by Linda D. Barbour ©
Joy is the greatest form of gratitude, and the fullness of life is unlocked through the amazing gift of thanksgiving and appreciation. Learning to cultivate living in a place of joyful gratitude brings endless possibilities to us on a continual basis. It turns what we have into enough, and more. Gratitude can change denial into acceptance, it can transform chaos to order, and reverse a state of confusion into a place of clarity. Gratitude can also do amazing things like turning a dream into a reality.
Oftentimes, we can get so caught up with the cares of life that we get preoccupied with chasing after the many things that we want. We can become so busy spending our time looking for the things that we desire that are somewhere out there, that we actually forget to enjoy the present precious moments that are right in front of us, resulting in forgetting to be happy. Imagine that… forgetting to be Happy! Have you ever heard people say things like… I will be happy when I will get the job paying a six figure income, or life will be better when I get married, get a new car, when I will do this and that? Sadly, when those things do happen and things manifest that are wanted, they forget to rest in a place of gratitude; and go on to planning to get the next thing and the next thing all while forgetting to enjoy the things they achieved so far, and forget to appreciate the things they had longed for. If you think about it, this is a bit sad. Why? Because life then becomes more focused on obtaining things to the fullest; rather than living life to the fullest and being happy in the process. By doing so people also forget to enjoy what they already have, they forget to be happy, and they forget to stop and be grateful. They don’t realize that gratitude is the catalyst for receiving more. Don’t let that be you.
Realize that now, in this very moment you have more than enough, and you are more than enough. It’s okay to have dreams, it is also okay to aspire to grow, to learn, to evolve and to achieve big things in life. But, it’s also very important to celebrate yourself, to celebrate your accomplishments, to celebrate the present moment, to celebrate your life, to celebrate the beauty that surrounds you, and to celebrate your loved ones, as well as live in a place of joy. With gratitude comes happiness and with happiness comes more gratitude, and this creates a mindset that I call “Joyful Gratitude”.
Gratitude is an immensely powerful force. It’s a force that we can use to expand our happiness, create loving relationships, realize our dreams, and even improve our health. Actually, scientific studies have shown that people who consciously focus on gratitude experience greater emotional well-being and physical health than those who don’t. It is also proven that when cultivating a lifestyle of gratitude people feel better about their lives as a whole, experience greater levels of joy and happiness, they get sick less often and are more optimistic about the future. In addition, they have more energy, exercise more, have more focus, and more enthusiasm. Gratitude also awakens a greater progress towards achieving personal goals, it also fosters stronger family ties, less stress, better sleep patterns, as well as opens an awareness to offer emotional support and the desire to help others.
If you feel that you would like to experience more happiness, joy, and energy, gratitude is clearly a crucial action to begin to cultivate in your daily life. Gratitude is a fullness of heart that moves us from a level of limitation and fear to love and greater expansion in our lives.
When we appreciate something, our selfish ego moves out-of-the-way and we are then able to connect with our heart and begin to see greatness in the things all around us. Gratitude shifts our attention into the here and now, which is the only place where miracles can unfold, and we can appreciate the beauty for what we currently have. The deeper our appreciation for what we have in our present state, the more we see with our heart and the more our life flows in harmony with the purpose of our lives. Gratitude can actually turn not enough into more than enough, it attracts more of what you appreciate, and broadens your territory to realize those unlocked desires within.
Here are a few of ways that one can cultivate joyful gratitude.
- Keep a Gratitude Box with Personal Notes of Gratitude
Get a small box and a small notepad. Every day write down your areas of gratitude for that day, or as you think of them throughout the day, write them down and fold them to keep in your gratitude box. This not only keeps you in a place of awareness but will also act as a reminder during the times when you forget what you are grateful for. How? You simply open the box and start reading the tiny notes of gratitude, and you will quickly shift back to a place of joyful gratitude.
- Keep a Gratitude Journal
Every morning and every evening take a few minutes to log daily areas of gratitude.
- Who or what inspired me today?
- What brought me happiness today?
- What brought me comfort and deep peace today?
As you write in your journal, challenge yourself by not repeating items from the previous days— this will make you look more deeply at all the little things that enhance your life and give you joy … waking in a warm bed, your favorite song, a phone call from a friend, the ability to touch, see, or hear, electricity,the beating of your heart, a hug, and so on.
You can either write in your journal just before bed, early in the morning when you rise or just before your daily meditation. The actual time of day isn’t important; what is most important is that you consistently take a few moments daily to consciously focus your mind on your blessings. Commit to keeping a journal for a full month. What we put our focus and attention on expands in our life. Also, by offering gratitude for all the goodness that we experience, we’re also inviting more abundance to flow into our lives.
- Take a Gratitude Walk
This specific action helps me tremendously when I’m not feeling one hundred percent or off-center. Gratitude walks are a particularly useful practice when you’re feeling down or have a stress and worry. Set aside 30 minutes (or longer if you can) and walk alone in your neighborhood, through a park, around your office, or somewhere in nature.
As you walk, take your time and consider the many things for which you are grateful; such as nurturing relationships, material comforts, a functioning body that allows you to experience the world, a mind that is functioning, and your essential spiritual nature. As you are walking take the time to breathe, pause, and be grateful for the air that is filling your lungs and making your life possible.
Pay attention to your all of your senses—everything that you’re seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling, and see how many things you can find to feel grateful for as you are walking. This is a powerful way to shift your mood and open to the flow of abundance that always surrounds you.
- Write a Thank You Letter
When I do this, it not only blesses my life but also that of others. Sit down and make a list of at least four people who currently have, or have had a profound impact on your life. Choose one and write a thank you letter each week for a month expressing gratitude for all the gifts you’ve received from that person.
While we may often say “thank you” to people verbally, there is something about a written word that is even more powerful because someone has taken the time to write their appreciation. A letter can also be re-read and treasured , creating much joy and love that will continue to ripple throughout someone’s life, ultimately causing a lasting impact, and creating joyful gratitude in their life as well.
Learning to live in a place of “Joyful Gratitude”on a continual basis opens us up to receive unlimited peace, joy, and abundance in our lives. It is a sure way to have a happier and more fulfilled life.
“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