One of the easiest ways to find peace is through gratitude. With mindfulness many think about getting back to their breath. Lately I’ve been also practicing gratitude in addition to those moments of breath. It not only helps me focus but also helps me calm my mind, ease stress, and boost confidence. This method is a silent whisper and reassurance that everything will be ok. It’s the massage your heart may need to be soothed or the hug your spirit needs to be uplifted.
In Brené Brown’s latest book, “Atlas of the Heart,” she says, “Gratitude is a practice that can enrich our lives in meaningful ways.” I love this not only because it’s true, but it nicely summarizes how powerful practicing gratitude can be. How can a seemingly small act have the power to improve or enrich our lives? From what I’ve experienced, it’s a mindset shift. Regardless of what life challenges I’m experiencing, the moment I acknowledge what I’m grateful for there is an instant change in my mood. It’s as if by pausing to be consciously grateful, my problems don’t seem as bad, challenging situations seem more bearable, and I have the motivation to keep pushing through.
The other thing I’ve experienced is when I show gratitude, more moments to be grateful for show up in my life. When you express gratitude for what you have, you attract more of what you need and want. I am extremely grateful for the time I get to spend with my friends and family – quality time is my love language. I always show gratitude for the moments I am able to spend time with them, as a result over the past year I’ve been blessed with more opportunities to connect than ever before. I’ve met new friends and spent intentional time with old friends – even making some reconnections. I’ve been vocal about gratitude for the state of my relationships with my children and husband. I have three children with very different personalities and as hard as it is sometimes, I try to have consistent moments of connection with each of them. These moments have built a level of openness and vulnerability that I’ve always wanted to cultivate with my children. I’m more in tune with them and when parenting gets hard, I am able to recall those moments that I’m grateful for. Doing so, regulates my reaction and helps me navigate the hard times with a lot less frustration.
As I mentioned in my blog post, “Celebrating Your Life’s Achievements,” my husband and I have had a great 20th year of marriage. I am so very grateful for this season of our marriage, and I continue to maintain that feeling. Like my children, showing gratitude for our relationship has allowed for more positive connection. Whether we are at a Hawks game, taking a walk, or sharing a meal we have been having fun! We are in tune. I appreciate the goodness of our love and the goodness continues to overflow.
What I’ve learned:
(1) I don’t lack anything: I’m equipped with the talent to succeed, and I’m blessed with relationships that feed my soul. I show gratitude for these basic truths as a reminder.
(2) Trust the joy: When everything is going consistently well, don’t doubt the feeling! It’s definitely easier to show gratitude when your mood is great and all is well. Don’t live in anticipation of the feeling leaving you.
How can you use gratitude to make yourself a priority?
(1) Show gratitude for you! I’ve created this movement to empower women to make themselves a priority. It’s only right that you show gratitude for yourself first.
(2) Practice gratitude daily, regardless of your mood. Even if you feel you’re at your lowest, write down two to three things you are grateful for no matter how big or small.
(3) Have fun and find a resource that you enjoy to help you focus on gratitude—books on the miracle of gratitude, a nice gratitude journal, and pen, or even a gratitude jar. These resources will help you track your thoughts and even spark more ideas. It’s always fun to look back and see what you wrote.