Several months ago I started a “gratitude practice.” Each day before I get up and again before I go to bed, I say a small prayer of thanks for three things I am thankful for.
This past weekend I experienced a strong dose of the results. I had to prepare for a procedure for two (2) full days. Two days without solid foods. It didn’t take me long to realize how lucky I am that at any time I can go to the cupboard and find something I want to eat. I said a small prayer of thanks. And as the days went on I was grateful for my sister-in-law who kept tabs on my attitude via text and email. And said a second small prayer of thanks. Finally, I was so very happy that my husband kept everything else under control without complaint while I was incapacitated. I said a third small prayer of thanks. That night, even though I would be under anesthesia the next day, I went to bed and repeated these things that made my day, and the most peaceful feeling came over me. In the end I was thankful that the medicine worked this time and the procedure went without incident.
There’s a surge of information about how practicing gratefulness benefits the human body. A gratefulness practice helps lower stress, increases alertness and enthusiasm, it shifts our focus to the positive so that we can see the abundance already present in our lives. Research shows that people who practice gratitude daily are happier and more content.
Dr. Robert Emmons, a psychologist at the University of California at Davis, has been studying gratitude for almost 10 years and is considered by many to be the world’s leading authority on gratitude. Dr. Emmons says, “To say we feel grateful is not to say that everything in our lives is necessarily great. It just means we are aware of our blessings.”
Reflecting on your blessings every morning when you get up sets the tone of your day. When you set the tone of your day in a positive way, you’ll walk through the day more open, more relaxed, and better able to respond to each and every situation of the day in an appropriate way.
Sometimes we can’t see the gift in a situation at that moment. Sometimes the realization comes a little later. But when you trust that you are strong enough, smart enough, open enough to weather any storm, any situation before you, you can be grateful for every moment of life. Appreciating and being grateful for the things that happen in life prepares you to live your life fully.
Once you start practicing gratitude, it will be easier to recognize the little things that bring you joy but are often take for granted. Practicing gratitude gives you the ability to see the beauty in everyone and everything even during stressful situations. Practicing gratitude helps keep you centered so that you can fully experience – the gift of life.
Try this simple practice. Just think about three things you are thankful for each day. Think of three things that make you happy and say a little prayer of thanks. Then see what happens.
Blessings to you.
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