As we approach the celebration of Thanksgiving in the U.S., thoughts of gratitude come to mind. Sometimes it can be a strain to find those things in life that warrant appreciation. Financial hardship, a crummy work environment, relationship as well as societal conflicts - all of these things can bring us down and immerse us in a perpetual state of negativity and complaint.
As hard as it may be at times to pick yourself up from these low points, one thing I have learned as THE antidote to these heavy emotions and low vibes is GRATITUDE.
I know this is much easier said than done. But I tell you that before I sat down to write, I felt low, but once reading through a few quotes on the topic, my mental and emotional states have already lifted dramatically. And it is with this insight that I share some of these quotes with you.
When things are a challenge in your life, it's easy to want to blame others, and/or to wish that they showed gratitude for you. But even though that approach may help you cope with things in the short-term, in the long term, it only perpetuates what's wrong.
Yet for some of us, gratitude isn't something that just appears on command. You have to want to feel it. By gifting this attitude to yourself you invite an up-leveling of your energetic expression which allows for higher level experiences to enter your life. One baby step in this direction is to try to be thankful for ALL experiences, even those that totally suck:
“Develop an attitude of gratitude, and give thanks for everything that happens to you, knowing that every step forward is a step toward achieving something bigger and better than your current situation.” – Brian Tracy
Once you can wrap your head around the value of gratitude - even in hard times - you'll begin to notice the amazing things that happen when shifting your mindset away from what isn't working and lean into what is:
What you focus on expands. By making the effort to leave the comfort of criticism and blame, and allowing yourself to experience joy, before you know it, there will be even more to appreciate. As Oprah Winfrey said, “Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”
To do this, it is important to get your thoughts into the present moment. One method that works well for many is to keep a gratitude journal. There are a lot of gratitude-specific paper-based journals and apps out there. One I just downloaded is called Grateful: A Gratitude Journal (sorry Android folks, this one is currently only for apple devices, but there are other great ones out there you can find with a quick search).
Another helpful tip for getting beyond the habit of negative thinking is to expand your perspective beyond that of your own life. I call this zooming out. Something that helps me to visually do this is to watch Powers of 10, a kitschy but mind expanding video from 1977 that shows exponential worlds beyond our own. In the words of Derrick Carpenter, “Opening your eyes to more of the world around you can deeply enhance your gratitude practice.”
And, as Amy Poehler said, the key to forward progress in life is finding things to be grateful for right now, “I looked around and thought about my life. I felt grateful. I noticed every detail. That is the key to time travel. You can only move if you are actually in the moment. You have to be where you are to get where you need to go.”
Also keep in mind the importance of paying your thoughts of gratitude forward. Even if the person you're grateful for has a hard time receiving it, you never know when kind words will touch their heart. As William Arthur Ward said, “Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.”
But words alone are not enough. Especially when you want to live in authenticity and truth. In the wise words of John F. Kennedy, “as we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”
With that, my wonderful reader, I extend my heartfelt gratitude TO YOU. Sharing my journey with you ignites my soul, and the prospect of touching your life with my words is my guiding light. May you find much to be thankful for in your life, including you, now and always.
Check out this link for the excellent compilation of gratitude quotes that inspired me in this post.
If you're having a hard time finding things to be grateful for in your life, Magical Mind - a 4-week online program currently in the works - can help. Or if you'd prefer some 1:1 guidance, give Detanglement Coaching a try.
Change is always easier with support, so if you've got a change in the works but aren't ready to commit to a program or coaching, please find people who can support you in a positive and uplifting way, to help make your transition a smooth and positive one!
Mindset Monday is a weekly blog that consists of a quote, a comment and one or two questions. It is intended to be short but sweet while providing you with something to ponder related to mindset as you begin your week. Mindset is a choice. Make yours magnificent!
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