Gratitude Check: How to Practice Gratitude Daily - The Be Well Place

Gratitude Check: How to Practice Gratitude Daily

It’s so easy to focus on what we are without, but it feels so much better to practice gratitude and fill our minds with thoughts of acceptance. Gratitude gives us peace, purpose and joyful contentment. This feeling phenomenon draws much interest and is currently a hot topic in health care and psychology.

Harvard Health reports that gratitude makes us happier, strengthens relationships and gives our lives more meaning. And when we communicate gratitude to others, everybody gets a rush of the warm fuzzies.

Robert A. Emmons, a research psychologist and professor at UC Davis and editor of The Psychology of Gratitude, states:

Gratitude is an emotion, the core of which is pleasant feelings about the benefit received. At the cornerstone of gratitude is the notion of undeserved merit. The grateful person recognizes that he or she did nothing to deserve the gift or benefit; it was freely bestowed.

Perhaps the concept of “undeserved merit” explains why we are so shocked when people do nice things for us. We’re dumbfounded that people would think of us, let alone go out of their way to actually do something generous. However, we should shift our thinking away from this “undeserved merit” because it keeps the focus on ourselves. Instead, we should focus on the givers by accepting and acknowledging the act.

It doesn’t matter which season it is, what events have transpired or what gifts have been given. It is essential that we practice gratitude on a daily basis so that it becomes a habit. Here are a few ways to reflect on gratitude and make it a part of our everyday lives.

Be Grateful for What Has Passed

The past is past and nothing can be done about it. Some of it was awesome, some of it was heartbreaking. But it was always filled with lessons. And no matter how much we want to hold onto grudges, there are plenty of positive attributes in the tale of how we got to where we are today.

Instead of wishing the past was different and restructuring the story to make it sound more glamorous, let’s learn to accept the way life unfolded. Let’s learn to accept past actions, words and thoughts. Moments of happiness and success. Times when we were the best we could be, and times when we were a lesser version of ourselves.

It’s all part of our story. It’s all been a helluva ride so far. And it’s all over and done with.

Gratitude Check: How to Practice Gratitude Daily - Adjust My Sails - The Be Well Place

Be Grateful for What Is to Come

The future is uncertain. We can’t control the universe, but we can control our thoughts and actions. And it’s our own thoughts and actions that truly determine our future. But regardless of what may come, a deep sense of gratitude and acceptance are necessary to face the challenges, joys and pains that lie ahead.

Nothing is this world is permanent, which makes life so bittersweet. Knowing there is an end date to everything under the sun helps us appreciate what we have while we have it and look forward to what the morrow brings. If everything was everlasting, nothing would have meaning. The temporal aspect of life lets us see the magnificence and wonder of the universe and our existence within it.

Tomorrow will come. And who knows what it will bring. But one thing’s for sure: We’ll take it in stride and be grateful for another chance to truly live.

Be Grateful for the Here and Now

All that we ever truly have is this moment. Right now. Right here. Exactly where and who we are.

The past and future are distant from now and only exist in our minds. They aren’t real. Only “now” is real.

Each individual “now” is a stepping stone along the pathway of our lives, and we must take notice of the stone we are currently on and embrace where we stand. We’re not who we were six stones ago, and we won’t be the same six stones from now. We are standing on the only stone we have, and we’ll never be able to stand on it again.

Of course, reflect on the past to review lessons learned. Plan for the future to help make decisions. But always acknowledge the power of the present and be grateful for what truly is.

Gratitude Check: How to Practice Gratitude Daily - Here and Now - The Be Well Place

Practice Gratitude Daily

You don’t need a five-point plan to practice gratitude on a daily basis. Simply take a breath, acknowledge the stone you’re standing on and think “thank you” for all that you have. Glance at the stones of old and have a quick peek at the path ahead. Then look around and allow yourself to be mesmerized at the wonder of being truly alive.


Sources:
Harvard Health Publications: In Praise of Gratitude
Robert A. Emmons: The Psychology of Gratitude

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