by Linda-Ann Stewart
As a child, I never took my health, abilities, toys, or love for granted. I took to heart the old Persian proverb, “I complained because I had no shoes, until I met a man who had no feet.” I don’t know whether my attitude originated from the times I spent in the hospital around those much sicker than I was, or because I had a couple of disabled people in my family. But I was always grateful for my mobility, intelligence, talents, and friends. Even to this day, whenever I watch a television program or see someone with fewer advantages, my first response is compassion and my next is to be thankful for what I have.
Studies are piling up that being grateful for the small and large things in life makes a person more optimistic, healthier, sleep better and increases their sense of well being. Additional research is showing that by practicing an attitude of gratitude, you can significantly increase your overall level of happiness within a couple of months. A sense of appreciation can actually reduce stress and increase success in your personal and professional life.
Gratitude can also reduce addiction to materialistic accumulation. There’s less impulse and pressure to “Keep up with the Jones'” because of envy or competition. You no longer need to feel inferior because you don’t have the Mercedes that Joe has. Instead, you can experience more freedom to discover what will truly meet your needs. And it may be a Toyota Camry. It doesn’t mean that you have to settle for a reduced quality of life, but you may find that you’re happier with more value and less quantity.
When you take your attention off of what is lacking in your life or what you’re dissatisfied with, and instead, put your focus on what you appreciate, positive energy begins to flow. You begin to attract more of what you’re thankful for. It’s a cycle that keeps on giving. You’re connecting to the flow of good from the Universe and tapping into the Law of Attraction. Your desire for prosperity arises from wanting to expand into a greater experience of Life. When you focus more on the abundance of good that you have, you feel more abundant, therefore you attract more into your life to be grateful for.
Cultivating an attitude of gratitude takes discipline and practice. To begin, keep a gratitude journal. At least once a week, list seven things that you’re grateful for. I’d even recommend listing one thing you’re thankful for each night. It can be a simple as the fact that you’re safely home and have completed another day. Reconnect with saying Grace at each meal, to be thankful for the food. Believe it or not, it will help your digestion.
During the day, whenever you feel frustrated or upset, find one thing you can count as a blessing. For instance, if someone cuts you off in traffic, instead of giving into your irritation, be grateful that there wasn’t an accident and you’re safe. When your bills come due, be thankful for the services that you’ve received from them and that you have the money to pay for them.
Just because you’re thankful for what you have doesn’t mean that you can’t desire more health, prosperity, better relationships, and harmony. Being grateful for what you have already manifested, no matter how miniscule, focuses energy to expand into a greater abundance of all good things. All it takes is consciously choosing to count your blessings to have more happiness and abundance in your life.
I recognize that an attitude of gratitude not only increases my sense of well-being, but also connects to the flow of good from the Universe. I now take my attention off of what I feel I lack, and focus on the blessings in my life. Appreciating all the good I have attracts more of the same. As I feel thankful, I expand into a greater understanding and acceptance of Divine love and abundance.
Copyright 2008 Linda Ann Stewart
All Rights Reserved