The best things in life are
free. It is important that we never lose that awareness. So look around
you. Wherever you see friendship, loyalty, laughter, or love, there is
We are given 24 golden hours every day. They are one
of the few things in this world that we get free of charge. Even if we
have all the money in the world, we could not buy an extra hour. So what
will we do with this priceless treasure? We could make the best of it
and be grateful for the gift.
Gratitude is like a human muscle.
The more we use it,
like faith, the stronger it grows, and the more power we have to use it
on our behalf. If we do not practice gratefulness, its benefaction will
go unnoticed, and our capacity to draw on its gifts will be diminished.
find blessings in everything that happens to us,
knowing that every step forward is a step toward achieving something
bigger and better than our current situation.
This is the
most powerful attitude to adopt, for there are blessings in everything.
Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It
turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into
acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal
into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. It makes
sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates hope and vision
for tomorrow. It allows us to amplify the good
things, the good people in our lives and even the goodness in us.
UC Davis, researcher, Robert Emmons, PhD, in his book,
Thanks! How Practicing Gratitude Can Make You Happier, showed clearly in
his research that we can strengthen our ability to recognize the
gifts in life by practicing gratitude. Let us discuss some of them:
We can, over time, learn
to better notice the beauty around us and to identify ourselves in that
beauty. We can learn how to slow down and savor the goodness. There is
so much beauty around us to relish and enjoy.
not happy people who are thankful; it’s thankful people who
We learn to recognize not
only the gift, but also the giver. We grow to understand that many
people have helped us along the way, providing us with what we could not
do for ourselves. We no longer take people for granted; we realize that
we are deeply connected with the people in our past and present; that
they have helped bring us where we are today.
Gratitude is more than
just a feeling. We can experience it just by being grateful. Practicing
gratitude is an overall approach to life. We are learning to see through
a different perspective; a perception of abundance rather than scarcity.
We can’t be anxious, (envious, angry, worried, etc.) and grateful at the
same time. Gratitude is an attitude consciously cultivated; an
orientation, which can eventually become a habit.
Charles M. Shelton,
Ph.D., has developed a daily examination of the gifts and
blessings in our lives by writing encode positive experiences in our
memory. Breaking down the day's events in different categories, helps us
become more aware of our blessings:
Enjoy your senses. During holidays
and special occasions, taste the varieties of food, lovingly prepared;
delight in the tiny white lights strung along the streets; revel in the
deep winter colors, the sumptuous velvets and rich brocades. Savor
the beauty of the world around you.
People and Relationships:
We gather with friends and family
during the holidays and special occasions and feel deeply connected
with those we love. We feel a sense of belonging. We go out at night; we
visit each other in our homes; we dress up and go out on the town, we
enjoy good entertainment.
The Big Picture:
As you focus on your life, take
the long view. This is a good time to reflect over the past year. Focus
on what was good. Was there a difficult situation you handled well? Was there an experience that helped you
to grow? Did you receive an insight or an understanding that changed you
for the better?
Taking in the Good:
Another suggested gratitude
practice has been developed by Berkeley researcher, Rick Hansen, Ph.D.
The practice of taking in the good, uses your mind to change your brain
to change you for the better. It has been shown that practicing
gratitude actually changes the brain chemistry.
Let us look for positive facts and let
them become positive experience; let ourselves feel good if we get
something done, if someone is nice to us, or if we notice a good quality
The good news is, the
more we practice gratitude, the more often we experience it and the
deeper we experience it. Being thankful is a choice we can make in any
given moment. Let us take the time to relish and savor the gifts in our
lives every chance we have.
Gratitude Lightens Our load
By Tim Pedrosa
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Today, you should celebrate what an
unbelievable life you have had so far: the
accomplishments, the many blessings, and, yes, even the
hardships because they have served to make you stronger.
Just as a gem cannot be polished without friction, nor
can a life be perfected without trials. Take some time
to acknowledge your life and to praise yourself.–Unknown