Gratitude. It’s a buzzword. You hear it all the time.

I’m sure your mother told you to “be grateful that you have food. There are starving kids out there!” when you were reluctant to eat that pile of peas on your plate.

What does it really mean to have gratitude? And why should I be grateful?

Gratitude gives you a positive perspective. When you’re grateful for what you have you can allow more good things into your life.

Set the Tone for Your Day

Positive thoughts perpetuate more positive thoughts. If you start your day with gratitude you will set a positive tone for the entire day.

“Give light, and the darkness will disappear of itself.”
Desiderius Erasmus – 1466-1536, Theologian

I’m sure you’ve met that person who always seems to have a sad story to tell. Their car broke down, and their kid is sick, and the dog has fleas, and the refrigerator doesn’t work and all the food in it spoiled, etc., etc. The old saying, “misery loves company” is really a true statement.

If you start your day off with negative thoughts, they will continue to snowball unless, and until you turn them around by grasping a positive thought, and then another, and another.

The sooner you recognize your thoughts as negative and can switch gears, the better off you will be. What you send out into the universe is what comes back to you.

How do you switch gears? That’s a great question. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the misery we’re feeling that we don’t see a way out. The emotion of despair or anger can be very strong, especially if you’re just starting to work on being positive. There are a couple of things you can do.

A Fresh Perspective

First, you need to recognize the emotion you are feeling as negative. Then immediately take a breath and try to step back from it. Look at it from someone else’s perspective. “If I heard someone talking this way to me, what would I think?” “What would my best friend think if they knew I was feeling this way?”

Taking yourself out of the equation and looking at the situation from a fresh perspective can help in dealing with the problem. Answer the following questions from different perspectives and see what solutions you can come up with.

  • “Is there a good reason for this feeling?”
  • “What is the cause of this feeling?”
  • “What is a better way of dealing with this feeling or situation?”

Try to imagine advice someone would give you if they knew you were feeling this way. Use their advice to help pull you out of the negative emotion.

Imaginative Substitution

My family and I were on our way to a holiday gathering and before we had left home a conversation with one of my relatives had really tripped an angry trigger in me. I was feeling pretty annoyed and was having a very hard time letting it go. I didn’t want to be in a bad mood when we arrived at our destination so I was trying to think of a way to get past it. I really wanted to enjoy the day with everyone. So I took out my journal and wrote this question: “What do I really want?”

I started writing my answer to the question. I described the dream home I want to build in the next few years. I started it at the beginning of the day. I was waking up in my comfortable bed in my beautiful master suite. I proceeded to take a tour of my house and describe with as much detail each room as I walked through. I even added my cat into it as he followed me to each room. Sitting on my lap when I sat down to meditate in the atrium. Chirping at me in the kitchen as I fixed myself a cup of tea.

It has a wonderful, relaxing effect on my mood. I was so happy and at peace in my future home that I forgot all about the earlier conversation that had put my mood off in the first place. We all ended up having a wonderful time that day.

Imagination is a powerful tool. Use it as much as you can.

Count Your Blessings

Giving gratitude for what you have instead of thinking about what you don’t have or about things that annoy you can turn your mood around. It should be pretty easy to come up with ten things you are grateful for. Here’s a few you can start with:

  • I am so happy and grateful now that I have friends and family who love me (or pets).
  • I am so happy and grateful now that I have food to eat.
  • I am so happy and grateful now that I have shelter.
  • I am so happy and grateful for the comfortable bed I woke up in this morning.
  • I am so happy and grateful I have the ability to think for myself.

You can add on from there.

Understand Your Power

You are a powerful creative being. You have the ability to choose the thoughts you think. No one can “make” you think a thought you don’t want to think.

Isn’t that awesome?! No one but you can decide what you think. Practice choosing thoughts that make you happy and at peace. Practice rejecting thoughts that don’t serve you.

Any time you have a thought that is causing you discomfort, take a moment and ask yourself, “Does this thought serve me in any way?” If the answer is “no” then find a better feeling thought.

It doesn’t even have to be a perfectly positive thought, it just needs to be better than the previous thought. Then choose another, better feeling thought until you can find a thought that does serve you. If you practice this a few times it will get easier and easier to grab that positive thought right away.

Practice Gratitude Daily

Coming back to gratitude…it’s best to practice gratitude daily so that you can keep yourself in a positive light every day.

Here is a gratitude exercise suggested by Bob Proctor. Practice it every day for 30 days and it will become a wonderful habit for you.

  1. Write down 10 things you’re grateful for (could even be a future event) – it is critical that you inject this exercise with deep feeling.
  2. Send love to 3 people who are bothering you. By sending them love you can release them from your attention and focus on more positive people and activities.
  3. Ask Spirit for guidance for the day. Guidance can be for anything: a productive day, help with your business, interactions with people. Whatever you feel you need guidance for.

If you take this seriously and really commit to it amazing things will start to happen in your life!

I am so happy and grateful you took a few moments to read my article. 🙂

Go out and make today a positive day!

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