Gratitude! Oh sweet, underrated gratitude.
William Blake said, "Gratitude, in itself, is heaven."
Buddha said, "Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn't learn a lot at least we learned a little, and if we didn't learn a little, at least we didn't get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn't die; so, let us all be thankful."
Epicurus wisely acknowledged, "Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember what you have now was once among the things you only hoped for."
I know, I know its like, be grateful, heard this one before. So lets be real.
Most of us spend so much of the time thinking about what we lack -- the romantic relationship, material stuff, social connections, money in the bank, the body we want. Ironically, the more we focus on what we do not have, the more we stay there. Human beings are powerful magnets and attract what they think about. Do you feel abundant or as if you are lacking? They create very different thought spirals.
Here are three tips for cultivating an "attitude of gratitude":
1. Create a gratitude list.
Review it daily and add to it often. Include the big stuff, e.g., my good health and the more trivial stuff, e.g., less than a minute wait for the subway today!
2. Share your gratitude.
Are you grateful for your friends? Tell them! Love your coffee every morning? Tell your barista! I told my manicurist recently how much I appreciate her and the great care she takes with her work and she looked equally happy and shocked. Sadly it seems that people rarely take the time to say something nice.
3. Watch your words.
For 48 hours, try using only appreciative, positive language. Think, I am grateful for the job that means I need an early alarm, grateful for the spouse who burnt the chicken, grateful for the health insurance that affords me a doctor's visit (you can see how we would often think about these events differently).
Gratitude unlocks the happiness we all hold within us and deserve to experience every day. The more grateful we are the more good stuff we attract. It is saying thank you to the universe who in turn delivers more.
What can you be grateful for today for the first time?