I woke up this morning feeling a little down in the dumps – no particular reason why (although it could be good old fashioned hormones – who knows!?) so I decided to ask a question on my Facebook: “What are you really happy/excited about in your life right now?” and within just a couple of hours I had over 15 lovely replies with answers from “Fresh starts!” to “The arrival of Spring!” and “My horse” to “The morning with my son :-)” plus many others of course about work, life, spiritual development and more.
Not only did this barrage of happy thoughts do wonders for my mood but it also had me thinking about gratitude and how important it is in one’s life. On January 1st 2012 I started a ‘gratitude diary’ and ever single evening since then, without fail, I have written in there at least one thing that I am grateful for from that day. I have to say it’s more than a little satisfying to be now in my fourth month and able to see so many different things I written. Pages and pages of lines and lines of specific things that I am grateful for.
So what benefit does that actually give I hear you ask? Well for me it has helped to be much more positive in general. Instead of looking for the bad I am looking for the good and this can be quite transformational in every day life. Yes s**t happens but it’s how you deal with that situation that makes you who you are. Not forgetting of course that we are in control of our own thoughts and feelings so in any given situation you can choose to be angry, depressed, sad, frustrated or you can choose to look for something good and so move forward rather than get stuck.
You may at this point be thinking “I don’t choose to be angry/frustrated/sad, events happen and I feel that way, I would not choose to feel bad!” and I would quote Mahatma Gandhi “You can chain me, you can torture me, you can even destroy this body, but you will never imprison my mind.” It’s so easy to forget the true power of the mind and in particular the unconscious mind. Whether you choose to agree, or not, it has been proven that we have the ability to control our thoughts and therefore our feelings just by utilising our powerful minds.
I appreciate that when you’re feeling bad it’s very easy, and sometimes almost enjoyable (in a weird way), to wallow in that feeling when what we ought to be doing is realising that it is just a feeling and that feelings are fluid things and that we have the ability to choose to feel the emotion and then let it go. By holding on to these feelings we are not doing anyone any good and just like anything in life practice makes perfect.
So how is this linked to gratitude? Well if you are aware that you can choose how you feel then you can practice feeling good more often. Baby steps, done often will naturally become big strides and soon you’ll be amazed to see how positive you feel every day.
When you find yourself in a situation where you would normally feel a negative emotion, stop for a moment and remind yourself that you have the power to choose how you feel. Then step back and look at the situation and find something positive from it and then focus on that.
Now this might seem tricky to do at first but the more you use this technique the easier you will find it.
So lets give you a few examples:
You loose your job
Positive thought = You are being given an opportunity to find a new path. When one door closes another opens and though the path may not be clear at first it is a time for you to find your passion and go after it. Take advantage of this change to do something wonderful.
You have a friendship/relationship that falls apart
Positive thought = What have you learned from this experience and how can you use that learning to take you forward in a more empowered way? There are many connections that you will make in your life and each gives you something different to enrich it. As they say – You meet people for a reason, a season or a lifetime. There is always a lesson to be learned from each person and there will always be something positive that you will take forward with you.
You’ve put on weight
Positive thought = you have enjoyed the food you have indulged in to gain the weight and it has given you an opportunity to see what weight you wish to be and so you can create a goal weight and then work towards achieving that goal in the knowledge that you will feel empowered and proud of yourself for the effort you will have gone to to achieve your goal and loose the weight. Focus on the weight you want to be, not the weight you are.
This leads me very neatly into the power of positive thought and the law of attraction. Said simply, whatever you focus on you will create. So focus on good things and good things will happen. Find the good in every situation and you will always be able to find good in every situation.
Have you noticed how positive people are that way, even when they’re stressed, or having a tough time? This is because they are looking for the best in every situation rather than focusing on the bad. By looking for the good you are also focusing on the path that will lead to your goal.
If you are in the dark, look for the light and then take action and walk towards it. If you sit still in the darkness you will never reach the light, despite how much you moan about it not coming to you. In order to reach your goal you need to decide what it is, focus on it and then take action towards achieving it.
For this year my purpose is to write every day something that I am grateful for and already this is helping me to feel more happy and grateful every day, as I am consciously looking for and appreciating so much more than I was.
If you look for the good you will find the good and when you create a habit of looking for the good in things then you will create great things.
Why not start your own gratitude diary and see how wonderful it is to be grateful every day.
Ending with a perfect quote:
“Gratitude, like faith, is a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it grows, and the more power you have to use it on your behalf. If you do not practice gratefulness, its benefaction will go unnoticed, and your capacity to draw on its gifts will be diminished. To be grateful is to find blessings in everything. This is the most powerful attitude to adopt, for there are blessings in everything.”
Love and blessings