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The art of practicing daily gratitude

I can’t express how much better my life is since I began practicing daily gratitude.

It really all started many years ago. I think I was about 18 years old, and I read a book called ‘The Secret’ by an amazing author called Rhonda Byrne…have you heard of it? It was very famous at the time.

Looking back, I was maybe a little young to truly understand the meaning and impact of manifestation and the Law of Attraction. We’re all different but for me I don’t believe that at that age I had the ability to truly implement all the wisdom and lessons in the book. Let alone really understand them.

So, with that in mind just a couple of months ago I listened to ‘The Secret’ again via audiobook. And WOW! Its impact on me was not lost this time. I took so much away from listening to it and I loved every second. I reflected on all the ways that I have and have not been using the Law of Attraction throughout my life. I was finally able to see that my own energy can truly impact the outcome of my life’s events.

This time, with full adult sized ears on me and all my life that I have now experienced, when listening to ‘The Secret’ my greatest take away was gratitude. How our gratitude can change our outlook and positive energy in this life. So that’s where my gratitude journey started, and what an amazing journey it has been!

The big questions I want to talk about today and hopefully answer are:

What are the benefits to a gratitude journey?

How do you start your own gratitude journey?

I had some help with starting my own because once I had finished listening to ‘The Secret’ I went on to listen to ‘The Power’ and ‘The Magic’. These are sequels where the author gives you loads of great tips and advice about how to put the Law of Attraction into practice in your everyday life.

Strangely enough, my rediscovery of ‘The Secret’ and the follow up books coincided with me seeing an old friend for the first time in many years. I’ve known this friend since childhood, and she’s got a beautiful soul, but she has been through a few tough years with her health and family issues. She told me that she had started to practice gratitude, and that she began this to help herself through these hard times. She said that her gratitude journey started as a way to remind herself of the positive elements in her life.

Her gratitude practice is strikingly simple. Every night as she lies in bed preparing to sleep, she thinks of 10 things that she is grateful for, she lists them to herself. 10 things that brought her happiness. 10 things that helped her that day. 10 things that she can rely on. Once you start, she swore it really is easy to do:

1. I am grateful for my family.

2. I am grateful to have a safe home.

3. I am grateful for the comfort of my bed.

4. I am grateful for my children or grandchildren.

5. I am grateful for my spouse or partner.

6. I am grateful for my job or the coming weekend.

7. I am grateful for the movie I enjoyed.

8. I am grateful for the coffee I drank in the morning.

9. I am grateful for seeing the sunset today.

10. I am grateful for my health.

When she broke it down like that the gratitude journey just became a whole lot easier.

With this inspiration I decided to start my own gratitude journey. I decided that being on a gratitude journey would be the best way to overcome intrusive and negative thoughts that I had about my life. I started out by copying my friend, every night I would go to bed with the intention of speaking my gratitude list in the universe before I went to sleep. It worked sometimes but, if I’m honest with you, not all the time. Not because I couldn’t find things to be grateful for but because I was so exhausted ninety percent of the time, I’d simply fall asleep before I got a chance to even start the list.

I needed a new plan.

The real turning point came for me when I began to actively try to replace my negative thoughts with positive thoughts of gratitude. Every time I caught myself thinking or saying something negative I began to be aware of it and I would try to replace it with a positive thought. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still now not always successful at this but I am definitely moving in the right direction.

Part of my downfall is getting swept up in the negative energy of others. I find it easy to sway my thoughts from negative to positive when I am alone, I have a harsh word with myself and say,

“No, let’s turn this around. What is positive about today, this situation, this person, this place, your life in general.”

But when you’re in the office or out with friends and the conversation turns to how much you all hate your job, or that one girl you knew in high school, or how much your partner annoys you when he doesn’t wash up the breakfast dishes. This type of conversation can be very difficult to overcome in the moment. Trying to politely turn it around to a positive topic is challenging.

I’d love to give you an answer of how to successfully manage that, but I can’t. I haven’t worked that one out yet.

What I did start to do successfully is list all the things I am grateful for on my Facebook profile, I call it my gratitude list. I began creating the list by thinking I could list 10 things daily but that didn’t always work out. I quickly realized that I could list 10 things, or 20 or 2 or 1 or 8 or 5. The quantity didn’t matter at all it was the intention that counted. It’s the way it changed my thought patterns. It’s the way it might help others to find their moments of gratitude in the day, no matter what problem is happening externally. It’s about taking accountability for how you feel and for the good you choose to recognize in your day-to-day life.

The benefits of my gratitude journey and my gratitude lists have been incredible. This might sound like an over statement, but it really has changed my life. As with us all life can feel overwhelming but tasking myself to make a daily post about gratitude has helped me to readjust my thought patterns about my own life. It’s given me opportunity to truly think on a daily basis about the things in my life that are so important to me and that I am so lucky to have. Rather than using that same mental energy to fixate on what I don’t have and the tiny details in life that aren’t important to me.

A gratitude list can:

- Readjust your thoughts from negative to positive.

- Help you to remember what is important in life.

- Build up your focus on the good in life.

- Help others to do the same.

- Allow you to see the small and big joys in life.

- Make you happy for what you have rather than what you don’t have.

How to start your own gratitude journal?

Planning and sticking to the plan are sometimes the hardest part but kindness is always key in life and it’s also important to first remember to be kind to yourself. So, when we say a ‘daily’ journal it doesn’t have to be every day if you can’t manage it and it doesn't matter if you forget one day. This is for you, the truest form of self-care, so just do it for you, be kind to yourself and forgive yourself if you don’t complete it but keep trying anyway.

I don’t always manage to complete my gratitude list every day and I don’t always fill it with 10 things I am grateful for, but I do start out with the intention and to me that is half the battle won.

For me I felt that putting my gratitude list on social media held me accountable to some degree and that it may help others to start doing the same. I do get some comments where people list the things, they are grateful for too…so in my own small way I am spreading the word of gratitude.

My advice is to start with one idea. That’s all it takes because one thing to be grateful for in your day is enough. Maybe from that one idea you might find another and another and another. You might just have one. Remember this gratitude list is for you and about you. You’re not competing with anyone.

Another great way to start is with a picture. Sometimes I’ve taken a picture that day that reminds me to be grateful. The sunrise on my commute to work, the kids, my pets, a beautiful flower, my favorite food, or a TV show I love.

Do you love your couch? You worked hard to buy it, it’s a comfort and place of safety after a long day. Say it to yourself. I’m so grateful for this couch, I’m grateful I can own it and enjoy it.

Can you walk around at work or run after your kids? Be grateful for that, you are blessed to have that health. Say it! I am grateful for my health and all the pleasures it brings me.

I took a picture of my coffee today and it’s the one I’m going to use to start expressing my gratitude. Because I love a cup of coffee. I love it cold, hot, large, small, with milk, or a straight espresso. I love to drink it first thing in the morning, or on the way to work. I love it in the evening (decaffeinated) after a meal with friends. I love to go out and have someone else make it and I love to brew it myself at home. So, if you follow me on social media it’s safe to say you will often see coffee on my daily gratitude lists.

Today I am grateful for:

1. This cup of coffee.

And my list is started…just like that!

There are some things that make it onto my gratitude list every time I write one. Friends, family, my home, my health. So much so that over the months that I have been actively trying to have more gratitude, gratitude has been so much easier to find.

I find it everywhere now. I hope that you will do to.

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