“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” ~ Melody Beattie ~
Are you happy or down most of the time?
A strong characteristic of people who are happy and content with their lives is being grateful and appreciative for what is. Are you thankful for the bad times as well as the good times, trusting that its meaning will become clear- even if you can’t possibly see how at the moment?
For me, gratitude is the core of my happiness. When I forget to be grateful, I lose myself and I lose my positive outlook on life. That’s not a pretty picture! This is an attribute we should all cultivate, for it changes how we feel at our core.
Do you want more serenity and inner peace? If so, try one or more of these simple and effective 15-minute exercises.
1. Create a Gratitude Journal
Each day record the small and large gifts that are enriching your life. It could be a sense of well-being or an exciting challenge at work; maybe it’s your children, friends, or family that bless your life. It is fabulous to look back over past months to see the things that have made you smile and warmed your heart. These really help during difficult times.
2. Take an Appreciation Moment
Stop what you’re doing and breathe deeply. As you do this, think about something you deeply appreciate, or imagine your heart smiling. Even the busiest person can make time for this powerful mood-altering and stress-relieving exercise. As the mind can’t tell the difference between that which is real and that which is vividly imagined, recall a pleasant, calming scene and those things you really appreciate and breathe deeply and fully into it; your body will relax as if you are there.
3. Slow down and smell the roses
Babies and children are fascinated by sights, sounds and smells. The older we get, the more oblivious we become to the everyday sensory pleasures of the world we live in. Try focusing on everyday things like the brilliant color red, a ringing bell or a yummy cake baking in the oven. When we pause to enjoy them, we regain the openness that is an essential part of gratitude. Take a few moments in every day to appreciate all the simple pleasures we can so often take for granted.
4. Create a Grateful Place
Find a convenient and safe place – the refrigerator door, a cork board, or a small table or shelf. Make this a special spot for things you are thankful for – pictures of people you love, souvenirs and memorabilia, handmade treasures, or your child or grandchild’s artwork, etc. Invite your family members to add their own items and set aside time, now and then, to admire the objects and pictures together.
Enjoy the above experiences and the way they make you feel – for being grateful really holds the key to living a joyous life.