By Shannon Connery – PhD, Lori Russell-Siemer, LCSW
“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”
If emotions were stepping stones up the side of a mountain, love and gratitude would be the pinnacle.
Gratitude opens the heart and elevates the spirit. When we express our gratitude to ourselves, to the environment, to others, we raise our personal vibrations and connect ourselves with possibility. This possibility is then invited into our bodies, minds, and lives, weaving a tapestry of beauty.
An attitude of gratitude sets us up for success.
The more we recognize the good in our lives, the more good we begin to recognize. The more good we recognize, the more good flows our way. Gratitude in essence, is a practice in the art of manifestation. We recognize and appreciate the goodness the world has to offer and then we find ourselves surrounded by more goodness.
Gratitude is a heart opener emotion. When we can appreciate even the toughest experiences we have gone through, this appreciation becomes a catalyst for change.
It allows us to take our power back from a given situation. We can then use that power to change our dream, or dream a new dream for ourselves. When we can be grateful for our experiences, we tell the Universe we are ready to break through patterns of resistance and move onto something else, something better!
When we feel disconnected from gratitude, we have likely lost hope.
The good news is, we can reconnect with gratitude and cultivate that sense of hope, meaning, and purpose in our lives at any given point in time.
The following are some tips for cultivating a sense of gratitude, even when it’s difficult due to the circumstances in our lives.
1. Many people find it useful to keep a gratitude journal.
Each night, they write out 5-10 things you’re feel grateful for. Then read it aloud.
2. For people with children, it can be a joyful experience to incorporate gratitude into rituals like family dinner or prayer time.
Ask everyone to say at least one thing they are grateful for from the day. (This can be an especially useful practice for those who tend to perceive the world through a more negative lens, because it allows the opportunity to find the good and make note of that as well. Over time and with practice, a negative mindset can evolve into a more positive mindset.)
3. If you’re finding it impossible to find anything grateful for, turn to Nature.
Notice how nice it feels to have the sun shining on your face, or feel the wind blowing on your skin. Notice the joy of hearing a bird chirping, or seeing a squirrel frolicking. In other words, find something to appreciate and be grateful for. If you can’t find it in yourself, find it in someone else.
For example, if someone picks up something you’ve dropped, you can be grateful for a helping hand. If someone pays a compliment, feel grateful for the kindness of others. In turn, you can then make it a goal to do something nice for someone else and be a person they feel grateful for in their own day.
4. Try shamanic poetry.
Writing poetry is a great way to notice, express, and heal. The following are some templates:
- You are the _________ of my joy (or love).
Example: You are the friend of my love.
Example: You are the librarian of my joy.
- Beautiful the _________. Beautiful too the _________.
Example: Beautiful the setting sun. Beautiful too the colors it casts.
Example: Beautiful the fluffy white clouds. Beautiful too the clear blue sky.
- As the (something in nature), May my (something in your life)
Example: As the sun rises in the morning, May my soul warm with gratitude.
Example: As the snow melts, May my anger slowly melt away too.
Lori Russell-Siemer, LCSW – www.lorirussellsiemer.com