How to Take Your Gratitude Practice to the Next Level
Updated: Aug 22, 2019
Gratitude is a common practice these days in the wellness community. And for very good reason. Many of us have seen the wonderful benefits of developing a daily practice; from improved relationships, to career growth, to a more peaceful overall existence.
The whole idea behind gratitude is that the things we focus on increase.
So if we focus on how unhappy or overwhelmed we feel, we will find ourselves even more unhappy and overwhelmed. But, if we focus instead on all the ways that our lives are complete and satisfying, we will see even more reasons to feel complete and satisfied.
Part of this is due to the fact that our minds become trained to pick out the good or the bad depending on our habits. Which is really just an extension of a meditation practice. But another major component of this gratitude phenomenon is based in the Law of Attraction, which goes a bit deeper than just training our minds to see the positive.
To really use the Law of Attraction we must also shift our energy, not just our thoughts. For example, I could use a positive affirmation every day to try and improve my relationship with my partner. I might say things like “My partner and I have a deeply fulfilling connection” or “My partner cares about my needs, so I have the space to care and provide for his needs too”. These are both very nice affirmations, but they won’t take me where I really want to go...unless I shift my energy from a place of lacking to a place of rejoicing.
The real magic happens when I take the time to visualize these desires being fulfilled with my partner.
I could imagine how I will feel the next time I come home and he has cooked a nutritious dinner for the family just because he knows how much it means to me. Or perhaps I imagine us holding hands while driving and exchanging a knowing glance as we connect over one of our favorite songs. Both of these images make my chest swell with pleasure and joy.
But it’s not always easy to conjure up these images and feelings, especially when we’re trying to manifest something that we feel we are deeply lacking. It takes practice and commitment but it’s incredibly powerful once we make it a regular part of our lives.
And this is where our gratitude practice comes into play. We can begin to learn this art of manifesting joy and abundance through our daily gratitude practice.
I myself have been writing in a gratitude journal for several years now, and I’ve grown to love it. Every night, before I go to bed, I take my journal out of my nightstand and I list a few things that went well that day. If nothing really stands out because it was one of those days where I feel grateful I even made it through (I’m pretty sure we all know what those days feel like), I’ll write down a few basic conveniences that I feel blessed to have had like clean, running water, or plenty of food in the fridge.
After some time, I noticed that my gratitude entries felt sort of hollow. Like I was just writing them because I knew I should, but I wasn’t really feeling all that grateful for them. So eventually I did some meditating and soul-searching, which brought me an ‘aha’ moment.
Instead of focusing on the ‘facts’ of my day, I needed to start focusing on the ‘feelings’ of my day.
So what does this look like? Well, maybe I would have normally made an entry like: “I played a lot with my daughters in the pool today.” That’s a fact. Instead I want to focus on the moments when I felt really joyful and connected with them. Maybe I’ll visualize a time that we were all giggling uncontrollably because the girls had successfully tickled my feet and I was squirming desperately to get away. Or I could think about holding my eldest in my lap and feeling her sigh of contentment as she laid her head against my shoulder, feeling protected and loved by me. These are the thoughts that give me the warm fuzzies I’m looking for.
After taking a moment to relive and enjoy the feelings that I experienced in the day, I can write down in my journal something like “I had a lot of fun playing with the girls in the pool today. I am so lucky that my oldest daughter still finds so much love and comfort in my arms.” On the surface, these are still just facts, but the way that I relived the joy and connected to the moments gave them the power to elicit real gratitude in my body, which shifted my energy to a state of positive manifestation.
So give it a try this week, and watch what happens to your mood and your relationships. And the best part is this; no matter what happens, you get the pleasure of re-experiencing these fleeting moments of joy again and again.
And eventually you will start to recognize these moments more quickly when they’re happening in real time, thereby providing you with even more moments to remember for your gratitude practice. And so on and so forth. Now that’s a positive cycle I think we can all get on board with.