Be Happy, Practise Gratitude!

“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.” – Eckhart Tolle

How many times have you had that feeling of never-having-enough or never-being-enough? You would expect to be naturally wired for gratitude and not something that you have to practise, right?

You would expect “Thank you” to flow naturally from your lips. Just as it did when your mother took out of the fridge and gently placed in front of you your favourite chocolate cake. Little by little, we seem to forget that air, water, life itself is not something to be taken for granted, but something to be grateful for each and every single moment.


The Meditation Sanctuary View Thailand

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Not yet quite convinced about practising gratitude? Here are three obvious benefits:

  1. Practising gratitude consolidates relationships and gives us a sense of accomplishment. That’s when happiness starts flowing naturally.
  2. Practising gratitude makes us appreciate the things we already have in our life. This is not to say that you no longer have goals, but you start acknowledging what you have already acquired and use that as a basis for further growth. The sensation of never having enough transforms into a feeling of gratitude for the present moment.
  3. Practising gratitude helps you see the bigger picture. Placing the situation back into its context, makes us more tolerant and helps us accept more easily the reality for what it is.

Don’t know how to start practising gratitude? Look at it this way: practising gratitude is like a muscle. The more you practise, the more natural it becomes. Here are some tips to get you started with your practice.

 

6 Essential Ways to Practise Gratitude

1. Make it your habit to be grateful for at least one thing every day

Just before going to bed, close your eyes and take a moment to think about your day. Recall the nice moments throughout the day. Pick an instance in particular that made you happy, that gave you a feeling of accomplishment. Thank that moment and thank yourself for having been a part of it.

2. Practice “I am grateful now”

Reserve several moments throughout the day to take deep breaths in and be grateful for being there, at that moment. Remember all the marvelous things that you are blessed to experience, see, hear, feel, smell in that very moment. Make sure to spend some time in the nature, be it in a park or on your way to work. Recognize the fact that you are one with everything that surrounds you.

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Image Credit: Peace Revolution Facebook

3. Show people your gratitude

How long has it been since your last heart-felt “Thank you!”? My grandfather used to say: “It’s not known until you tell it.” So, do let people you care about know they are important to you. I give you that: in the beginning it might not come as natural telling people “I am so happy to have you in my life!” or “I am grateful for this friendship!” But once you start exploring it, once you start allowing yourself to share your gratitude, it will become more genuine.

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4. Be grateful for the good and the bad

Thanking for the wonderful things in our life is pretty easy, isn’t it? But when we hit the downside of life… Take advantage of it as an opportunity to grow. Ask yourself: what could I learn from this situation? How could I use this to my benefit? Be thankful for this opportunity to overcome a challenge.

5. Keep a gratitude journal

For one reason or another, when I just say “I am grateful for…” doesn’t have the same weight as when I write things down. Once I noticed that, I started keeping a notebook where I handwrite every morning the things I’m grateful for. Some days my head is emptier than a banker’s heart. I keep writing anyhow. I note down things I already did or anything that passes through my head such as “I am grateful for having 10 minutes to just sit down and take my time” or “I am grateful the neighbour upstairs being quiet this morning”.

6. Catch the good in others, but also in yourself

This one is all about training the muscle of acknowledging the excellent deeds of others and of your own. Goodness builds on goodness. The same goes for gratitude. Look around you, observe in a non-judgemental way your behaviour and that of your peers. Take that moment when you noticed something useful and positive happening to go to that person and tell her “Thank you!”. And also thank yourself when you do something that you are proud of. Be grateful for that clarity of the mind that motivates you to keep on doing good.

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7. Pay it forward

How many of you remember that movie with the kid who did a school project called “Pay it forward”? I surely do. I was also in school back then and it had a great impact on me. Some years ago, I took on practising this way of giving back with gratitude. Not only do I try to be grateful for the wonderful blessing I have in this lifetime but I also try to create the context where I do things that people can be grateful for. It works something like “Do to others what you would want them to do to you.”

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Now, let’s read it out loud, slowly, pronouncing each letter: “I am grateful, I am happy!” Did it work? No? What were the chances?! Surely, the practice of gratitude is not a one-time magical phrase that you say and boom, there you go, happiness starts filling you up and everything falls into place. It takes time, patience and commitment. Stick to it. Be grateful for the good and the bad. Accept it, let go of it and keep on being the amazing person that you are!

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