Has adopting an attitude of gratitude been a challenge for you? Do you start each day with the best of intentions and then find yourself losing focus as you encounter more and more negativity?
The problem stems from trying to change the habits of a lifetime in one fell swoop!
If you’ve spent a large portion of your life not focusing on gratitude, you can’t expect yourself to change your whole mind-set immediately. (Most of us always try though, don’t we?)
But can you do it for one day? Can you commit to adopting a grateful focus no matter what happens during the course of one single day? You’d be surprised how easy it is to do something for one day.
Here’s how to start:
First, select a trigger object to keep with you on the day of your gratitude experiment. It can be a special piece of jewelry, a rubber band around your wrist, a special baseball cap, your lucky shirt, or anything else you feel would help you remember.
On the morning of your "one day of gratitude", spend a few moments holding your reminder object. Bring up a feeling of gratitude in your heart while you do. When you are fully immersed in the emotion of gratitude, recite an intention something like this:
"Today I choose to feel grateful for every experience I have. I will find a positive focus for every challenge I face, every moment of frustration, and every person I meet. I will make a conscious effort to stay rooted in the present moment so I am aware of the temptation to slip from this grateful focus and I can bring my thoughts and emotions back on track immediately. This (object) will serve as a powerful reminder that I can choose to be grateful about anything and everything today, and I will exercise this freedom of choice during my one day of gratitude."
Put on your trigger object, and then go about your day.
Don’t fool yourself into believing that your day will be smooth sailing just because you performed your little gratitude ceremony! (You didn’t really think it was going to be THAT easy, did you?) Anything is possible of course, but it’s more likely that you’ll find your patience and focus being tested repeatedly throughout the day.
Believe it or not, that’s a good thing! The more opportunities you are given to choose and strengthen your focus, the better you’ll get at developing a true attitude of gratitude. Go with it. If you find yourself getting mired in anger or frustration, simply return your focus back to gratitude again. Make it your mission to find something positive about every situation and keep working on turning your thoughts around as often as necessary.
By the end of the day you should be feeling very proud of yourself! Even if you didn’t manage to keep a steady focus on gratitude, you were probably able to focus on it more than you have in the past.
Now, lather, rinse and repeat! Keep doing this exercise one day at a time, over and over again. Before long you will find that you don’t have to work so hard at staying focused on gratitude, and it starts becoming more natural.
As author Annie Dillard once said, "How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives."
Start with one day, and everything can change.