Thanksgiving, the fourth Thursday in November, is a uniquely American tradition and one to be proud of. Regardless of whether you are an American and Thanksgiving Day is ingrained in your psyche, the idea of “giving thanks” or gratitude is a universal concept that we are all guilty of overlooking and forgetting from time to time. The Thirteenth Century German philosopher and mystic, Meister Eckhart left us with a little gem, that sums gratitude up perfectly. “If the only prayer you ever utter in your entire life is; ‘Thank You’, then that will suffice”.
There is ALWAYS something you can be grateful for. Every morning you can be grateful for a new day, a new opportunity to breathe, to walk, to talk and to exist. We take for granted so many of the wonderful experiences and things that we as human beings are blessed to enjoy and be grateful for every, single day – open your senses and enjoy the world around you and be grateful for the opportunity.
Some practical steps to achieving an; “attitude of gratitude”:
Say “thank you” at every single opportunity that arises – and don’t just say it as a matter of course; because that’s what your parents taught you to do. Actually, mean it – be grateful for whatever that person has done for you.
Start saying “thank you” every time you sit down to eat or drink. Be grateful to all the people who have been involved in bringing your food to you.
Start your day with an attitude of thankfulness. Send just a little time giving thanks to the Universe for the new day, for the blessings in your life.
Make a gratitude list. There is power in writing things down. Have a gratitude journal and at various times during the day jot down the things you are feeling grateful for (or, be a techno-whizz and have it on your phone, tablet, laptop or PC). Get that attitude of thankfulness.
This is a big one! Stop complaining! When you feel annoyed or frustrated at a circumstance or a person, don’t vocalize your feelings. What you are unconsciously doing is asking the Universe for more of these annoying and frustrating circumstances or people. If you feel annoyed or frustrated, focus instead on something you can take from the circumstance or person that is positive – something to be grateful for in that person or that circumstance.
If others are negative or critical of someone, or gossiping about someone – either walk away (if you can) or inject something positive about that person into the conversation. There is always something positive you can find in every person – otherwise, that person wouldn’t be in your life.
The most important thing you can do to develop an attitude of gratitude is to simply ingrain it into your subconscious as a habit. And how do we create habits? By simple repetition! Research has shown us that it only takes around one month for a repetitive action to be accepted by our subconscious as the “norm”. If we regularly and meaningfully practice the art of gratitude for just a short time it will become as natural and normal to us as walking, getting dressed in the morning, or driving – we won’t even have to think about it anymore. It will just come naturally. Enjoy Giving Thanks this 2018!
Grant Leishman is an expatriate New Zealander who has made his home in the beautiful islands of The Philippines. After a career in accounting and journalism, he has finally found his true calling in life and is now happily “living the dream”, writing full-time.
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