‘Gratitude’ Can Change Your Life

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If you have been feeling overwhelmed lately , you have the power to transform that. Yes — YOU!

Focusing on things that are causing you to be angry, upset, fearful, worried and frustrated will really leave you feeling out of sorts, and unfortunately this resonates with many of us these days. ‘How can I see the good with all the “bad” stuff happening all around?’ Short answer: You choose to direct your focus on the good.

Remember, every moment you are alive is a moment you get to make choices. If everyday you focus on things that upset you, guess what your overall energy will be? Your energy levels drop pretty low as your stress levels get higher. The good news is that good is all around you. It always has been, and it always will be.

See the good

Many of us have not trained our minds to see the good. I’m not talking about toxic positivity either. I am speaking in particular to people who have forgotten or don’t know how to see the good because they have trained their minds to constantly be on the lookout for all the bad things. If you are always on social media or watch the evening news, you know how it can weigh us down so easily. Bad news sells. Unfortunately, it also sells for us in our own heads as our point of focus.

The other side of the coin evokes a feeling of peace. It’s not perfect because it never is. But this is where people consciously choose to see the good in everything, even when things around us are so bleak, uncertain and difficult. The simplest way to do it is to be grateful — for the big things, but especially for the smallest of things, the things that you would normally overlook or take for granted. Start from there and you will be surprised how much you have to be thankful for.

How do I reach a place of Gratitude?

If you would like to experience a major shift in your life today, from pain to joy, from fear to certainty, from anger to love, then do an exercise with me. I promise this will be something that will lift your spirits and perhaps even make you smile. Make sure you are at home and sitting down when doing this:

  1. Take a deep breath.
  2. Close your eyes.
  3. Now, focus on your breathing — the in-breath and the out-breath (this is great for releasing stress too)
  4. As you breathe, imagine you are breathing from the center of your chest (the area where your heart is).
  5. Once you start feeling more and more comfortable, I’d like you to bring up an image in your mind. That image will be of a person or persons whom you love — this could be your mom, dad, siblings, spouse, children, significant other, co-workers, etc.
  6. Now bring up this feeling of gratitude for them. What is it that you most appreciate or love about them?
  7. As you take a few moments really savoring this love and appreciation for these people, turn your attention to thinking of people who love you. These could be the same people whom you love, or the faces could change.
  8. Think about the kindness and goodness these particular people shared with you. Maybe it was during your lowest times, they were there to be by your side to talk and pray with you. Maybe when you were down and out financially, they gave you support. What else can you think about as you see them? Was it an encouraging word? Maybe it
    was just their presence. Whatever it is, you just know deep down that these people love you.
  9. Now take another deep breath. Inhale. And on your outbreath, when you exhale, open your eyes and smile.

I’m willing to bet that some of you who did this exercise are feeling a bit emotional. And if you are, congratulations! You just had an experience of gratitude from the heart.

Now imagine feeling this way every single day!

Choose wisely

Let me be clear. This doesn’t mean that you will no longer have any struggles or challenges , and they will likely not go away in an instant. However, for many of you, a lot of that stress, anger, frustration, and heaviness will be lifted. Some of you have been carrying this weight for years and practicing gratitude from the heart has probably allowed you to breathe just a little bit easier again. Maybe it gave you some mental clarity.

With constant consciousness about this practice, it only gets better because you would shift from fight-or-flight (survival) mode to a more relaxed state. Why is this so important? For a lot of us, since we’ve gotten so used to living in survival mode, we are not even aware that we are there 24/7! Imagine, even in our sleep, we are still constantly chasing after something or fighting someone. And we wonder why we are so sensitive or why relationships are not improving. Thing is, they can’t improve when you are in a constant state of stress.

Being grateful no matter how chaotic your situation is not only allows you to gather your thoughts, it also lets you re-focus on all the good that is around you! Remember ‘what’s wrong’ is always available and you can choose to focus on that. However — goodness, kindness, joy, love and laughter are available as well. The choice is yours.

What would you like to focus on today?