I am grateful for this beautiful day.
I am grateful for my family and friends.
I am grateful for who I am and what I have.
I am grateful for love.
I am grateful for beauty.
I am grateful for miracles.
I am grateful for mysteries and magic of life.
I am grateful for all the wonders of the world.
I am grateful for healing.
I am grateful for blessings and divine guidance.
I am grateful for challenges and lessons as they are hidden blessings.
I am grateful for freedom.
Gratitude holds within itself an immense power. It is an incredible tool that can help us change our thought pattern, thus reprogramming our minds and rewiring our brains to be positive, relaxed and more loving. Gratitude turns negative thoughts and thought patterns into positive, which in turn results in feeling better about ourselves and our lives.
We tend to think negative. Negative thinking and stress is part of our ancient mind-body survival mechanism – we need this to ensure that we are safe and nothing threatens our lives. However, as we evolve and progress in time, we face less real dangers and more imaginary concerns. All of our worries and concerns are only thoughts, but they affect us in the same way as real dangers and trigger unnecessary stress responses. We are often not aware of this and think that it is normal. Not really.
Imagine, you have been thinking, worrying and stressing all your life. By thinking in the same way i.e worries, concerns, doubts, etc, for years only makes it harder to break the pattern. We literally wire our brains to think negative by worrying and stressing again and again – the neural connections and pathways only get stronger.
To change our minds, to be happy and loving, we need to change our thought pattern. Words and thoughts have power. So if we use positive words to express our thoughts, over time we can rewire our brains. The process requires some effort, especially in the beginning, but it’s totally worth it! And you can notice the difference pretty much immediately. For example, you miss a loved one terribly, you feel really sad, low, depressed. Try to think of it this way “I am so grateful to the universe for meeting and knowing you. It is such a gift.” Because it is a gift – a gift of love. Do you feel a little different now? More love and a little less bitterness and sadness perhaps?
Here’s what I do. I express gratitude first thing when I wake up; then every time I eat, I take a moment to be grateful for my meal. This is so easy and yet so powerful. When good things come my way, I pause to reflect and to feel grateful – either there and then or at the end of the day. This requires a little more effort and awareness – not to take things for granted, because nothing is! Once you are more aware and gratitude truly flowers in your heart, you will feel grateful even for challenges, illnesses, difficult people in your life, losses. Because every challenge is a hidden blessing. The most difficult part is to keep it up, to remember giving thanks, so that our positive outlook on life can get stronger and bring more peace into our lives.
We can also practise gratitude in relation to others; it serves to strengthen our relationships. Not only you feel better about yourself and your life, you also give others a chance to feel better about themselves, to feel valued and appreciated. For example, you are late for dinner with your friend. When you arrive, you can say “Thank you for your patience and waiting for me, you are such a great friend!” What’s your friend’s reaction? That’s right, he/she is glad to see you and happy that you finally arrived. And what if you say “I am sorry I am late – the traffic was terrible. I was stuck on the bus for ages, so annoying!” Your friend is likely to still feel annoyed, if not even more, with you and waiting. The first scenario is clearly positive and sets a nice atmosphere for the evening, while the second leaves both you and your friend feeling negative.
Of course in the beginning it is quite hard to change old habits and feel grateful instead of complaining again. We are so used to being a victim – why is this happening to me? why me? We all have been there. What’s important to remember is that each challenge is actually a blessing. Have you ever experienced a terrible situation in your life? A tough breakup? An illness? And now, when you look back at it, can you see that it actually brought something good into your life? Like a tough breakup cleared out the old to make way for a true love? An illness led to a deeper understanding of yourself and your needs?
Once you are more aware of your thought patterns and you recognise that they are only thoughts and not your reality, you can see things more clearly. You can see blessings where you only saw hardships before. The less your resistance is towards what is, i.e challenges and problems, the easier it gets to flow through them. The more grateful you are for what is, the more open and receptive you are to receive gifts and blessings. You feel happier and healthier, you feel the healing energy of love.
I came across a quote by Jackson Kiddard about challenges and what they really mean – a great reminder! –
Anything that annoys you is “for” teaching you patience.
Anyone who abandons you is “for” teaching you how to stand up on your own two feet.
Anything that angers you is “for” teaching you forgiveness and compassion.
Anything that has power over you is “for” teaching you how to take your power back.
Anything you hate is “for” teaching you unconditional love.
Anything you fear is “for” teaching you courage to overcome your fear.
Anything you can’t control is “for” teaching you how to let go and trust the Universe.
By being grateful and aware we can transform negative into positive, hate into love, anger into compassion, and as a consequence, stress into happiness, poor health into vitality. Gratitude is an expression of love; it heals.