Gratitude, practiced from the heart, opens the channels for us to receive more joy and happiness in our lives. Every time we say "thank you" for something, more is given to us. We start to see the good in our experiences and in those around us. Do you want to feel happier? Do this 30 Days of Gratitude practice and experience the blessings for yourself.
What we think about over and over is what we attract into our lives. If we're always focused on what we don't like, then that's what we get more of. Pause for a moment and reflect on what you were thinking about shortly before you started reading these words. Were you thinking of positive things, or were you complaining about something?
Why gratitude matters
Imagine giving someone a gift, and they just take the gift and walk away. You give them another gift on a different day, and again, they just take it and walk away. At some point, you'd stop giving them gifts! It doesn't matter if the gift is something physical, or your time, or a compliment. Eventually, you wouldn't give to that person anymore.
When we don't express gratitude, God stops sending more good things to us. Blessings that he wants to give to us sit in wait. If you're not thankful for what you already have, why would you be given more? When we don't say 'thank you,' we deny ourselves blessings!
Gratitude isn't something to be expressed only on passing occasions. It's not just for the times when we receive a "big" gift or something we've really wanted. Gratitude must become a state of being for us if we to are find true happiness, joy, and fulfillment in our daily lives.
Gratitude Brings Abundance
When we are grateful in all things, we see the abundance that is ours. When we are ungrateful, we fall into the trap of seeing only lack. We get stuck in a cycle of disappointment and unhappiness.
"Many people who order their lives rightly in all other ways are kept in poverty by their lack of gratitude," said Wallace D. Wattles. "The grateful mind is constantly fixed upon the best; therefore it tends to become the best; it takes the form or character of the best, and will receive the best."
If you want more goodness in any form to come into your life, start with the simple practice of expressing thanks for all of the wonderful things you already have.
Learn to be thankful for all things
As you mature in your understanding of gratitude, start expressing thanks for the things that seem bad or negative to you. Did you lose a job? Be thankful. You child was diagnosed with cancer? Be thankful. Your favorite sweater was destroyed in the wash? Be thankful.
Why should we be thankful for these types of "bad" things in our lives? Because all things are for our good, and are to give us experience. There are many, many stories of wonderful blessings that come from what at first appears to be tragedy in life. There are also multiple places in the scriptures where we are told to give thanks for all things (1 Thess 5:18, Eph 5:20).
How to be grateful
It might seem silly to learn how to be grateful. But the truth is, there is a way to practice gratitude so that it comes from the heart, and not just from the head.
When most people make a gratitude list, the simply make a quick list of things for which they're thankful. Family - check. Friends - check. My health - check. But this type of listing is just that - a list - without any emotional involvement. It may as well be a to do list!
You want to attach feeling to each item for which you are thankful. You want to be thankful in your heart, not just in your head. It's the feelings that bring about the change in our state of being.
Here's the general format for your gratitude list:
I am so grateful for __________ because it makes me feel __________.
It's important to get the feeling for each thing. As you make your list, really think about why you're grateful for that item and how you feel.
So the process for practicing gratitude goes like this:
1. Make a list of 10 items following the format above.
2. Take the time to get the feeling for each item on your list.
3. List past, present and future items.
The entire process need only take about 10 minutes. It's important to be consistent and do this every morning.
Eventually, your goal is to feel grateful for things as you're going about your day as well, not just for 10 minutes you've set aside in the morning.
Being grateful brings more happiness to your life
- Having a grateful heart brings blessings and abundance in all forms. The more we express gratitude, the more we open ourselves up to receiving.
- Practice gratitude every morning for 10 minutes. Focus on the feelings associated with the things you've written on your list.
What positive changes have you seen by being grateful?