Not That Gratitude Stuff…!
by Dr. Barbara Lowe
Yep, most of us see the word “gratitude” and tune out. Our response to hearing the word “gratitude” is akin to happening upon a commercial break where we either want to fast-forward to our show or get up for a snack. There is something about “counting your blessings” or “making a gratitude list” that makes us want to pass over the notion and move onto something more interesting. I wonder why that is?! Most of us believe that gratitude is a healthy practice, but do we really believe gratitude could change our lives?
In fact, it can! Our own minds are often enemy number one regarding having a more fulfilling life, with pessimism and judgment being chief offenders. Gratitude can be a powerful antidote. Why not give it a try? Perhaps you might take me up on the challenge to set your intentions toward the practice of mindful gratitude this holiday season. Let yourself delight in the luxurious power of grateful thoughts daily, even hourly, and watch how your mood lifts, anxiety drops, and your inner experience becomes richer…warmer…more satisfied. Here are a few strategies for enjoying mindful gratitude:
- As you wake up in the morning, allow your mind to slowly and purposefully roll over five things for which you are grateful, while attending to your bodily and emotional sensations of gratitude. Allow yourself to anticipate good coming your way in the day.
- Engage in a similar activity every evening before bedtime, using your mind to sift and sort through the contents of the day until you find the gems of the day, again while attending to your bodily and emotional sensations of gratitude. Immerse yourself in the goodness of the day’s bounty.
- When you face a challenge, shift your thinking to gaze at the full landscape around the problem, as if it were a multi-faceted gem. Allow yourself the look at the gifts that are coming to you through the challenges.
- Set your smart device to send you an hourly gentle reminder to have a mindful moment of gratitude. Allow yourself ponder on something for which you are thankful as you “go inside” with, and relish in the pleasant sensation of gratitude.
- When you interact with others during the day, experiment with intentionally thinking positive and grateful thoughts about those individuals. Notice how this changes your sense the relationship, the person, and yourself in positive ways.
As we head into the holiday season, let us engage in this virtue of gratitude rather than trying to fast forward the notion. Hereby we can transform our experience, our mood, and our relationships!