The Transformative Power of Gratitude

“We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.”  ~~Thornton Wilder

BlessingsAs Albert Einstein said, there are two ways to live — as though nothing is a miracle or as though everything is a miracle.  When you practice daily gratitude, the smallest things become wondrous, life is a joyous adventure and you are transformed – in short, life becomes miraculous.

Think about it.  Though sometimes it might not seem like it, every day is filled with gifts to appreciate. Your warm bed, a cup of coffee, indoor plumbing, electricity, your car, the sun, the clouds, your baby’s giggle, the curve of your lover’s body, birdsong, the smell of summer grass, autumn leaves, snow on the trees, the moon on a starry night, your favorite party dress, a new pair of shoes, reading glasses, clean water to drink, washers & dryers, grocery baggers, music, movies, books, the ocean, the wind in your hair,  baseball games… the list goes on!

Imagine your life without even one of these things, or the hundreds of other things there are to be grateful for — wouldn’t life be less?

“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”
  ~~Oprah Winfrey

Gratitude ….

attracts what we want. What you focus on grows. When you focus on what you’re grateful for, you get more of that.

improves relationships. Focusing on what you love about your partner or your friends creates harmony and closeness.  And the people around you respond in kind. Try it!

reduces negativity and angst. Every “problem” really is an opportunity. You don’t have to like your problem, but if you find a way to be grateful for it, and trust there is a gift in there somewhere, solutions and new possibilities and connections magically appear.

increases connectedness. When you appreciate even the smallest things, you are connected with the flow of Life and are tapped into an unlimited stream of well-being. When you don’t, life can feel hard, a struggle, lonely.Gratitude

Gratitude is…

… a feeling of appreciation, openness, wonder, worthiness.

… a conscious way of living, an attitude, a choice.

… a habit of recognizing what is going right, instead of what is going wrong.

Gratitude is not…

… a feeling of owing or needing to reciprocate. The Universe doesn’t need anything from you. The Universe wants to give; being grateful opens you up to receive.

… a feeling of not being worthy. Life doesn’t give because it needs something back from you. Life gives because you a beloved, magnificent, powerful child of the Universe, deserving of all the good and prosperity that you can imagine, and more.

How to be Grateful…

  • Make a list every day of five things you’re grateful for. Try doing this before going to bed at night and end your day on a positive note.
  • Set a timer  to remind yourself to stop during the day, breathe, and think of one thing you’re thankful for. Then expand on that — why are you thankful? For instance, “I’m thankful for my car …. ”  “… because it carries my groceries so I don’t have to tote them myself…” ” … because I love the feel of the road… ” “… because I get my best ideas while driving…” “… because I like to roll down the windows and enjoy a spring-like day…”
  • Repeat “thank you” seven times. Say it from your heart, not your head. Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you. Do it now. Doesn’t that feel good?
  • Call or e-mail a friend or relative and express your appreciation for all they’ve done for you, or for their presence in your life.
  • Trust that no matter what is happening, no matter how things look, everything is always working out for you. Be grateful for all your experiences, focus on what you want, and watch the Universe yield to you all your heart’s desires.

I’m grateful for the laptop that allows me to write this, for a job that allows me to talk about one of my favorite things — self-empowerment, and for the opportunity to talk to you. What are you grateful for? Leave your list in the comments!

 

 

Laugh Your Way to Your Best Life!

I am thankful for laughter, except when milk comes out of my nose. ~~Woody Allen

If you are stressed and overwhelmed from trying to handle your unmanageable to-do lists, there is one especially powerful, free, beneficial remedy available to you — laughter!  Laughter relieves tension, makes us feel more expansive and hopeful, helps change our perspective — and it’s fun!

You’ve heard that “laughter is the best medicine,” and indeed laughter does provide a host of physical, emotional and social benefits.

  • Laughter is strong medicine for your body. Laughter is a powerful antidote to stress, pain and conflict, and heals and renews your body and soul. It  boosts immunity, lowers stress hormones, decreases pain, relaxes your muscles and reduces heart disease.
  • Laughter helps you feel good emotionally. And that feel-good high remains after your laughter subsides. It relieves stress, improves your mood, reduces anxiety, makes you more resilient and adds joy to your life.
  • Laughter strengthens your relationships. Laughing and playing with others triggers positive feelings and fosters emotional connection. It helps you express your true feelings, be more spontaneous and less defensive.

A day without laughter is a day wasted. ~~Charlie Chaplin

People who place high demands on themselves in general are particularly vulnerable to ratcheting up the stress level around the holidays, trying to accomplish in a few weeks what  a team of personal assistants could not handle. If this sounds like you, besides doing less to accomplish more, consider scheduling — yes! scheduling! (you’re worth it) — laughter into your day.

At the height of laughter, the universe is flung into a kaleidoscope of new possibilities.
~~Jean Houston

Read a funny book, watch a funny movie, seek out a funny friend, go to a comedy club, play with children or your pets, engage in any activity that brings you joy …. do whatever it takes to belly laugh every day!

If you’re desk-bound and need a laugh in the middle of the day, there’s a lot of humor to be found on the internet. Here are some of my favorite sites:

So, go ahead. Release yourself from the prison of taking action for action’s sake. Replace some items on your to-do list with things that bring you fun and laughter. Snort! Giggle! Guffaw! Chortle! Double over and slap your knee ….. and watch your joy unfold.