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Are you actively expressing gratitude every day? You should be. Expressing gratitude is one of the most powerful acts you can do to support your personal growth. There are always even minor things around and in your life that you can start to feel grateful about. The act of focusing on what you are thankful for places those things to a high value in your mind. And what you think about greatly affects your life.
Is your gratitude as potent as it can be? We know that thoughts are powerful, but what is even more powerful? Thought that has emotion added and focused thoughts are far more powerful than plain thought. This is why we tend to see more of what we fervently dislike in our lives, because there are strong emotions attached to the thoughts.
So how do we add emotion and focus to thoughts about gratitude? Write down your thoughts, in a gratitude journal, to engage more of your senses. Your mind is using many more brain cells with the act of writing, thus more of your brain is engaged.
First, Your emotions will greatly increase when there is more brain involvement. And your brain will better be able to link multiple related positive thoughts to your gratitude statements enhancing positive emotional feelings. The number and strength of the neural connections in your brain actually increase with the added activity with writing. The more attention given to anything, the more it will affect your life. The addition of positive emotions will supercharge your gratitude.
Second, your mental focus is enhanced as it takes more of your mind to do the writing. Your mind is pumping out thoughts all the time, how would it know that you want specific thoughts to be more important than all that chatter? You add this importance by giving the thoughts more attention. Writing down what you are grateful for and allowing your related emotions to develop clearly moves other thoughts out of your awareness. You can truly only think one thought at a time. The act of writing helps keep you from bouncing from thought to thought. Gratitude thinking is the kind of thought you want to spend your time with, it is positive and uplifting.
Start a gratitude journal. It can be anything from a fancy hardbound journal to a simple spiral notebook, all you need is blank space to write. With a physical journal it is easier to set up a routine to use it, and it is easy to review when you want a little boost or motivation. You can establish a time of the day to pick up your gratitude journal and express your thoughts and feelings. This helps create a good habit that you will follow over time.
More on Gratitude, Effective Personal development Blog
Do you think happy people have more in their life to be happy about? Well, yes and no. They are happy about more things in their life because they focus on being thankful and grateful about more things in their life.
What you focus on expands. When more of your attention is on things that bring up good feelings more than bad feelings you will be much happier and less dissatisfied with daily life. It boils down to perspective. First, what are you looking at and how are you looking at it?
For example, you may feel that the home you live in no longer suits your wants and needs, so you focus on what you see as the negative aspects. And I’m sure you have noticed how easily your mind chatter will support your thinking about what you don’t like. This automatic feature of your mind will help to enhance whatever you think and feel – it does it so easily with dislikes.
But think a minute, isn’t there a lot about where you now live that you can appreciate and be thankful for? You do have a roof over your head, you are protected from the elements, you have running water, flush toilets, etc. Think for a moment, if you did not have this home? I think you‘ll see that there is really a lot about it that you can be grateful for. This is true of most everything in your life. If you are not sure, compare what you have and do against other people that have less. Think about your home, your clothes, your job, your possessions, your community, accessibility to what you want, how your basic needs are met, what IS going right, and so much more. There is always a good side.
Teach yourself to focus on anything and everything that you can no matter how minute you think it is and your happiness will increase. You can really only focus on one thing at a time, multitasking is when you bounce between different things more rapidly. But you can’t think about the good of something while thinking about the bad of it, always one or the other. To feel better and to send out the best signal, focus on the good. You can decide to be grateful for no specific reason, just for being alive and all that entails. This is actually a great base line for your life, your attitude, thinking, perceptions, health and behavior – grateful to be here, to be you.
If you have been thinking a lot about what you don’t like or want and you switch to fairly consistent gratitude, you will be amazed at how you feel. Your attitude, disposition and outlook will be much brighter, you may feel like you woke up on the ‘right’ side of the bed. Your body will respond positively too with more vitality, less stress and even some health improvements. The thing is, none of this is chance – the more thankful and grateful you are the better you will feel. You will be improving your happiness without even changing anything in your life except your perception.
Now you may be wondering what to do with all the new and different things you want in your life and I have talked about grateful for what you have. You need to do both. One of the ‘tricks’ in life is to find the fine line between two aspects of life, which we have an example of here with gratitude for what you have and thinking about what you want. Both are required for the most happiness and satisfaction in your life.
Where most of us fall into a trap is when we think it is logical to delineate what we don’t want, actually we just find it easy to complain about it since we have attached emotions that support our dislike. The key is this – you can express thanks for what you have and feel grateful for it, and want more at the same time.
What you shouldn’t do is, to repeatedly express your dislike for something and expect it to change. When continuously expounding on what you don’t want, you get more of it. Every thought you hold is an order to the universe – for what you want. To highlight how pointedly powerful each and every thought is, “I AM” in front of everything you are thinking and feeling. If you are thinking, “(I am) I hate my hair” you are what you want, just as an acorn is saying, “I am an oak tree.” The same forces that ensure the acorn develops as requested is working in your behalf in the same way.
Be grateful for your current situation, it got you here, it is a stepping stone on the path, there is something to learn or gain from it. If anything it is a clue to what you should not be doing, if you don’t like it. But rather than going on about not liking it, let it help you find what you do want.
Also, I am not suggesting using gratitude as a way to ignore anything that needs attention and action. You can be grateful for something and be working on changing or improving it. There is a big difference in thinking about something as you are working with it as opposed to thoughts dwelling on the negative aspects of it.
The bottom line is that there is something about anything that you can find to be grateful for. Sometimes this can be tricky to find and you may need to adjust your perception in order to see it. It could be a lesson or something that needs to be experienced for you or someone else. As you know by now some lessons and experiences can be painful. I just recently had to face this as my wife passed away three months ago.
If there is something in your life that you are having difficulty finding an aspect to be grateful for, don’t let it bog you down, just look at other things that you can be thankful for now. But if you can see the lesson, it is something to be grateful for, because now you know and can do something about it and grow from it. And that is worth being grateful for!
The more you do this, the more you will. Start with whatever you can and you will notice more and more to be grateful about. As you express gratitude for a few things your perceptions will change a little
Writing down what you are thankful for increases your commitment and increases it’s power, and sharing with others does so even more, plus others will benefit from it as well. To share your gratitude and/or the results of your increased gratitude with others, plus get some encouragement and insights reading what others write – go to the Gratitude Journal – see category list.
John Halderman writes and trains in personal growth and development focusing on what can be done daily to enhance your happiness and satisfaction with life through the understanding of how life works, managing your thoughts and purposeful actions.
Today I want to just remind you about recognizing and giving thanks for something that is important to you.
Here in the US, we will be celebrating our countries independence.
This is a big holiday here, which I presume most are in support of.
This holiday, as are most, is in celebration of something important to a group of people.
Taking time to pay attention to and recognize something that you are thankful for is a worthy activity.
Like the Independence Day celebration here in the US, many things are looked at once a year as a reminder of the meaning and why it is important to us.
This can of course be done on any schedule you choose.
Once a year is good for some things, but more frequently may be desirable.
There are things you can recognize daily or even more often.
Anything that is important to you,
Anything that has deep meaning to you,
Anything that you want to be a part of your daily life,
A way of thinking,
Anything that you feel thankful and grateful for,
Can and should be noticed and celebrated often.
Often enough to keep it a part of your daily operating system,
Or as some call,
“Your map of reality”
The way to have the things that are truly important to you be an integral part of the way you think and behave is to be appreciative and thankful for them.
Since it is so easy for our moment to moment thoughts and activities to cloud out things that are important to us, it can be very powerful when you purposefully keep yourself aware and reminded on a regular basis.
Even with something like national independence, wouldn’t it be of value to be aware of all that it may mean to you more often than once a year?
“The grateful mind is constantly fixed upon the best. Therefore
it tends to become the best. It takes the form or character of
the best, and will receive the best.” — Wallace Wattles
“Gratitude is an opener of locked-up blessings.” — Marianne Williamson
“The enlightened give thanks for what most people take for granted. As you begin to be grateful for what most people take for granted, that vibration of gratitude makes you more receptive to good in your life.”
– Michael Beckwith