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In Life As a Practical Mystic

Accessing the Power of Gratitude

The practice of gratitude as a tool for happiness has been in the mainstream for years. Long-term studiessupport gratitude’s effectiveness, suggesting that a positive, appreciativeattitude contributes to greater success in work, greater health, peakperformance in sports and business, a higher sense of well-being, and a fasterrate of recovery from surgery.

But while we may acknowledgegratitude’s many benefits, it still can be difficult to sustain. So many of usare trained to notice what is broken, undone or lacking in our lives. And forgratitude to meet its full healing potential in our lives, it needs to becomemore than just a Thanksgiving word. We have to learn a new way of looking atthings, a new habit. And that can take some time.

That’s why practicinggratitude makes so much sense. When we practice giving thanks for all we have,instead of complaining about what we lack, we give ourselves the chance to seeall of life as an opportunity and a blessing.

Remember that gratitude isn’t ablindly optimistic approach in which the bad things in life are whitewashed orignored. It’s more a matter of where we put our focus and attention. Pain andinjustice exist in this world, but when we focus on the gifts of life, we gaina feeling of well-being. Gratitude balances us and gives us hope.

There are many things to begrateful for: colorful autumn leaves, legs that work, friends who listen andreally hear, chocolate, fresh eggs, warm jackets, tomatoes, the ability toread, roses, our health, butterflies. What’s on your list?

Some Ways to Practice Gratitude

  • Keep a gratitude journal in which you list things for which you are thankful. You can make daily, weekly or monthly lists. Greater frequency may bebetter for creating a new habit, but just keeping that journal where you cansee it will remind you to think in a grateful way.
  • Make a gratitude collage by drawing or pasting pictures.
  • Practice gratitude around the dinner table or make it part of yournighttime routine.
  • Make a game of finding the hidden blessing in a challenging situation.
  • When you feel like complaining, make a gratitude list instead. You maybe amazed by how much better you feel.
  • Notice how gratitude is impacting your life. Write about it, sing aboutit, express thanks for gratitude.

As you practice, an inner shiftbegins to occur, and you may be delighted to discover how content and hopefulyou are feeling. That sense of fulfillment is gratitude at work.

Author’s content used with permission, © Claire Communications