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Discovering the Power of Gratitude

By on September 13, 2014
Grateful for Green & Golden Bellfrogs in the Garden

It’s long been known that the practice of gratitude is a great way of gaining a sense of happiness. No matter what stage we are at in life we can all chose to practice the gift of gratitude, to help us find inner peace. Long-term studies support gratitude’s effectiveness, suggesting that a positive, appreciative attitude contributes to greater success in work, greater health, peak performance in sports and business, a greater sense of well-being, as well a faster rate of recovery from surgery.

 

But while we may acknowledge gratitude’s many benefits, it still can be difficult to sustain. So many of us from our early childhood have been trained to notice what is broken, unfulfilling or lacking in our lives. For gratitude to meet its full healing potential, it needs to become more than just a word. We have to learn a new way of looking at things, create a new habit. And that can take time.

 

That’s why practicing gratitude makes sense. When we practice giving thanks for everything in our lives, no matter it may look like, instead of complaining about what we lack, we then give ourselves a chance to see all of life as an opportunity and a blessing.

 

Remember that gratitude isn’t a blindly optimistic approach in which the bad things in life are whitewashed or ignored. It’s more a matter of where we chose to put our focus and attention. Pain and injustice exist in this world, absolutely, but often we cannot do anything about it and so when we focus on the beauty of gifts of life, we not only gain a feeling of well-being, but also send out positive energy to areas that really need it. Gratitude balances us and gives us hope.

 

There are many things to be grateful for: Sunny skies, colorful autumn leaves, children’s laughter, legs that can walk, friends who listen and really hear, chocolate, warm hugs, fresh eggs, warm beds, tomatoes, the ability to read, being able to smell the roses, our health, butterflies, loving animals. 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 be better for creating a new habit, but just keeping your journal where you can see it will remind you to think in a grateful way.

 

• Make a gratitude artwork, create a collage of drawings or from cutting out pictures.

• Practice gratitude around the sharing of food and make it the last thing you think of before you go to sleep.

 

• Create a game for yourself where you find the hidden blessing in a challenging situation.

 

• When you feel like complaining, encourage yourself to make a gratitude list instead. You may be amazed by how much better you feel.

 

• Notice how gratitude impacts your life. Write about it, sing about it, create poems, send cards to those you are grateful for. This is a really easy way to do that

 

As you practice including gratitude in your daily life you will discover an inner shift beginning to occur. You may well find yourself delighted to discover how content and purposeful you are feeling. That sense of fulfillment is your gratitude at work.

For me- The photo here of the Green and Goilden Bellfrog was taken in my garden – I am extremely grateful for this as when I worked as wildlife artist at Taronga Zoo I was involved in the release of some of these beautiful animals back into the wild, after having been bred in captivity becase they are at danger of becoming extinct. Now I beleive having them naturally in my backyard is something to be so incredibly grateful for. Expecially as I know how precious they are and hopefully can do all that is needed to keep them safe

About Trypheyna McShane

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