2020 is winding down and what a year it has been! Between the ongoing saga of COVID and the presidential election, things have been unpredictable and unsettling to say the least. This Thanksgiving many will be very grateful for the fact they were relatively unaffected by these two issues. But gratitude is more remote for many others because of job loss or lost of a loved one from COVID, or because of great disappointment in outcome of election. I have dealt with a health issue, although not related to COVID and certainly not life threatening. But I have experienced significant pain and down time. In this, I’m once again reminded that gratitude is a powerful antidote.
We ALWAYS Have a Choice
Making the choice (and we ALWAYS have a choice) to be grateful will shift you from chaos to calm, despair to hope, and open your heart to potentiality and possibilities. It loosens the grip of the unwanted past, fear of the future and brings you fully into the present moment. When you are fully present in the moment, regret and fear simply does not exist and inner peace does.
My Favorite Gratitude Practices
The following are my favorite gratitude practices:
Journaling. Writing down a few things you are grateful for is one of the easiest and most popular exercises available. Either once a day or a couple times a week – customize it to work for you. Not only does it feel wonderful, but also can improve your quality of sleep and increase your joy.
Gratitude Walk. As you walk, observe the things around you. Take it all in and take deep, cleansing breaths as you go. Be aware of nature, the colors of the trees, the sounds of the birds and the smells of the plants. Notice how your feet feel when the hit the ground. This brings you fully present in the moment where gratitude always exist.
Gratitude Reflection – my ultimate favorite. Settle yourself in a relaxed posture. Take a few deep, calming breaths to relax and center. Let your awareness move to your immediate environment: all the things you can smell, taste, touch, see, hear. Say to yourself: “For this, I am grateful.”
Next, bring to mind those people in your life to whom you are close: your friends, family, partner…. Say to yourself, “For this, I am grateful.”
Next, turn your attention onto yourself: you are a unique individual, blessed with imagination, the ability to communicate, to learn from the past and plan for the future, to overcome any pain you may be experiencing. Say to yourself: “For this, I am grateful.”
Finally, rest in the realization that life is a precious gift. That you have been born into a period of immense prosperity, that you have the gift of health, culture, and access to spiritual teachings. Say to yourself: “For this, I am grateful.”
Gratitude is an Attitude
You will find when consistently practicing gratitude, you no longer are grateful for this or that, you are simply grateful. It truly becomes an attitude.
Happy Thanksgiving each and everyday of your life! May your heart overflow with gratitude – the powerful antidote to what ails you – a sister companion to God’s grace.
Denna J. Shelton, Copyright, 2020
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