Gratitude is in the air these days, more and more, as a spiritual practice to uplevel and uplift your life. Authors such as Deepak Chopra, Edwene Gaines, Neale Donald Walsch, Diane Harmony and many more extol the power of gratitude. After all, one cannot be depressed or angry while in a state of appreciation. A main way to practice gratitude is to write 5-10 things per day, small or big, that you are grateful for, in a Gratitude Journal. However, this article takes the idea of being grateful even farther, and suggests other ways to implement the transformative practice of gratefulness into your life. Pick and choose what works for you!
1. Blessing Others
It can be very beneficial to simply send love and gratitude to other people in your life. This practice takes the focus away from yourself if you tend to be self-centered. Think of 5 people per day that you wish to send love and blessings to. Since we are all inter-connected, they will feel your silent message to them and be subconsciously uplifted.
2. Spiritual Time-outs, 5 times per day
Stop work or whatever task you are involved in during your routine day and give yourself a moment of gratitude and appreciation. You can even bring to mind something you wrote down in your Gratitude Journal, or come up with something brand new. This will shift your day and is particularly good if something stressful has come up beforehand. Try it 5x a day for several weeks, and reap the results of more peace of mind.
3. Morning Spiritual Time
Start by taking at least 5 minutes each morning, perhaps reading a daily spiritual guide , or some pages of a positive spiritual or self-help book you are interested in. If you feel comfortable, spend a few minutes meditating by getting comfortable and closing your eyes and just being still. This also might be a time to write your thoughts of thanksgiving in your journal. Pray if it feels right to you. You will be amazed at how this morning centering will start your day so much better. Add more time each day as you feel guided to.
4. Evening Spiritual Time
Devote at least 5 minutes each night before you go to bed, contemplating your day, and thinking of things you are grateful for that happened. There is always something to remember that was a blessing to you. You will find you sleep better and more restfully as you continue this new practice in your life.
5. Blessing Everything That Happens
It can be a challenge to embrace everything that happens, especially the seemingly “bad” in your life. But it can be a wonderful spiritual practice to realize that every single thing that happens to you, is an opportunity for you to grow as a spiritual being having a human experience. It can be tough, but if something upsetting happens, think about it and turn it around in your mind, to find the positive. For instance, if you get a flu bug and are sick as a dog, perhaps you really needed some down time and rest from the grind of day-to-day living. It is liberating to find the blessing in an unhappy event in your life!
6. Nurture Yourself
Do things that show you really love yourself. Be in joy and have fun more often! Here are some ideas to pick and choose from, depending upon what YOU most like.
Take a bubble bath in candlelight
Make a sacred altar on your dresser or table with treasured keepsakes
Spend 20 minutes in nature
Play with a child or pet
Instead of being so darn busy all the time, stop and do absolutely nothing!
Listen to music that soothes your soul
Go to the beach and walk barefoot in the sand
Think of your own ways to pamper yourself
7. Make Positive Affirmations of Gratitude
Find a thought of gratitude that feels right for something that is not as natural to you as it could be. For instance, “I am grateful for the abundance in my life” if you feel poor. You can expand on your affirmation of gratitude, using the present tense and words that resonate with you. Perhaps “I am in deep appreciation for the absolute abundance that pours forth in my life in every way.” Then, put your affirmation in places that you go to all the time, such as on the bathroom mirror, on the dashboard of your car, maybe use it as a screensaver on your computer, etc. As you keep affirming and believing this gratitude affirmation, it will come to fruition in your life.
These seven steps will definitely enhance your life in delightful ways! Give them a try and you will find out.
By Deborah Perdue, author of Grace of Gratitude Journal, www.graceofgratitude.com