Happiness is a habit to be cultivated. The best way to choose happiness on a daily basis is to express gratitude. Practising gratitude has a wonderful clarifying effect on your life. In a world filled with so much negative influence being grateful helps to maintain a positive mind set. We can so often focus on what is wrong in our life, losing perspective of the wonder of day to day living. Even in the toughest of circumstances there is always something to be grateful for.
Choose a time to sit for a few minutes every day and write down something that you are grateful for. Don’t limit yourself. If you find it flows, note it all down. Your journal helps frame your power of gratitude every day and brings your focus to all those things you are thankful for. It can be a powerful exercise before bed time as a reflection of your day. Even if you had the day from hell I bet you can find something to be grateful for.
This doesn’t have to be a great spiritual ritual, keep it simple. When you wake think of something you are grateful for. Before the busyness starts to colour your day isolate just 2 minutes and express your gratitude. Before you get out of bed. When you open your eyes cultivate this conscious habit. With practise you might find that your day unfolds a little differently.
Similarly, using bedtime as a trigger for a little gratitude can also benefit you physically, mentally and emotionally. When you climb/collapse into bed think of one or two things about your day that you are grateful for. The more taxing your day the more crucial the practise! After a few nights you will begin to habitually express your thanks and hopefully put your mind in a relaxed and peaceful state for sleep.
See the blessings
Sometimes it can be hard to be grateful when things appear to be going wrong. We often only see the positive aspects of a seeming negative situation after the event has passed. Yet if we actively look for the positive in the negative at the time it can often be found. I was recently moved by a Facebook post a lady had written. She was still recovering from a car accident from over a year ago but posted that the relationship between her son and husband had improved so much as a result that it made sense of her negative life event.
Psychologist Robert Emmons conducted a study in gratitude and found that people that practise gratitude consistently benefit from:
• Stronger immune systems
• Less bothered by aches and pains
• Lower blood pressure
• Exercise more and take better care of themselves
• Have better quality sleep
• Positive emotions are at a higher level
• More awake, alert and focussed
• Experience more pleasure
• More optimistic
• More forgiving
• More outgoing
• They feel less lonely
• More helpful, generous and compassionate
Practising gratitude moves our consciousness from lack to one of value. With this all things change.