Suggesting that by simply focusing on being grateful, you will be happier may seem trite, but there is amazing power to gratitude. Each time I stop for a minute, take a look at my beautiful surroundings, think about all that I have in my life, I am bathed with a sense of calm and joy. By being thankful for my life, my husband, my family, my cats, the flowers, the trees—I can go on and on—I am not only putting my focus on all the positives in my life, I am also receiving positive energy and sending positive energy towards all those creatures and things that make me thankful. It is giving and receiving love at its core. And that makes the world a better place.
So you may think, “Rachel, isn’t it a bit too spiritual or woo woo to think that your gratitude actually has an impact on the world?” And my response is “Call it what you like, if being thankful makes you feel good and it makes others feel good, how can you not call that love? And how can that not be healing and marvelous?” Any positive experience you create in the world will have ripple effects beyond you.
The energy of being grateful can be almost physical. An astounding aspect is that when bathed in a real gratitude session—inhaling the elixir of life and feeling deeply grateful—you feel the sense of joy flowing through your body. You feel the positive energy dancing within. When in that place, you cannot imagine a life otherwise. You cannot imagine how you have lived a second without this feeling of gratefulness for people and animals and nature. That sensation surely is contagious.
I am a big believer that your surroundings are incredibly important to your livelihood and sense of joy. Certainly nature is wondrous to me and to many people for providing surroundings worthy of tremendous gratitude. Your living space has the opportunity to be as important in sustaining your gratitude as nature. How do you surround yourself with sights and sounds and textures and tastes that invoke and exercise your gratitude muscle?
For me having objects of personal significance nearby is one way to envelop me with gratitude. Like the cuboctahedron wood block that my dear husband Andy carved that sits on my desk. Colors that I love heighten my experience of thankfulness. I adore the combination of hot pink and bright orange so I am sure to have those colors around. I am so appreciative that my husband and I painted my office a beautiful lavender shade that makes me smile everyday. I scent my air with natural oils to heighten my physical experience. I listen to the birds chirping or I listen to music that awakens me and I give thanks for the human and animal musicians.
You might have noticed that I haven’t even yet mentioned the power of actually telling someone how grateful you are for all that they give you in life. Thus far, I have been extolling the virtues of internally being grateful. Often in the discussion of being thankful the focus is on telling others how you feel. And absolutely you should do that too. For now, I am suggesting that you have an awesome power inside you to make yourself feel joyful and filled with calm and love. Practice eliciting your own experience of being grateful and you will find that you have the tremendous capacity to create your own positive experience in any given moment of life. Use the power of simply being grateful to live more joyfully.
Ask yourself right now, “What am I grateful for in my life in this moment?” Breathe it in deeply.