Gratitude isn't Just A Principle, it's a PRACTICE
Generally speaking, we know what's good for us as human beings. We know the principles behind being healthy. We know we "should" eat well, move well and think well. But do we? Simply knowing what could or should be done is obviously not enough for us to be our full, thriving selves, it requires action. Eating good food and being active can be hard enough to do consistently because we have so many options and varieties, but they are also extremely tactile disciplines. I know how I feel after I run or after I eat a nutritious lunch, whereas applying the principle of gratitude can seem vague and amorphous. How can we cultivate a practice of gratitude in our lives? While this is certainly not an exhaustive list, I can offer three ideas to help:
1) Make gratitude a ritual. Set a time everyday where you use your words and your body to express gratitude to the universe, to God, to your family and friends, and for the life you have. You write the script, you choose the posture and movement, you choose the time. Whatever you do, make it so that you are tapping into your emotion and not simply repeating words or phrases. Your physiology will shape your psychology and vice versa. I wrote an affirmation that I use everyday in the context of prayer and stretching. What will you do? Make gratitude a ritual.
2) Turn complaints into moments of thankfulness. Catch yourself when you slip into moments of complaining. Feel what that does to your spirit. You own your life, and are you going to let yourself play the victim? No. Find the silver lining. Find SOMETHING to be thankful for and redirect your focus. Most of us have been conditioned by our sense of scarcity and can tend towards complaining, so turning these moments to wire new neural pathways is key. Check yourself before you wreck yourself!
3) Express your gratitude to others in words and actions. Maybe it's a thank you card for a gift, maybe it is an affirmation and spoken words of encouragement. Take time each day to express your gratitude to someone in your life. They will benefit, but so will you! Gratitude is contagious.
Gratitude isn't only a principle, it is a practice. Practice gratitude today.