Think back to the last time you felt gratitude.
Was it because someone showed you kindness? Perhaps a stranger went out of their way to help you find an item at the grocery store. Maybe a friend paid you a nice compliment out of the blue, at the perfect moment when you really needed to hear it most.
Or did it stem from something unpleasant? Maybe as you were driving through a busy intersection, you had a close call with another car that narrowly missed yours. Or an ill family member’s prognosis turned out to be better than anyone expected.
It can be easy to recognize and show gratitude in situations like those, which naturally elicit that response from your body.
Gratitude is one of the most important experiences that we have as humans and it can manifest in a million different ways.
It can show up as the flooding feeling of relief. Or like a weight lifted from your shoulders. It can blossom slowly, the feeling of love spreading over you, wrapping you up like a warm blanket. Or even the soft subtle moment of a fleeting thought of kindness.
But the best thing about gratitude is that it’s a gateway emotion.
Imagine that gratitude is a door way.
If you feel and show gratitude toward life, that door will open to higher vibrational emotions like love, joy and peace. But if your focus is stuck in lower vibrational emotions like anger, desire and pride, that door will be slammed shut.
We’ve all been there and I’m sure you can recall a time when someone did something kind and you looked at it with indifference or maybe even with an emotion like anger or greed.
“Joe did more at work today than I asked him to, and it did help me out…but that’s his job, so….”
“Yeah, Sally did this one nice thing for me…but look at all of the things I do for her, all the time! That’s the least she could do!”
If you find yourself reacting in this toxic way, do a course correction!
Stop yourself and rephrase the thought in a positive way.
“Joe did go above and beyond today and it saved me a ton of time. I’m grateful for his good work ethic.”
“I might do a lot for Sally, but it’s always things she truly needs help with. It makes me feel good when I help her, and I’m grateful for her reciprocal generosity today.”
The more you practice gratitude, the more you’ll find your perspective shifting.
Our human brains naturally tend to view the world with a skeptical, fearful, and negative filter. But the more we practice gratitude, the easier and more natural it becomes to view our day-to-day experiences with a positive filter.
Practicing gratitude releases your mindset from that toxic thought spiral, and positivity, growth and happiness will replace it.
Remember, whether you view your experiences in a positive way or a negative way, it truly is just a filter. It’s your perception. There is no such thing as objective reality; only perception.
Your perception becomes your reality and everything you build in your life – personally and professionally – all stems from the version of reality you choose.
There’s gratitude to be found everywhere.
In all experiences.
The key is to remember that energy follows thought.
What you focus on will grow – if you choose to focus on what you are unhappy about, your unhappiness will multiply.
Focusing on those lower vibrational emotions will in turn lower your body’s energetic vibration.
You’ll find yourself continually thinking about those things that are making you angry, sad or the longing for what you don’t have.
You’ll start thinking negatively about yourself and then those toxic thoughts will start seeping out and infecting the thoughts you think about others.
The longer you’re stuck in this downward spiral, the deeper those thorns dig their way into your spirit, causing your energy field to become more and more unbalanced.
Your entire wellbeing is sustained by your energy field. Your higher self, your energy and your body always want to be in balance. So, the farther it is pushed from balance, the more negative thought patterns, physical pains, illness and disease will manifest.
But if you choose to find the gratitude in every situation, you’re choosing to walk through that door into true, sustaining happiness. You’re choosing to stop that spiral in its tracks and you’re bringing yourself closer to balance.
I challenge you to write down something that you’re grateful for every day for a month.
Write it in the format of, “Today I am grateful for XYZ, because….”
Try to avoid obvious things like, “Today I’m grateful for my spouse because he/she is my support” or “Today I’m grateful for my home because it provides a safe place for me to live.” etc.
I want you to dig deeper.
“Today I’m grateful for my body’s ability to experience physical pain. Even though my neck has been hurting for three days and it’s been really uncomfortable…I’m grateful for it because pain is my body’s way of telling me there is an imbalance somewhere.
Now I can find the imbalance and heal it so that my pain leaves and doesn’t return.”
“Today I’m grateful that the project I pitched to a potential client was rejected. I worked really hard on it and I was disappointed to have it rejected, but I’m grateful for the experience because it’s shown me areas that I need to grow in first, before I would be able to execute a project like that successfully. Now I can find the tools I need in order to be successful next time.”
By reflecting on your day and consciously finding gratitude in all experiences, you’re shifting your point of view to be able to see the bigger, broader picture of your life.
You’re removing yourself from the reactionary response of toxic thought: “My neck hurts, what a pain… this needs to go away, now!” or “The client hated my pitch, I’m a complete failure!” and you’re allowing yourself to think and feel with your true, higher self.
At the end of the month, take a look back at all that you’ve written. See how your perspective has changed.
Is it a little easier to find the good in all situations?
Is it becoming more natural for you to share your gratitude with others?
Continue to practice gratitude on a daily basis and know that you’re walking through that door to a more enlightened self.