The beginning is the most important part of the work, said Plato. And cultivating gratitude is your beginning towards a happier and more peaceful you.
As you read this article, you will discover that cultivating gratitude is essentially about slowing down and being in the present moment. It is about noticing and appreciating day's gifts.
Very often we focus on what is missing in our lives. We focus our attention on things that we want, and that we don't have. We are constantly wanting and desiring something new and better than what we already have.
This constant desire creates stress and needless suffering.
Have you ever noticed that when you want something and you get it, you will soon finding something that you want even more? And then you get it, and soon, you find something new again.... and the cycle continues. It never stops.
Cultivating gratitude is about stopping this cycle. It is about beginning to focus on what you have, instead of focusing on what you want.
It is about appreciating what is in this moment, about appreciating that you are alive and breathing, that you have your basic needs met. It is about appreciating the fresh air, white fluffy clouds, and the starry night.
To educate yourself for the feeling of gratitude means to take nothing for granted, but to always seek out and value the kind that will stand behind the action. Nothing that is done for you is a matter of course. Everything originates in a will for the good, which is directed at you. Train yourself never to put off the word or action for the expression of gratitude.
Expressing gratitude has become my daily ritual. Every morning, I start my day writing in my gratitude journal. I write what I am grateful for.
There is always so much to write about. I spend about 10 minutes writing without pausing.
On days when it is a bit more difficult to find things to be grateful for, I write about the basic gifts that I have and am grateful for. I may write about being grateful for waking up and being alive, for having heat and hot water, and a roof over my head, being able to write, having paper and pens.
When I am finished giving thanks, I like to say a few affirmations. Here are some of my favorites:
I have everything I need.
I am filling my life with love, peace, and joy.
I open my heart to the wisdom of the ages.
I am enjoying perfect health.
I am filled with gratitude.
Cultivating gratitude has made a tremendous difference in my life. Once I got into the habit of noticing and appreciating what I have, I began to see more of what I have and less of what I don't have. As a result, I became more peaceful and happier.
After all, it is difficult to be stressed out and unhappy when you appreciate all the gifts that you have.
No Act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.
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