Monday, December 2, 2013

The Benefits of Gratitude

The holiday season and Thanksgiving is upon us. A time to appreciate all of the wonderful people and gifts we have been given throughout the year. Actually, taking this attitude of gratitude a step further and making a decision to be grateful each and every day will reap benefits beyond your wildest dreams. A research on Gratitude and Thankfulness from the University of California, Davis has shown that grateful people report higher levels of positive emotions, an increased sense of well being, life satisfaction, alertness, determination, vitality, optimism and lower levels of depression and stress. According to the findings, people who feel grateful are also more likely to feel loved, exercise regularly and make more progress toward personal goals. Gratitude also encouraged a positive cycle of reciprocal kindness among people because one act of gratitude encourages another. Considering all of these benefits, why aren’t we in this state all the time? Being in a state of gratitude is simple, but not always easy. It just takes a little practice. If you are speeding through life, chances are you, like many, are whining, wailing and missing out on blessings that are right in front of you. Imagine a tiny shift in your perception moving you into a state of joy. Something to reactivate your thinking and make your life work again. Living in gratitude and counting your blessings is that something. Each moment counts when we are grateful for it. We value who we are and what we want to accomplish. Our heart opens, our life changes, it feels good, and it’s free. We laugh at our setbacks because we know we can redirect our mind from its turmoil to a state of peace in the blink of an eye. Consciously utilizing the power of gratitude is an extremely important aspect of attracting the Abundance and Happiness that we all desire and deserve. We can't possibly control everything in the world but we can control our perceptions about ourselves and what is going on around us. The unwavering systems (Universal Laws) have been put into place, and we only need to learn to operate in harmony with them to allow the good into our lives. When in a sincere state of gratitude, the energy (vibrational resonance) is one of acceptance and harmony, and as a result projects a much higher vibrational frequency, thereby attracting the events, conditions, and circumstances that we desire and all the good that God or Source wills for us. Gratitude is an acceptance of life just the way it is, which in turn projects a much different resonance of energy creating a magnetic force that is conducive to attracting more blessings and miracles into our lives. Once it is fully grasped and understood that our current experiences are merely guideposts showing us that we are either on the right path of creating desired outcomes or that some adjustments need to be made in our thought processes, we will become empowered to express heartfelt gratitude for whatever is currently happening in our lives. In the bigger scheme of things, Nothing EVER goes "wrong." It is only based on a lack of deeper understanding that you "perceive" something as going wrong. The process of creation is, has been and always will be perfect, precise and unfailing 100% of the time. It is only negative thoughts and perceptions that are responsible for igniting emotions that tend to attract creations that show up in life in the form of events, conditions and circumstances that are perceived as "going wrong." It's important to recognize and express gratitude for the fact that EVERYTHING in your life is a miracle. Those miracles which show up that aren't in harmony with your desired outcomes are merely signs that YOU need to make adjustments within yourself and with your relationship to God, Higher Power or Source. The way we can do this is to shift the focus to something more positive and productive. When we have developed a clear understanding that all things work for the greater good no matter how seemingly “bad” things may appear, it becomes much easier to stay in a state of gratitude. When that awareness is fully developed, not only is it extremely freeing, but we are setting ourselves up for a much greater flow of Abundance and Happiness to occur. God, Universal Consciousness or whatever you perceive Source to be, loves each person unconditionally, exactly the same and only delivers precisely to the extent that we are ready to receive. "As you sow, so shall you reap." If you’re interested in living a life of gratitude, here are my suggestions: Pay close attention to the good that is all around you. Singing birds welcoming the morning, sweet fragrances of flowers, the beautiful changing seasons, wonderful friends and family, pets, a smile from a stranger, a roof over your head, food to eat. A fond memory is created by remembering to focus on the gifts that are all around us as well as a kind word, or a thank you received, after doing a good deed. Take a few minutes each day to give thanks, to who or what you’re grateful for. Make a list and look at it whenever you are feeling down. When someone does something nice for you, however small, try to remember to say thank you. And really mean it. There’s always two ways to look at something. Many times we think of something as negative — stressful, harmful, sad, unfortunate, or difficult. But that same thing can be looked at in a more positive way. Giving thanks for those things is a great way to remind yourself that there is good in just about everything. Problems can be seen as opportunities to grow, to become a more virtuous person. Remember the wise words of Abe Lincoln, “A person is just about as happy as he makes up his mind to be.” Choose gratitude every day and you will be happier. Gratitude is an opportunity to deepen your capacity for love. It shifts anger and upsets. It balances suffering and hardship. And finally, the real secret of gratitude is, the more you are grateful for, the more you will have to be grateful for. Life is a gift ~ be grateful for each present moment.