Living with gratitude

Oasis Living Magazine, August 01, 2011

In our busy world of consumerism and technology it is easy to get stuck on the treadmill of life, day in and day out. It now seems normal to rush here and there, and accumulate things because everyone wants the latest product on the market: the iPad 2, a bigger villa, a 57-inch plasma TV, etc. We don’t often take time to see what is important to us, what we truly value and appreciate. Gratitude can help us keep perspective and make us reflect on what really matters.

I’m a big supporter of setting goals: aim high and dream big. However, I also believe that it is crucial to really appreciate the moments in life that matter most. We often appreciate our health only when we are not feeling well, or we think fondly of others once it’s too late, when they have passed. We take so many things forgranted, like simply breathing fresh air, watching the children play and laugh, looking at the sunset, the green grass; the list is endless.

Take a minute or two and ask yourself these questions:

• What am I grateful for?

• What are all the blessings in my life?

• What do I appreciate about the things I have in my life?

• Who do I appreciate in my entourage?

• What about them do I love the most?

During the holiday seasons, Thanksgiving, Christmas or Ramadan, we tend to make time to appreciate and practice gracefulness. What if we were able to focus on gratitude for the rest of the year? How could this benefit you and the people around you?

Living with gratitude will not only make you feel good, it will help you to focus on the real meaning of life. Gratitude attracts love, peace, happiness & abundance. Oprah said it so well: “The single greatest thing you can do to change your life today would be to start being grateful for what you have right now. And the more grateful you are, the more you get.”

If you want to turn your life around, try thankfulness. It will change your life mightily.Gerald Good

Like many things affecting us, being grateful for what we have is a conscious choice. Below are some simple ways to include some gratitude in your daily life: • Create and use a Gratitude Journal. This is a simple and effective tool to make you more aware of gratitude. You can use it daily or weekly, whatever suits you. Write a list of all the things and people you are grateful for. You might decide to list three – five items per day, or write a passage. If things are going well, you will have plenty of things to write, but when the going gets tough you need to start with the basics, which we usually take for granted; examples are health, family and friends. Focus on what you already have rather than what you don’t have

• Create a habit of asking your partner every day what he/she is grateful for. Sharing these will create positive conversations and bring you back to the important things that you both value.

• Meditate or pray for everything and everyone you are grateful for • Before going to sleep, reflect on three things that you are grateful for. This might inspire beautiful dreams!

• Write a letter (or an email) to someone that you love and appreciate. Expressing your appreciation towards them will make them (and you) feel wonderful.

• Bubble up, Bubble down! At dinnertime, ask your children to think of and share one bubble down (one not-so-good thing that happened today) and three bubbles up (great things that happened). Talk about being grateful for the bubbles up

Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.William Arthur Ward Living with gratitude can be powerful and a life-changing experience when we choose to focus on all the blessings that surround us. If we focus on what we already have and what we appreciate, the positive aspects of our current life will become clearer. Taking time to reflect, feel and express our gratitude for life helps us to become a person who radiates love and happiness