During this time of the year we hear an awful lot about being grateful, giving thanks and living with gratitude. So yes, we know it is “good” to give thanks and to give respect to the blessings in our lives. And, most of us can sit down and conjure up a list of all the things we are grateful for – like our families, our friends, good health, our jobs, a home, fresh clean water, etc. Perhaps the real question is what specifically makes us grateful about our family, our friends, our job, and where we live. What would your life look like if “this or that” didn’t exist? These hard questions can lead us to a new level of gratitude… one that we may have never experienced.
So then, what is gratitude? By definition, according to dictionary.com, Gratitude (noun), is “the quality or feeling of being grateful or thankful”, and the British dictionary defines it as, “a feeling of thankfulness or appreciation, as for gifts or favours”. Gratitude, derived from the Latin word gratia (meaning grace, graciousness or gratefulness), eludes easy explanation simply by the “book”. Gratitude is an emotion; it is an experience of counting one’s blessings, and of realizing what or who you are thankful for, and being able to express it. The synonyms for gratitude (thanks, thankfulness, appreciation, and gratefulness) give a deeper understanding of what gratitude looks and talks like. Gratitude is the “feeling that embodies the word, “thank you”. It is the unexpected reward of a kind deed that is magically produced by your brain. It’s the cute, tingly feeling in your body that makes you smile at strangers.”
So we know what it is, we know we need to show our gratefulness, but how do we get deep down gratitude on the inside of us? What does it take to wake up every morning with a heart full of gratitude that it spills out of your conversations with your friends, family, coworkers and even strangers in line at the grocery store?
What will it take to get you in a state of “gratefulness” and how do you stay there? (at least a majority of the time). Perhaps, the solution to the aforementioned problem may lie in visiting churches or participating in a youth ministry program that can teach gratefulness.
Tips on How to Get your Grateful on!
1. Let go of things you have no control over.
2. Forgive. For the sake of your “freedom” and health, begin to choose a path of forgiving the wrongs.
3. Take Inventory. Think, really think about what matters to you. In other words, what do you value most in your life? Not just things or the obvious, but what you truly VALUE… Time? Integrity? Kindness? Friendship?
4. What makes you smile, what rocks your world, what is it that gives you goose bumps? What would MAKE you jump for joy? Write it down on a single sheet of paper, or even on some post-it notes.
5. Be specific with your “grateful” affirmations. Begin with “I am grateful when, for, how”…. For example, “I am grateful for my son’s humor, and the way he makes me laugh.”
6. Surround yourself with positive people, and don’t jump into negative conversations going on around you.
7. Keep a record of your reflections and affirmations either in a journal or binder. Spend 5 minutes each day adding or updating what you are grateful for, such as a newfound love, gift, an accomplishment or achieved goal, or even milestones like “letting go” of a bad habit, forgiving a wrong, or a setting boundaries for your life that bring you the peace and love that you desire.
These are a few tips that can have a large impact. The thought is, begin with you. Get the bottom of what makes you happy and what doesn’t. Toss out the ugly and get beautiful from the inside out. As you do, you will have a new set of eyes to see all the beauty and gifts you have been given. Get your Grateful ON and begin to live a GREAT NEW life.
The Five-Minute Journal. 2013. Created by Alex Ikonn and UJ Ramdas