by Reggie Odom
Gratitude is a gift you give yourself, no matter what it is that you are grateful for. What are you grateful for? What in your life do you appreciate? Stop for a moment and bring to mind something that you are truly grateful for, that you deeply appreciate. As you are thinking of this, notice how you feel. Notice the smile that is beginning to turn up the corners of your mouth. Notice how your body relaxes and opens up. Notice how happy you feel. How would your life be different if you experienced gratitude more of the time?
If your gratitude is for others, your appreciation is a gift to them, especially when you let them know it. In the true spirit of a gift, appreciation is freely given without expectation of anything in return. However, your return is always a given - simply by how you feel. Gratitude feels good. Gratitude is a feeling, a focus, an experience. It is not necessarily a gift you can wrap up and put a bow on, although you can wrap up and put a bow on something that is an expression of your gratitude. Or you can write a thank you note, or simply tell someone what you appreciate about them.
Gratitude is a recognition and a deeply felt appreciation for the gifts you have been given. Gifts may be in the form of innate gifts, such as special abilities and talents - a gift of singing, a mechanical aptitude, a genius for poetry, a faculty for remembering names, an athletic talent, or the ability to see an image and create it in sculpture. What are yours? Don’t be shy, we all have them.
Other gifts come in all shapes and sizes and in limitless ways. They come in the form of the morning sun, of people with whom we have relationships, or who simply smile at us as we pass them on the street, the pets who love us unconditionally.., electricity, running water, eyes to read this article, the breakfast you had this morning, your clients, the special vacation you will take this winter, your teachers and mentors, coaches and counselors, the nurse who placed your newborn into your arms, the great mechanic who repaired your car last week, the farmer who grew the rice you will have with tonight’s dinner, and the opportunities that present themselves to you every day. Your gifts are endless, which you soon discover when you recognize and appreciate them.
Gratitude is a feeling, one of those high order feelings that brings us back home to ourselves and lines us up on all levels – physically, mentally and spiritually. It gives us a sense of peace and a sense of connection with ourselves, others, a Higher Power and with all of life. It restores our faith that we are being taken care of, and that the nature of life is abundance. It opens our eyes to possibilities and to the opportunities that we are given every day, both large and small.
Gratitude is a natural medicine that enhances our physical health. The feeling of gratitude changes us on a cellular level. Joan Borysenko, world-renowned expert in mind/body medicine, said that a sense of peace and gratitude is accompanied by biochemical changes in our neuropeptides, immune system and cardiovascular system that are consistent with health and well-being.
Gratitude is the gift that keeps on giving. The more you are grateful, the more you discover you have to be grateful for. I keep a gratitude journal and every night before I go to sleep I write down 10 things I am grateful for. Over time, I have come to feel as if I’m just getting started when I get to “10.” It is a universal law that we always get more of what we give our attention to. The more we focus on what we are grateful for, the more we are given to be grateful for. Gratitude attracts greater abundance into our lives.
Gratitude is a way of being. If you’d like to experience gratitude as a way of being and all of the benefits that come from living this way, simply make a decision to become grateful and practice by taking regular actions to help you. I’m going to suggest three daily actions, and there are plenty more besides these. If you do any one of these for 30 days, you will notice a significant shift. You will feel generally happier, more at peace, and will have become naturally more grateful.
1. Keep a gratitude journal. At the end of every day, write down 10 things you are grateful for. Please include something about yourself.
2. Each morning when you wake up,make a decision to look for things throughout the day to be grateful for, and then look-out for them.
3. Say thank-you at least 10 times each day.
And please appreciate yourself! Appreciate who you are and what you do.
Remember, You are a natural! You are brilliant! You are magnificent! Simply by being you.
Step Into Your Greatness...
Give the Gift of Gratitude!