Learning Gratitude

photo credit: blavandmaster <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/38134034@N04/34308521873">The sky above</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/">(license)</a>
Start here…

Quite recently I have been learning to be more grateful…or perhaps a better way of saying it is; “I’m Practicing Gratitude.”  Only to discover that at the beginning of my day, if I was presented with a disturbing thought or situation…BAAM…forget being grateful about anything. No matter how hard I tried, no matter what tools and tricks I used, holding onto an attitude of gratitude was impossible!

We all know the beneficial aspect of maintaining a positive mental attitude, based on the popular book by Napoleon Hill; “Success Through A Positive Mental Attitude.” Here are a few of the phrases popularised from the book:

  • “You become what you think about”
  • “There is very little difference in people, but that little difference makes a big difference.
  • “Whatever your mind can conceive and can believe, it can achieve”

These phrases sound great but how easy is it to maintain them throughout your day or even to start the day with this kind of attitude. In my experience…it’s very hard…unless.

Yes it is possible, even highly probable, that you can…with a little help.  Let’s start with why…but don’t confuse the why questions, with the victims lamentation, “why oh why, does this always happen to me.”  No…I mean the “why is this a worthwhile effort”.

  1. If the above phrases by Napoleon Hill are remotely true, your life will be a more pleasant experience by adopting them as behaviors.
  2. Negative thought patterns over an extended period have been show to have detrimental affects on your short and long term health.
  3. Gratitude is the precursor to everything…it’s the first step towards life changing beliefs and habits.  Whatever you desire, whether it’s money, health, or success, you know it can’t come from an attitude of despair, discouragement or self denigration, (the 3 D’s).
photo credit: blavandmaster <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/38134034@N04/34977586412">Through the darkness</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/">(license)</a>
I’m grateful for blue.

Now back to the “little help” i mentioned above. You probably already know that having a gratitude list is step one.  If you don’t, take a few minutes and write down at least three things your grateful for. They can be as simple as, I’m grateful for my friends, my dog, the food in my fridge (assuming you have  these things). It’s important that you write them down, perhaps keep the paper in your wallet or posted on your bathroom mirror.  No this is not the little bit of help I mentioned, I promise it’s coming.

The little help comes from your imagination and may  require some practice.  Allow yourself to close your eyes and imagine a time in your life that made you laugh, make a short movie about it…watch the movie until you smile and maybe even chuckle a bit.  Now pick another time that made you feel happy and loved…play it until that warm glow wraps around you like a comfortable blanket. Now one more…a memory about when you were amazed at how the universe worked so magically…let your eyes open, feel the crinkle of your forehead and your jaw start to drop…  How do you feel when you watch your new “home movie”, I’ll bet you feel…FANTASTIC!

Now go back to your list read them over while your still lingering with the feeling that was created by imagining your new home movies.  You see, the trick is that gratitude is a feeling, not a thought. You have to have the feeling or it’s just another pleasant idea that doesn’t change your life one bit. Because you added the feeling by playing your new home movie…it feels like the first time you have ever been grateful and fully aware of what that means.

One more thing…you have to practice this to make it easy. Practice does not mean make a religious exercise out of…practice means when you notice that your not feeling good, perhaps a little down, or you just got some news that doesn’t feel good…BAAM...that’s when you practice it. Because if it was too easy you wouldn’t bother.

Here’s to you being without limits.

Mark

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