Monday, November 26, 2012

Keeping a Pocket Full of Gratitude (Even After Thanksgiving Has Passed)

The one day per year for gratitude has passed with the leftover turkey, right? 
Well it doesn't have to. 

A friend of mine on Thanksgiving shared this quote:
"If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, 'thank you,' that would suffice." -Eckhart

Experiencing gratitude in your mind, body, and soul has many benefits not just for the object of our appreciation (who doesn't love being appreciated, right?) but also for your mental outlook and well being. When we choose to see our world through the lens of Gratitude, we shift our focus from a place of deficit to a perspective of abundance. Not just noticing things, but actually being GLAD that they exist, and celebrating their existence with gratitude brings them into the forefront of our focus. This allows our brains to grasp reasons for igniting the 'happy drug' in our system, helping us to feel more peaceful, joyful, and appreciative.
How, you may ask, can you get started with a practice of Gratitude? Below are a few easy ways to bring gratitude into your life:

1) Make a gratitude journal:
Each day create a special time (mine is in the morning with my cup of tea) to write a list that fills an entire page--or two--of the things you are grateful for in that moment. This list can be silly or serious, soulful or generic. It can span from feeling grateful for the iPod you rock out to, to the healthcare that keeps you alive, to the puppy dog eyes that stare up at you from your cocker spaniel. Nothing is too silly to skip over. If you're grateful for the good night's sleep you had last night, speak that gratitude into your journal. If you're grateful for the fresh air outside, express your gratitude...and on and on until you've filled your page with reasons to LOVE the life you're living through the lens of gratitude

2) Make a card for someone you are grateful for
What could be better than letting someone know how much they mean to you. Even if it's thanking your neighbor for picking up your mail while you were on vacation, everybody needs to feel valuable and appreciated for their efforts...big or small...
Don't be shy. Shout your gratitude from the rooftop. I guarantee it will make you both feel good.

3)Create gratitude art
Without worrying about what it looks like or how sophisticated your artistic skill base is, just create an image that comes from the place in your heart that feels and appreciates this magical world we live in, and those who live in it. See if you can call to mind a color--or a few colors--that represent gratitude to you, and go from there. Use lines, shapes, colors, and images to touch into what gratitude actually looks like. If you could channel the energy of gratitude, what would it look like? Bright or earthy? Flowing or layered? Maybe your vision of gratitude is a tree with purple feathers as leaves, growing toward a sunshine made out of goldfish...use your imagination and try not to judge the creation that comes out of you.

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