Gratitude Grows with Practice
The practice of gratitude can be challenging in times of loss and grief, especially the ability to do so on a consistent basis. When we feel disappointed, hurt, resentful, and angry we are blocking our ability to feel grateful. Following, I'll share with you a handful of the tools I use to cultivate and expand my practice of gratitude. I encourage you to use any tools that resonate with you to further this profound practice. Try to make it a daily, active practice, so you can see real, lasting life changes. When you do, you'll see how gratitude expands in all areas of your life.
Your Gratitude Practice: Tips & Tools
Look for opportunities to appreciate the beauty in your life. Learn to marvel at the small things as well as the “Masterpieces." Soak in all kinds of beauty.
For example, I pause and find gratitude in nature: seeing a hummingbird or butterfly. Also, a beautiful piece of movement executed with precision and grace, a delicious meal with an inspiring presentation (foodie). The possibilities truly are endless.
Spiritually speaking, grace is a gift. It is not earned. We cannot create, control or will it. One way to practice grace is to practice receiving. Another way to experience grace is to practice forgiveness. Don’t focus on who is wrong or right - in the realm of grace and moving toward gratitude there is no room for blame.
Practicing grace daily will increase your openness and willingness to experience gratitude.
Show Gratefulness for the Hard Times
I find this one particularly hard, and maybe you do, too? It helps me to remember that everything has a beginning and an end. All things will pass, eventually, the good (happy) times as well as the sad.
Recognize your limitations. As I recognize my limitations without judging myself about those limitations, I open the door a little bit to humility. Humility reminds me that judgment of myself or others serves no purpose and in that moment I am grateful.
Say “Thank You!”
Receiving compliments and allowing them to sink in is another way to deepen your gratitude practice. When someone gives you a compliment, consider pausing, and taking a breath. Receive the gift of a compliment by allowing yourself to feel it. And say “Thank you!”
Practice Gratitude Journaling
Cultivate a daily or weekly journaling practice- focused on gratitude. Being in a place of gratitude opens us up to acceptance and ultimately, love. We simply cannot be in anger, frustration, irritation or disappointment and simultaneously be in gratitude.
Journaling is a wonderful way to download your feelings, change your emotional state and move into joy, appreciation, and love. I've grown my journaling practice to spend 10-20 minutes daily in gratitude journaling. My writing includes giving thanks for my parents, husband sister, cousins, friends, colleagues, teachers, mentors, my body, my health….you get the idea.
Simplify this process by asking yourself the question: "What am I grateful for right now?" Then take a few minutes to answer the question.
It's not about the length of time you spend, but the practice of changing your mindset.
Write Thank You Notes
I gave myself a challenge many years ago to write 3-5 Thank You notes a day. At first, it seemed like a lot. As the years went by, writing Thank You notes made it to the top of my to-do list and is something I greatly look forward to. In addition to putting me in a mental and emotional space to be grateful, it has improved all of my relationships.
The above are just a few of my go-to tools for practicing gratitude. Please let me know which tools worked best for you. To learn more about other aspects of an optimal lifestyle, contact me to schedule your first session in Meditation instruction or for Optimal Lifestyle consulting.
About the Author
Geneviève Nedder is the director and founder of Body Fundamentals, Inc., a Pilates & Wellness business founded in 1996. She is a certified Perfect Health Lifestyle educator, trained by Dr. Deepak Chopra and his team, and an Ayurvedic Consultant and Counselor. She consults clients of all ages to live an optimal lifestyle through holistic health, meditation, and movement. She teaches one-on-one, group classes, and employee wellbeing programs in person and online. This year she celebrates her 29th anniversary of practicing and teaching Pilates. In addition to specialized and comprehensive Pilates certifications, Geneviève is a Chopra Health Educator.