Would you like to live each day with gratitude and contentment? In this blog, we’ll discuss five actions to help you to build your gratitude muscle.
Gratitude is Not Automatic.
“I am too fat; I can’t hike. My knee hurts; Why did I injure myself? I am just not worthy.”
Does this sound familiar? As we tend to focus on the negative aspects of our life situations, it is easy to become disillusioned. We stop counting our blessings when the universe doesn’t revolve around us. So, we suffer. We complain and get stuck in our daily existence.
However, gratitude can relieve us from endless wants and worries of our own life’s drama. Cultivating thankfulness develops into a feeling of being “lucky.” Consequently, we have a more refined appreciation for the nature of life. Gratitude can soften our hearts and build our capacity for forgiveness, which creates the clarity of mind that is necessary for the evolution of humanity.
Important to realize, gratitude is not automatic. But we can build it just like a muscle by taking the following five actions. To point out, it might be challenging at times, but it’s worth the effort!
Five Actions To Cultivate Gratitude:
1) Action #1: take small steps.
To do: Pause for a few seconds and internally say “thank you” before you dive into your next meal. Feel the gratitude. Allow yourself to fully enjoy your meal.
To do: Say, “thank you” for water next time you wash your hands. Pause and feel the gratitude for water. Do this several times throughout the day.
2) Action #2: start Gratitude journal.
Do it now: Take a piece of paper and write down five things you’re grateful for right now. Don’t fuss around too much. Just write anything that comes to mind.
In fact, I keep a daily gratitude log using a Microsoft Spreadsheet. I am amazed how it instantly puts things in perspective and boosts my mood. You can use a simple notepad, share your comments here or use Google documents.
As a last resort, if nothing comes to your mind, ask yourself these questions:
Think of a person (anyone at anytime) who ever helped you?
Which of your character traits you are you most grateful?
Which of your physical attributes you are you most grateful?
For which aspect of your health are you the most grateful?
3) Action #3: see an opportunity in every situation.
My major role at work is to solve problems or find someone who can do it. Instead of focusing on how many issues I need to fix, I think of it as how many opportunities I have to learn, which also made me grateful for my job.
To do: think of a challenging situation and write one thing you are thankful.
4) Action #4: Express gratitude to others.
Remember, nothing lasts forever. Make that phone call you’ve meant to make. In particular, if anyone comes to your mind while you’re reading this. Share a specific example of something that person did for you and how it made a difference in your life.
With this in mind, I tell my husband how he has changed my life almost every day.
5) Action #5: Contentment:
One of the eight limbs of the astanga yoga is contentment. In Yoga Sutra II.42, Patanjali explains contentment as an invitation to cultivate positive thinking, acceptance, and a humble and serene satisfaction. From contentment arises unparalleled happiness. It is a positive and dynamic asset.
However, being content doesn’t mean being passive.
For example, when we were moving to Colorado, my husband and I still lived in New York City. We were both content and grateful for the city experiences. But, we didn’t want to spend the rest of our lives in the city. So, we worked hard to move.
However, we found joy in our current situation, making the most of every day as we prepared for the change. As many of you can relate, a big move can be a very stressful affair. But, by being content with the experience, allowed us to make a smoother move.