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We have all heard, “count your blessings. Be grateful. Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth. Be thankful.” We know that we should be grateful and in our minds, we are. Still, we feel disappointment for what we don’t get. Our habit is to focus on lack, or what didn’t work, and we miss what’s in the moment. It’s easy to lose sight of what we have when we don’t get what we wanted or lose something that we had. We spend time thinking about deficiency before we remember to give thanks. For many it’s an afterthought.
In contrast, focusing on what we have is powerful. Gratitude brings us into the present, aligns us with abundance and love, and most importantly, lets us experience the joy of being thankful. Thinking about gratitude and practicing gratitude are different. We think about being grateful because we know that we should, and we believe to think is to practice. Yet do we really understand the practice and power of living in gratitude?

Simultaneously feeling anxiety and gratitude, disappointment and gratitude, or even depression and gratitude is impossible. The reason is simple. Focusing on what we have produces a feeling of joy and thankfulness. Sadness, fear, and anxiety produce feelings opposite of happiness or joy. The fact is that when we practice gratitude, negative feelings are fleeting, because we are experiencing the joy and gratitude of what we have. Therefore, it is our truth rather than a thought. We don’t have to remind ourselves to be grateful, because we live it.

Practicing gratitude works like this: we make it a daily focus to connect with our gratitude, which grounds us in the reality of what we have. Each day we begin by concentrating on something we have that we are grateful for. We can choose a person, place, animal, weather, or simply waking up. We mentally recall our thing in the mind’s eye and then allow the feeling of happiness to blossom in our chest, which is our spiritual heart center. Let it expand. Once we connect with this feeling, we recall a second thing and repeat the first step, and then a third thing, repeating again.

Over time, our practice to experience living in gratitude becomes our way of being. Disappointment, anxiety, and fear become the afterthought.

By: Nita Lapinski