationships! (See: Why Expressing Gratitude Strengthens Our Relationships, Psychology Today)
Get in synch with gratitude
Let’s agree to focus on all the blessings, the abundance of good in our lives a little bit every day. A gratitude journal is a great way to start. Taking the time out of your day to be kind and appreciate the people who love you is even better. Praying, meditating or just saying thanks to the universe for all the blessings is so powerful. And, give yourself some love while you’re at it. You deserve it!