We are a culture that lives with an insatiable need to have more. Never satisfied with what we have, we live in a never-ending cycle where once we get something, we begin the chase all over again trying to get the next best thing. We spend so much of our energy seeking, rarely remaining still long enough to respect or appreciate what we’ve just received. We’re always on the hunt for the relationship, promotion, bigger house, or better car. And the hunt is not exclusive to those obvious things on most everyone’s wish list. This unconscious search continues with small, everyday tasks. The ones that are seemingly insignificant on the surface, yet keep us continuing in the cycle without us even realizing it: searching out the better parking spot; downloading the latest app for our phone; another new outfit; there’s always something we're searching for day-to-day.
We believe that once we have that latest thing that we're seeking, it is then that that we'll find happiness or become a better person. Ironically, this belief does the exact opposite of what it promises, it actually makes us want more.
We have easier access to the things we want than any generation before us ever has, yet we still feel as though we aren’t enough. We compare ourselves to our neighbors, friends or co-workers, feeling less than for not having what they appear to have.
When we search outside ourselves to find our value, more is a bottomless pit. It’s impossible that there will ever be enough for us to feel satisfied. There will never be enough money, enough time, enough friends, enough compliments, enough stuff….there will never be enough. Period.
And the unspoken truth is that most are willing to live in debt to continue to feed this insatiable monster.
Of course, it’s healthy to set goals for yourself or to dream big. There’s nothing wrong with achieving dreams and goals and then continuing to move forward with bigger ones. I’m talking about when you cross over the line from healthy intentions and goal setting, to living in the lie that, more is better.
- What if you looked around and allowed yourself to see all that you do have?
- What if you acknowledged what you’ve already achieved in your life?
- How amazing would it feel if every time you looked in the mirror, you could see your own unique beauty? And not just see it, but own it.
- Wouldn’t you love to live your life from a feeling of abundance rather than lack? Always appreciating what you do have before complaining about what you don’t have?
This is what it looks like and feels like to live in gratitude. Learning to live with gratitude is one of the best gifts you can give yourself. It’s free and it’s the gift that keeps on giving!
The more you practice gratitude, the more your appreciation multiples.
Gratitude is a powerful emotion, that when felt, can literally transform you.
This simple act has the power to shift your entire being. The energy that you put out into the world, shifts. How you interact with people, changes. Your view of the world around you, becomes completely different.
And that’s only the beginning! We now know that when we experience and express gratitude, we boost our immune system and reduce our stress; care for ourselves more; cultivate happier and healthier relationships; feel more content and fulfilled in our lives; and it even makes us more productive. All of these benefits come from incorporating a simple practice, gratitude.
How to Practice Gratitude Every Day:
Here's 4 easy ways that anyone can do to practice gratitude each and every day. When you live your life experiencing and expressing gratitude, you live with true abundance. The abundance that has nothing to do with attaining more.
- Gratitude Journal – Commit to writing in a Gratitude Journal every single day. This practice can be done at any time during the day, however I find it most effective at night just before I go to bed. I allow myself a few minutes at the end of each day to focus on 5 or 6 things that I'm grateful for from that day. It can be anything from someone holding the door open for me at the grocery store, to my health. The key is to focus on choosing different things each and every day. If you've never kept a Gratitude Journal before, or if you've been on-again off-again with this practice, challenge yourself to do this for 90 days. If you remain committed to this practice for 3 months, you'll set yourself up for success! You’ll be more likely to continue with it after being consistent for 90 days.
- Thank You Notes – Sending someone a Thank You Note has been replaced with emails and text messages. However, the few minutes it requires to thoughtfully write a Thank You Note, gives you another opportunity to express gratitude in your life. It also makes the person receiving your genuine thank you, feel appreciated. A hand-written note still has so much more meaning than a text message that simply says, ‘Thanks for the _______.’
- Make Gratitude a Family Event – Every evening at the dinner table, we each say one thing we're grateful for from that day. Not only is it a great way for me to continue my own gratitude practice, it also teaches and encourages our children to have their own practice.
- Be Grateful Every Morning – How often do you wake up complaining that you can’t still be sleeping? These first thoughts and feelings set the tone for your day. Begin your day with 2 simple, yet powerful words, ‘Thank you.’ Allow a few moments each morning meditating (or praying) on feeling grateful for another beautiful day that you've been given. This ensures that you go about your day differently.
At any given moment, in any situation, you have the power to change your thoughts. While it’s not always easy, it’s always beneficial to find something that you can be grateful for, even in the most (often perceived) negative situations.
Most of us live with way too much and take it for granted. Practicing gratitude helps you to acknowledge and appreciate all that you do have. When you begin living your life from this space, you're less likely to feel the empty void within. It's that empty void which makes you feel like you constantly need more.
‘Gratitude is a lesson that needs to be reinforced often. It is too easy to overlook the gifts you have when you focus on those that you hope to obtain, and you diminish the value of where you currently are on your path if you do not pause often and appreciate it.’
- Excerpt from If Life is a Game, These Are the Rules by Cherie Carter-Scott, Ph.D.
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