Cultivating Gratitude

We talked Monday about the reasons it’s important to adopt an attitude of gratitude.  The question now is, “how do we do it”?    Although we are all born with certain tendencies toward viewing the glass as half-full or half-empty, we can strengthen our brain circuits toward optimism if we practice.  I would suggest trying a few of these suggestions over the next several weeks and see how you feel.  I’m pretty sure it’ll be better than when you started.  Some of these ideas have been recommended by Hans Rippel, a writer for Optimal Functioning. 

1.  Keep a Gratitude Journal.  Keep a log of the things/people for which you are grateful.  It could be as easy as writing down 5 things each day.   Having a record to reflect back upon is a way to lift your spirits, especially at times when you’re feeling down on yourself. 

2.  Make the Right Kind of Comparisons.  There are two ways you can do this.  You can compare yourself and your current life situation to those that are less fortunate, thereby reminding you of your abundance.  You can also feel gratitude toward those that inspire and motivate you, thereby turning around the feeling of envy.

3.  Come to your Senses.  Remember the gifts of sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch.  These are part of being grateful for your health.

4.  Use Visual Reminders.  Place positive words, quotes, cards on your desk, bathroom mirrors, fridge, car – wherever you go on a day to day basis. 

5.  Go Through the Motions.  Do things that make you feel grateful and express your gratitude to others.  While going through the motions, remember to be grateful to those that may have hurt you, for they have also had something to teach you.  

These ideas will help you get started.  I’m sure we have all utilized our own techniques that have helped flex the gratitude muscle.  Feel free to share what has worked for you!

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