Our brains are wired to want more. So, in our wanting more we often lose sight of what we already have in our lives. There is a reason that are brains are wired to always want more; it’s what gives us the motivation to continue to set goals, move forward and strive to make change. As such, it takes practice to be mindful of being grateful when our eyes are always on what we want. In those moments when our desires are very strong – and yet we’re feeling like perhaps we’re just not quite there yet – gratitude can feel like an unnecessary part of the creative process, especially when times are tough.
If you do not have a regular practise of gratitude, the initial energy it takes to think about what you are grateful for can be a lot of work. It’s a momentum thing; getting started can feel overwhelming especially when, at first glance, you’re looking from a lens of what you want, but don’t have yet. Start with paying attention to the things you experience everyday that do bring joy, comfort, peace, meaning or connection for you. Sometimes it helps to look back in time when challenges you faced were resolved. Doing this helps to build faith during difficult times. Start by practising gratitude on a regular basis. It creates a flow wherein the more you experience the feeling of gratitude, the more you will experience the feeling of gratitude.
Gratitude genuinely makes you feel good
Naming, acknowledging and appreciating the gifts we receive in life is grounding. It can bring us back to a peaceful centered place especially when life is stressful. I remember when we were in the midst of our most chaotic periods in our family. Exhausted, I would go through the experiences of the day in my mind. Feeling humbled, I would take a deep breath and begin, “Today, I am thankful for…” I would chuckle to myself because on days like these my usual gratitude was, “I am grateful that we made it through another day.”
Sometimes I would search to find further things to create a bit of a list beyond this one initial and very raw gratitude. Other times, I would simply leave it at that, knowing that for today this one is good enough, and that tomorrow is a new day. When forgiveness and gratitude come together, the pain associated with difficult experiences can be healed. An acceptance of things that cannot be changed, brings an aspect of peace to them.
Gratitude often involves the wisdom to let go and the ability to sift through negativity at times. Being truly grateful for challenges when you’re in the midst of intense emotions, can be very difficult. So the gratitude you may experience may initially only be at a very intellectual level and that’s okay. You can acknowledge it, name it and write it down even if you’re not quite feeling it yet. But if you can stay there in your mind, what happens is that eventually it moves and expands from your brain to your body and you begin to feel it a little more each time. That’s when an insight comes. An awareness or an epiphany happens, and then you can truly experience the deep feeling of gratitude.
Gratitude can sometimes be difficult, and that’s okay
Sometimes gratitude can be difficult. Sometimes for some people for various reasons that have nothing to do with them not being grateful. Fear can play a part because trying to feel grateful can trigger thoughts of not trusting that good things will actually happen or that when they do, they will last. When you approach the concept of gratitude from this place, it can be very emotionally heavy.
Once again, start small and be compassionate with yourself. When we are suffering, impatient or working really hard, if we can maintain a consistent perspective of gratitude, we create greater abundance and joy where we may otherwise have only continued to suffer.
Gratitude allows peace to come through in times of turmoil. It adds comfort and solitude and creates alignment in the universe. In true and life-changing gratitude there is a lovely balance of determined will to create more and a softness of heart for the value in what is whether its health, success, abundance, love, joy, peace; deep-felt gratitude is fundamental to our well-being.
For more articles like this one, visit our blog page here.