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Gratitude is a gift to yourself

Open the heart and be grateful for life
Open the heart and be grateful for life

Acknowledging that which you feel gratitude for improves physical, mental and spiritual health. Expressing and acknowledging gratitude lowers blood pressure, creates a stronger immune system, allows better sleep and lessens depression. When focused on the positive, stress is kept at bay. Gratitude focuses on the positive, the parts of life that are appreciated. Acknowledging a positive moment in the day will amazingly cause more positive feelings and emotions to surface. The simple uttering of a thank you, a smile to a co-worker or stranger or an unexpected kind gesture will build a world filled by matters to express gratitude to and for. The truth is each individual in this world is part of a bigger whole. What is given, learned, received or uncovered in a day is not caused solely by one’s soul, but also by others surrounding us. The more we appreciate and receive life enhances the ability to give and receive more, more commonly called the Law of Attraction.

Too often we are consumed with life and situations that there is a failure to realize we constantly put out vibes, both good and bad, which in turn have an effect on the bigger picture – the Universe. If we choose to be still and reflect on the fact that we are living the life we create and if we choose to create it with chaos and negativity, we will reap the same; however if we shift focus to receiving and creating moments of gratitude, we not only cause a shift in our daily life, but influence the lives of those we have contact or a connection with. Personal attitudes do have an influence on how we act and react throughout the day and it moves beyond us. Negative choices affect physical, mental and spiritual essences. Life doesn’t happen to us but is created by us. Taking time to notice opportunities for which we are grateful and appreciative creates more positive power to move forward.

A shift of focus to the people, places, events or personal comforts that deliver love, contentment and gratitude in life should be the focus as we grow older in age and wisdom. Such a shift will benefit the body, mind and soul. Experiencing each day with gratitude will allow one to feel more alive. Because gratitude is about mindfulness, it’s a character strength that is extremely easy to shift. Mindfully choosing to recognize a grateful situation is something that may be achieved immediately.

Instead of waiting to share the lessons and benefits of gratitude, teach children to be grateful. Sharing this lesson at an early age will help them to look for the positive in difficult situations. An easy way to begin teaching children about gratitude is by introducing the practice of using a gratitude journal each day. Have the child spent as little as five to ten minutes a day drawing pictures of people or events from their day that they feel grateful for or by writing down points of gratitude. An alternative to a journal is setting time aside each day to reflect on the day. Each of you share moments when one felt gratitude and thankful. As adults, a gratitude journal is a perfect way to reflect on the day’s moments of gratitude.

Begin sharing gratitude at home. Expressing a thank you to members of the family, whether it be a partner, parent, roommate or children, will strengthen these relationships and build a stronger, more positive home environment. Encourage all to post notes around the house as reminders of what they’re grateful for.

More often than not the deepest felt gratitude is for people instead of things; when a person or object enhances your life, take the moment to acknowledge how good a comment, touch or new item made you feel. Feeling gratitude is one thing, expressing it is more beneficial. It’s easy to say thank you and even more meaningful to show it – to yourself or another.

Keeping a positive attitude alive is challenging when life isn’t going well. A good way to move through challenging times is to implement what is termed “The Bailey Effect.” Just as Jimmy Stewart, who played George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life believed for a short while that the world would be better off without him, when challenges are getting the better of you and it’s more difficult to feel gratitude, think what life would be life if you weren’t a part of it or exaggerate to the darkest levels what could be even worse in your current situation. As was previously stated, each one of us is a part of the collective whole. Matters can always be worse, so when there is a focus on how much worse a situation could be or how much more could go wrong, it becomes easier to know although life isn’t ideal it could be worse and for that be grateful.

Chuck Danes, the founder of Enlightened Journey Enterprises said, “Reflect each day on all you have to be grateful for and you will receive more to be grateful for.” Mindfully decide to express gratitude for this beautiful thing called life.

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