In the midst of our turbulent lives, it is all too easy to be overwhelmed by life’s challenges. Concerns about family, money, health, and employment can easily take over your consciousness.
Are you living or are you firefighting?
It is normal to struggle with these mental blocks. But imagine for a second how different your world would look if you took those fears, worries and stresses and re-routed them into gratitude.
Living in gratitude is not about ignoring life’s obstacles and setbacks; instead, it is about reminding yourself to be thankful for the positive. By dedicating time to gratitude on a regular basis, you will eventually find your mentality shifting – and you may even start to turn negatives into positives. Here are 4 tips for re-plotting your thinking so that you can learn to live such that gratitude is an integral part of your life.
Make gratitude a daily practice.
The most important step towards living a life of gratitude is to incorporate it into your daily routine. A gratitude journal is a relatively easy way to introduce thanksgiving into your everyday life. The premise is simple: each day, jot down a few of the things you are most grateful for. It can be productive to use this practice both upon waking in the morning and immediately before going to sleep at night. Framing your day in terms of gratitude helps to recast each day’s events in terms of positivity rather than stress and turmoil. You can even download smartphone apps that prompt you to make daily gratitude entries.
Practice being grateful for the tough things.
At first, it will feel most natural to acknowledge gratitude for the positive things in your life. As you introduce thankfulness into your life, push yourself to feel appreciative of the challenges and obstacles as well as the “good” things that happen to you. For instance, if you are experiencing strife in a relationship, be grateful that you are discovering new things about your needs and wants. Being thankful for life’s difficulties does not mean that you ignore what is challenging about them – instead, focus on how those challenges propel you forward in self-discovery and self-actualization.
Say “thank you” out loud whenever possible.
Mantras are powerful in part because the act of verbalising an idea or principle helps coax it into existence. Speaking your gratitude connects the spiritual practice of gratefulness to your embodied existence, and it reinforces your inner thoughts. Practice saying “thank you” to yourself and to others—you may even start a little gratitude revolution in your home, workplace, or community.
Take a vacation from complaining.
Have you ever noticed how many times you utter a complaint in a given day? You may be surprised when you take stock of the sheer amount of complaining that we all engage in on a daily basis. It is unrealistic to ban complaints from your vocabulary altogether – and sometimes complaints are thoroughly warranted. However, practice taking vacations from complaining, even if for short periods of time. You might start by eliminating complaints during or after a certain time of day. See if you can work your way up to an entirely complaint-free day. When you catch yourself beginning to complain, use that opportunity as a reminder to pause in gratitude instead.
Living a life of gratitude is a practice that requires time, patience, and consistent effort. The practice is a worthwhile one, as it reframes your lived experiences around humility, thankfulness, and positivity. As you learn to live in gratitude, you will slowly transform into a more fulfilled and enlightened person.
Image credit: Sundaram Ramaswamy