“Gratitude turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity...it makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” ~ Melody Beattie
I am deeply grateful for gratitude! It has been my lifeboat buoying me up during the most difficult and stressful times of my life. Gratitude has become one of my most powerful self-nurturing practices and has grown into a signature strength. Practicing gratitude has empowered me to be resilient and overcome so many challenges in my life. The power of gratitude is that it beautifully transforms anxiety and negativity into positivity and hope.
You see what we focus on influences how our thoughts flow. When we feed ourselves with positive grateful thoughts and recognize the blessings in our lives, we short circuit our negative thinking and make space for more possibilities. Brain research reinforces these finding and highlights the many benefits of a gratitude practice including increasing psychological wellbeing, enhancing positive emotions, improving self-worth and self-confidence, decreasing depression and anxiety, improving sleep and optimism, and strengthening social support. For gratitude to have a meaningful positive impact in our lives we need to practice it regularly.
There are many ways to embrace the nurturing practice of gratitude starting with waking up and being grateful for another day on this beautiful Earth! You can integrate gratitude throughout your day by including gratitude at meals, saying thank you for help and support you receive, acknowledging your gratitude for the amazing people in your life, writing thank you notes, identifying three things you are grateful for before sleep, keeping a gratitude journal, texting family and friends what you are grateful for each day, and regularly pausing and acknowledging your gratitude for being alive.
We often look outside ourselves when we think about what we are grateful for. I invite you to include something you are grateful for about yourself each and every day. This practice will reinforce your value and worth and lay the foundation for focusing on your strengths rather than listening to your critical and negative self-talk. Choosing to embrace the nurturing practice of gratitude will positively change how you view yourself and your life and support you in transforming life challenges into empowering lessons and growth.
One of my family’s favorite gratitude practices is the ABCs of gratitude. We start by naming something we are grateful for that begins with the letter A, and then go through the alphabet. It is such a joy to find new things to be grateful for each day as a result. What is wonderful is that our ability to be grateful can be cultivated with a daily practice, which fuels a feeling of hopefulness and positivity as a family. I often say I am grateful for gratitude (a good one for the letter G), and I invite you to find fun and creative ways to bring more gratitude into your day.
As you think about how to embrace the nurturing practice of gratitude in your life start by reflecting on the following questions:
- Where can you include one new gratitude practice in your day?
- How can you invite others to join you in this nurturing practice?
- What are three things you are grateful for about yourself?
The brilliant Albert Einstein understood the transformative power of gratitude when he wrote, “There are only two ways to live life. One is as though there are no miracles and the other that everything is a miracle.”
I hope you will be inspired to open to the miracles in your life and to embrace the nurturing practice of gratitude as you nurture peace in the world from the inside out!
Sending you peace, love and gratitude, Kelley Grimes, MSW