How often are you grateful? Like many people, you probably focus on gratitude when something great happens in your life, and maybe once a day on Thanksgiving. If you are part of a rare group of people, you might actually keep a daily gratitude journal and take time to reflect on your blessings regularly.
These are beneficial habits, but you can also use gratitude in a more proactive way to transform your life. The way to do this is as simple as making a series of choices throughout the course of your day.
Most of us are in the habit of thinking negatively. We experience something difficult or painful in our outer environment that throws us immediately into a negative state of mind. We fluctuate between feelings of anger, resentment, annoyance, boredom, and disappointment – never once realizing that it doesn’t have to be that way!
Remember that not consciously choosing your mind-set is a choice all its own. If you don’t choose, your experiences will choose for you. Let this happen and you will soon find yourself on an emotional roller coaster with a broken "off" switch.
If you want to make gratitude a bigger part of your daily life, you need to choose it. Here are two powerful ways to do that.
1) Make gratitude a consistent focus as often as you can. Instead of allowing your outer circumstances to determine your mind-set, begin reciting positive statements like this to yourself: "I choose to be grateful for __________." (Choose anything and everything you can think of to be grateful for.) As you recite this statement, allow yourself to actually FEEL grateful. With practice this exercise can transform negative emotions and turn your whole attitude around.
2) Find something to be grateful for in every experience. This exercise can often be more challenging, especially when you experience difficult situations. However, remember that gratitude is a CHOICE. Just like there is usually a downside to each situation, there is also a positive side. Which one you focus on is up to you. When something happens, either good or bad, pause for a moment and choose how you want to feel about it. The more you choose gratitude, the better your life circumstances will be – simply because you won’t be obsessing over the negatives anymore.
When you really immerse yourself in this habit, you will be amazed by the changes it inspires in you. And as you change, you will notice a corresponding change in the way people interact with you and the things that just seem to happen to you. The more positive you can be, the more positive everything else will seem!