March 6, 2015

6 Ways having a Daily Gratitude Practice Changed my Life.


Sure we all say “thank you”—sometimes.

Yes, we all know we are grateful for our health and our loved ones and our jobs. But how often do we truly lock into the essence of what gratitude feels like and allow it to work its magic? Once I began making a point of being truly grateful every single day I watched my life change in the following ways:

  1. I start my day on a much higher note. I used to wake up every morning feeling anxious. All right, all right: sometimes I still do! But now I do not allow myself to get out of bed until I have listed at least five things to be grateful for. I leave a notebook beside my bed so I can grab it right away and write them down. And I really try to vary them each day so that I challenge myself to look for how much I have to be grateful for. Most importantly, as I am listing them I take a few moments with each one to really connect with how that gratitude feels in my heart. I take a deep breath and picture what I am grateful for and, once I truly feel it within, I move on.
  1. It’s become a habit to look for what’s right instead of what’s wrong. When I realized how much better I felt focusing on the things I’m grateful for, it just started happening subconsciously! When I go out to dinner or take my child to an activity or visit someplace new, what stands out to me now is what I like about it. All the years of first noticing what I don’t like about something and then complaining have melted away because I began choosing to look for what is right about something. I don’t think twice anymore about noticing what I like best and then I further lock in that feeling by verbalizing it to someone. It feels much nicer than complaining!
  1. It has improved my relationships. We all have our beefs with others. We all get annoyed with our kids, spouses, friends and family members. And it seems we are almost socialized to notice and point out all of the things they do wrong. We have no trouble coming up with what they should do instead to please us. But after making a concerted effort to really hone in on what I like about someone, what their strongest attributes are and the contributions they do make to my life, I feel much better inside. And when you feel good about someone and you are allowing them to be who they are, relationships take on a whole new light.
  1. I have even more reasons to be grateful. Think about how good it feels when you give someone a gift and they are visibly delighted over it. And then think about how much you enjoyed giving that gift and further desire to do it again. The universe is like that. There is pleasure and desire to give more to those who are happy and excited and grateful for what they have gotten. I give thanks for and appreciate often all that I receive joy from. Then I watch those things expand!
  1. I have unleashed the power behind saying “Thank you!” Those two simple words hold so much more weight than we give them credit for. We say them habitually, not realizing the gift we are giving others by saying them. And in our giving, we receive. Thanking others for what we are grateful for completes a powerful energetic cycle. When I thank someone, whether it be a friend, my dry cleaner or my yoga teacher, I really thank them. I imagine that thank you coming straight from my heart so the other person feels my gratitude.
  1. I have greater vision now. I look at the world differently.  Even when I am simply taking a walk outside I notice more of the beauty in the world because I have spent the time giving thanks for it. It’s like my sight has expanded tenfold. Because I hold so much gratitude for the beauty of nature, that beauty has grown before my very eyes. And that goes for all of the things and people I encounter. I don’t feel like I am going through life with blinders on anymore, focused on all of the annoying things in my life. I see more love, beauty, support and the things that I desire in my life because I have consciously spent time appreciating them.

So make a Thank You List. Create a Gratitude Box and write down on a slip of paper something you are grateful for about your day and drop it in and read those papers every couple weeks. Compliment the people around you. Start your day with giving thanks or end your day with gratitude as your head hits the pillow. Give the universe a reason to give you infinitely more reasons to be grateful. Commit to at least one thing on this list every day and watch your life change!


Author: Heather O’Neill

Editor: Caroline Beaton

Photo: Pixabay

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Heather O'Neill