Just for today, I will be grateful.
I can’t commit to being happy all the time, but I can commit to being grateful, one day at a time. In fact, it is my daily commitment to gratitude that keeps me going. Giving thanks has been part of my life for as long as I can remember; prayers at meals and bedtime, and going around the table at Thanksgiving to say out loud, in front of everyone, what I am grateful for have become rituals that I enjoy. Every time I sit down to write a birthday card I end up expressing gratitude for the qualities in that person that touch my life. Another gratitude practice of mine is when I’m feeling frazzled or anxious, I get out my journal and write out pages of things I’m grateful for, to bring me back to a place of calm and appreciation. At the end of the day, I am most grateful for my family and my health, and all my other worries seem small.
Every evening my partner and I talk about three moments throughout the day that have brought us joy, or comfort, or confidence that we’ve made a difference in someone’s life. We call it “Top 3”. This gratitude practice gives us a sense of perspective, because, despite our worries or stresses, at the end of the day (literally) we have a whole list of evidence of our abundance. Our gratitude practice also helps us focus in on what we most value. Time with our kids, a delicious meal, laughing with friends, a walk in nature are often on our list, and it is these moments that give our lives an abundant quality.
In acknowledging the high-quality moments in our lives, we actually find MORE quality moments. What you look for, you will find. I often have a list of so many more than 3 moments. The simple act of talking about our favourite moments in the day also keeps my husband and I connected, because we are attuning ourselves, every day, to what lights each other up, so we know exactly how to create MORE quality moments in the future.
But gratitude does more than just give us a sense of perspective, and connect us with our values and our loved ones. There is another scientific reason why we need to harness the power of gratitude. A few months ago I interviewed Dr. Maggie Wray, who is an academic life coach with a PhD in neurobiology and behaviour. Dr. Wray explained what is actually happening in the brain when we are grateful. When we are stressed, our thinking becomes very narrow and we can follow instructions, but not think creatively. The simple act of thinking of a few things you’re grateful for in your life shifts you into more creative thinking so you can access solutions. So the next time you’re stuck at work, or you’re staring at a test and all the content you thought you knew flies right out of your mind, start jotting down a list of things you’re grateful for, and you will actually activate the part of your brain that you need to solve the problem at hand. Gratitude actually makes us more resourceful.
Gratitude helps you identify what you really value, attunes you to the high quality moments in your life, and opens your mind to access more creative problem solving! Amazing! Gratitude works!
What three things are you grateful for today?
Deanne is a mother, nature lover, writer, meditation teacher, and gratitude artisan. As a child, Deanne spent her summers mountain biking, reading, and wading in the cold streams of the Rocky Mountains which led to her profound connection with nature, and her love of great novels.