While many people may believe that donating to charitable organizations or offering support through another large gesture is an expression of gratitude, the reality is that is giving. Giving back is an admirable personality trait to have and it makes people feel good about themselves. Not necessarily happy, but good. True gratitude isn’t about giving back externally; it’s all about acknowledging self. Gratitude shows up as an internal state of being, whereby you acknowledge that you are grateful for the way events have unfolded in your life. It’s important to note that there is a difference between donating and gratitude and it can be viewed like this. I donate because I am blessed to have an excess of money and I’m choosing to share this with those who are less fortunate than me. That’s giving back and feeling good about self.
I am grateful because that stranger pulled my child from in front of a moving vehicle. This is profound gratitude an internal thankfulness. This creates harmony within, which when expressed outwardly touches all facets of your life.
Choosing to find gratitude with large and small events that occur throughout our day has the potential to flip the script on all that we believe about self and the life that we are living. It can change someone with a pessimistic view on life to someone who is hopeful and optimistic. Practicing to consciously add gratitude positively impacts our health and well being on all levels psychologically, physiologically and spiritually by reducing stress and tension.
Cultivating a gratitude mind set is easy. It takes a commitment to journal once daily on what you are grateful for and finding gratitude in situation that may not have left you with the warm and fuzzies. Being stuck in rush hour traffic and needing to make a stop at the grocery store to pick up last minute ingredients for dinner is a layer of stress that many people face daily. It creates a myriad of feelings from being overwhelmed or underwhelmed to being angry, frustrated, put upon and tired which can be expressed as argumentative, disinterested, not feeling well or even transference. As you feel your level of frustration begin to rise, consciously choose to change your internal dialog. Acknowledge that you are frustrated and what you are frustrated about. Consciously move forward from there by expressing to yourself what you are grateful for in “this” moment. I am grateful I have a car. I am grateful I can drive and not have to take public transportation. Be grateful you can afford gas. Be grateful that you got to work and are getting home safely. This is a powerful personal enrichment tool that changes your self talk. It’s easy to implement and is guaranteed to bring major positive changes to your life. Reflecting on your day and journaling by selecting the high points and flipping the script on the low points empowers you to think, act and react in a proactive way to situation as they arise.
When you successfully change your internal dialog to reflect a more positive outlook, it creates happiness. When you are happier in your life you communicate better because you have clarity of mind. When you are truly happy no one can breach that barrier unless you choose. People will respond to you differently when you show up differently…happy And as a result of communicating more openly and effectively, you build stronger relationships and can heal relationships from the past that need to be healed. Consciously practicing having a gratitude mind-set will become a way of life.
I suggest having both a personal and a family gratitude journal. At the end of each day write three or more things that you are grateful for. Things that you experienced. Write in both journals. The personal journal is for your eyes only. The family journal is for all members to share their experiences with. With the advent of the internet the family journal can be created online. This is a great way to include children who are away at college or parents and siblings who live in other states and or countries. Once a month re-read all that you are grateful for.
The power of the gratitude journal is twofold; the daily entries that you make support you in feeling good about yourself and your life.
And if you are going through a rough patch re-reading your entries can support you in finding your center point and alleviates some of the stress allowing you to focus on searching for effective and variable options.
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