Having a daily habit of consciously being grateful will profoundly transform your life. Gratitude is one of the highest emotional vibrations you can have. It enhances feelings of wellbeing, increases happiness, supports physical health, and manifests abundance on all levels. When you focus on the good things you already have in your life, it brings in more things to be grateful for.
Letting go of your focus on problems and coming from a place of thankfulness, the positive in your life becomes magnified, generating a powerful sense of joy, peace and enthusiasm for life, no matter your outward circumstances. The practice of gratitude will literally re-engineer your life from top to bottom.
Here’s a quick lesson in how to practice gratitude: Recall ten things that you are grateful for right now and say them out loud. Add another five things. Now go to your feelings. Do you feel that instant lift in your emotional state? That lift took you just a few seconds. Imagine how you would feel if you kept up the practice of gratitude throughout the whole day.
What is gratitude and is it easy to cultivate?
To have gratitude means to be thankful for what is in your life right now. It’s a process of noticing the simple things in life, such as the warmth of the sun on your skin, the gentle play of a breeze through your hair, each breath that you take, or the sound of birdsong and the splash of rain drops on the window or pavement. It’s a process of counting your blessings, big and small. When you can do this on a regular basis, your life transforms, and you magnetise more of the same.
The power of gratitude comes from a core deep feeling of sincerity. When you can whisper a prayer in the morning or sit to meditate with an open heart and feel from the depths of your being, a powerful surge of thankfulness for all that is good in your life, positive and empowering changes begin to take place immediately. The experience of deep love and joy will filter into your consciousness and permeate every aspect of your day.
We all know, however, that life can sometimes be difficult and it’s hard to feel gratitude at such times. It’s easy to immerse ourselves in those problems and feel depressed or that life is hopeless as we struggle to find a way out of our difficulties. Human beings are biologically conditioned to prioritise and focus on disasters and obstacles. The mind starts to explore all the ways in which things could get worse in the future as it attempts to formulate plans and strategies to survive.
Neuroscientists call this the negativity bias. When disaster happens, the most primitive parts of the brain are triggered. The amygdala at the centre of our brains is responsible for survival, and it floods our system with adrenalin at the slightest hint of a threat. If one of our distant ancestors whilst roaming the vast plains of Africa had spotted a tree laden with fruit but had not prioritised the sabretooth lurking in the grass, he would very quickly have become a meal for the predator. The negativity bias ensures that we look for possible disaster first and formulate plans and strategies to deal with it.
Evolution has ensured that as a species we are profoundly flawed when it comes to physically dealing with threats. We can’t outrun most predators; we don’t have claws or sharp teeth and are physically weak in comparison to those that would hunt us. What we have is our amygdala and our fight or flight mechanism. Unfortunately, the amygdala can’t tell the difference between a sabretooth and the redundancy notice your boss just gave you.
It can require a lot of persistent effort to build a gratitude practice when our instincts are driving us in the direction of planning for catastrophe. What we are not trying to do is turn off the negativity bias, however. This mechanism has served us well for millennia, but none of us are facing sabretooth tigers anymore.
Deepening the practice
When we consider the problems that we encounter in our lives and the many obstacles that block our path, instead of letting ourselves become disheartened, sad, or frustrated, we can use them as fuel for our practice. We can change our perception. Whatever experience we have had or whatever we are doing in the moment, we can ask ourselves, “What positive thing can I learn from this? What can be good about this?”
If we can see these experiences as opportunities from which to grow, they cease to be negatives, and become incredibly positive. Creating positive energy like this gets us into the flow and builds momentum. Simply through a change of perspective, even the worst of situations can be transformed into the catalyst for something powerfully life-enhancing. Failure is always success when it’s seen as a part of the process of learning. You can create the abundance you deserve by radiating sincere and powerful waves of gratitude for every experience in your life.
We can widen our perspective further. If we contemplate a simple glass of water, we can perhaps acknowledge that without the river or the well from which the water came, the glass of water would be impossible. Implied within the glass of water, therefore, is its origin in the river or well. The water in the river or well, however, must have originally fallen as rain somewhere. So also, within the glass of water is the rain. Rain must of course, fall from clouds which exist in the sky. So clearly, implied within the glass of water are the clouds and the sky. The sky requires the earth itself to sustain it. The earth is also within the glass of water. Without the whole of the earth, the glass of water could not exist. But the earth requires the universe to support it. So implicit within the glass of water is the universe and the whole of creation.