You hear it out of the mouths of gurus to pages of the latest trending health articles. And there’s a good reason for that – it’s essential to happiness. I never felt such joy as I did when I first consciously discovered gratitude! There is something so humbling, so blissful, and so outrageously liberating when you feel gratitude in your heart. Of course, I’m not a happiness scientist, so check out this article for proof.
I have a gratitude journal – a notebook I keep solely for lists of things I’m thankful for. I don’t write in it every single day, but similar to yoga, gratitude is a p r a c t i c e. It’s not going to feel, look, or simply be, the same each day. And practice makes perfect – your gratitude practice will no doubt grow the more you spend time with it.
I’m in no way a gratitude guru – in fact, I’m a little embarrassed to say that I have been very ungrateful lately. I haven’t been appreciating what I have. My boyfriend and I have been together for three years now, but I’m still learning that its not just me anymore. I have my share of rent & bills to pay, and my job to hold because of that. I have a commitment to this man and to his business, which brought us here to DC, despite my dreams of being a mermaid near the ocean under the sun. I no longer can be upset, feel stuck, or be lonely without it affecting his emotions, as well. Lately I’ve been ungrateful for my job, this city, and the business that moved us away from friends and family.
But, the fascinating thing is, when I allowed myself to be vulnerable, to let go of these [in my mind] perfectionistic ideas, I finally felt a weight lift off of my shoulders. Instead of focusing on what could be different, I focused on how thankful I am for having all that we have. That job I have, although not ideal, allows me to pay for school debt-free and live a financially comfortable life. This city we live in has allowed us new opportunities that we may not have had in Denver. The ocean I dream of running along each morning, of swimming in every afternoon – it will still be there in a few years if that’s where we decide to move next.. and in the meantime, it’s always there to visit.
The beauty gratitude is that even when you dismiss it, it always comes back. And the more it comes back, the more we recognize it, embrace it, and express it, the more likely we are to feel the happiness that tags along with it. This quote. .
Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it. [William Arthur Ward]
. .is a perfect reminder that thanks giving [& I don’t mean gobble, gobble] is only as good as when we share it – with ourselves, with others, with the universe, God – whomever or whatever. It has been gratitude that’s saved me time & time again – it’s grounded me, kept me honest with myself and others, and reminded me, of course, that those feelings of impatience, stagnancy, lack of self-worth – do not serve me or bring me joy.
If you don’t keep a gratitude journal, I urge you to give it a try. If you’re always on the go, make a note in your phone where you can jot down at least ten things that you feel gratitude towards each day. Maybe its your family, your best friend, your partner, your dog; maybe you LOVE coconut water, flowers, or your bicycle. You can write down anything you’re thankful for because we can find gratitude in everything around us. And that is a beautiful thing.