Autumn is the time of year where we give thanks for our families, the food we eat and the lives our life. Well, we are socially expected to or required to in some ways. But what does all of that really mean? And how do we not just gloss over the meaning of “gratitude”?
More and more studies are coming out that Thanksgiving gatherings are getting smaller because family members expect to fight with each other, so they don’t even bother going. All of this focused anxiety can easily be shifted to a focused feeling of gratitude. Here’s how…
Gratitude is an easy word to say, and we often take its meaning for granted. Especially during times of frustration when we get upset and then say “It’s fine, I’m grateful that I’m alive.”
But do we really mean it? Maybe, and if so, do we really FEEL it? Probably not. But that’s about to change. Let’s do a mini-meditation and tune in to the real feeling of gratitude.
Gratitude Meditation(Eyes Open or Closed)
- Think of something you are grateful (or thankful for).
- Tune into what the feeling of “peace” is for you.
- Imagine the something (a person, place, pet, or situation) you are grateful for. See it clearly with your imagination. If you are not a visual person, then tap into what your gratitude choice feels like when you think of it.
- Focus your attention on your heart and how much love you have for this gratitude choice.
- Let that feeling of love and joy fill your entire body. Don’t rush this part! Take your time and feel it from your head to your toes.
- Take a nice big breath in and out.
That only took about a minute. So imagine you are in the kitchen prepping Thanksgiving dinner and something upsets you. All you have to do is take a breath, tune into what peace feels like and go on a quick journey of love and thankfulness.
This won’t solve all your problems, but it will certainly make them easier to deal with because you won’t be as upset. It may actually rid you of being upset at all.
How could you be upset and full of love at the same time? It’s similar to how turning on a light eliminates darkness. You’ve had this tool within you all along.
Another amazing tool for daily focused gratitude is a gratitude journal.
I am currently doing one on my Instagram using the hashtag #21DaysOfGratitude. Lots of people use an actual journal and write down their gratitude. It is very powerful to use your hands and create your intention of thanks.
Typing, posting and speaking is wonderful too but if you are able to physically write something down it will have a longer shelf life in your mind.
Dedicating time and committing yourself to acknowledge gratitude at least once a day is very healing and uplifting. It has the same effect as the meditation and will bring peace to your heart.
If you are happy and healthy and have no worries in the world, then doing this will only increase your joy.
It hasn’t been proven that it takes 21 days to form a habit (contrary to popular belief) but what I have learned from repeating an action 21 days in a row is that I begin to miss it or crave the action when I have stopped doing it.
This appears to be an emotional habit formation rather than a physical one. Either way, it is effective when introducing a positive action into your life. You certainly can’t go wrong expressing thanks for three weeks straight.
Deeply feeling gratitude will improve your health. Here are a few key benefits:
Greater Energy Levels
Have you ever noticed that when you are happy you have more energy? And when you’re depressed you feel sluggish? Practicing gratitude will increase your energy, stamina and overall joy.
When I am exercising, and I feel like quitting, I shift my attention to being thankful that I can exercise, filling my heart with gratitude that I am healthy enough to do cardio, to use my legs and to breathe deeply.
Please do not take your body for granted. Give it your gratitude every day and continue to receive its strength and energy in return.
Feeling Less Lonely
Focusing on gratitude shifts your perspective to the gifts you have vs. what you think you are lacking. When you allow your heart to open up to all the love you feel, it is almost impossible to feel alone.
Focused gratitude also helps with dating. When you put your attention on thankfulness for what you are confident in (humor, smarts, kind eyes…) you spend less time wondering if the other person is noticing what you think are your flaws.
They are not actually flaws, but I understand not being confident in all areas of your entire being.
Fewer Physical Symptoms
– Your body will respond on a physical level to how you are feeling emotionally. When you are happy, which gratitude provides, your blood cells are happy too. This leads to increased heart health, better circulation, and an increased immune system.
You have probably heard the term “mind over matter” or “You are what you think.” This means to the use of willpower to overcome physical problems or to manifest your desires through believing in your thoughts.
When you are not feeling well, and you keep thinking about what hurts, doesn’t it tend to hurt more? But when you think about what you love, what makes you happy, what fills your heart, where you ARE healthy, those physical symptoms actually become less painful and distracting.
For example, I know people who get cavities filled without Novocain because they use gratitude as a form of hypnosis through meditation. It will take practice to be able to do this, but it is possible for anyone and everyone.
You will fall asleep faster and sleep more deeply if you are at peace. Expressing gratitude in a journal, through prayer, meditation or out loud to someone will end your day with serenity instead of worry.
When your mind and ego trick you into worrying, you can remind yourself what you are thankful for and put your worries aside. Worrying is simply a state of being. It doesn’t actually solve problems, and it certainly doesn’t help you sleep.
Lastly, it may help you to have a calendar reminder pop up that simply asks “What are you thankful for?” Just be sure to spend a mindful minute actually thinking and feeling your answer.
For inspiring gratitude quotes search #gratitude on your favorite social media platform. My twitter is a daily resource for feel-good quotes and inspiration.
May you have a peaceful, loving, forgiving Thanksgiving and may you always react with a grateful heart!
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