Gratitude and love are immensely powerful forces that we can use to expand our happiness, create loving relationships, and even improve our health. Take a look at the people in your life who think that the glass-is-half-empty or the-glass-is-half-full. Then ask yourself, which one is happier?
I first learned of keeping a gratitude journal from Oprah many years ago. Oprah says “You radiate and generate more goodness for yourself when you’re aware of all you have and not focusing on your have-nots.” Once you develop a daily routine, you’ll be filled with more gratitude and love. And even better, you’ll be filling others too! More good things are coming your way!
Healing Powers of Gratitude and Love
Many scientific studies have found that people who consciously focus on gratitude experience greater emotional wellbeing and physical health than those who don’t. In control groups, those who cultivated a grateful outlook experienced the following:
- Felt better about their lives as a whole
- Experienced greater levels of joy and happiness
- Felt optimistic about the future
- Got sick less often
- Exercised more regularly
- Had more energy, enthusiasm, determination, and focus
- Made greater progress toward achieving important personal goals
- Slept better and awoke feeling refreshed
- Felt stronger during trying times
- Enjoyed closer family ties
- Were more likely to help others and offer emotional support
- Experienced fewer symptoms of stress
If you want more happiness, joy, and energy, gratitude is clearly a crucial quality to cultivate. It is a fullness of heart that moves us from limitation and fear to expansion and love.
When we’re appreciating something, our ego moves out of the way and we connect with our soul.
Gratitude brings our attention to the present, which is the only place where miracles can unfold. The deeper our appreciation, the more we see with the eyes of the soul, and the more our life flows in harmony with the creative power of the universe.
When To Journal
You can write in your journal just before bed, when you wake up in the morning, or just before you meditate. The time of day isn’t important; what is important is that you consistently take a few moments to consciously focus your mind on your blessings. Commit to keeping a journal for a month. I love this quote, “What we put our attention on expands in our life.” By offering gratitude for all the goodness we experience, we’re inviting the universe to give us more and more of what we want.
Gratitude Practice Techniques
Keep a Gratitude Journal
Since ancient times, philosophers and sages from every spiritual tradition have taught that cultivating gratitude is the key to experiencing deeper levels of happiness, fulfillment, and well-being.
As you write in your journal, challenge yourself by not repeating items from the previous days. This will make you look more deeply at all the little things that enhance your life and give you joy.
- waking up in a warm bed
- a song that touched your heart
- that phone call from a friend
- the beating of your heart
- a flower that blooms outside your window
Take a Gratitude Walk
This is a particularly useful practice when you’re feeling down or filled with stress and worry. Set aside 20 minutes (or longer if you can) and walk in your neighborhood, through a park, around your office, or somewhere in nature. Leave the dog at home this time, this walk is all about you!
During your walk, consider the many things for which you are grateful: nurturing relationships, material comforts, the body that allows you to experience the world, the mind that allows you to really understand yourself, and your essential spiritual nature.
Breathe, pause, and be grateful for the air that is filling your lungs and making your life possible.
Say The Alphabet
One trick that keeps me on track is to start with the letter A and say something or someone I’m grateful for that starts with A. Then proceed through the alphabet. Pay attention to your senses, everything you’re seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling, and maybe even tasting, and see how many things you can find to feel grateful for. This is a powerful way to shift your mood and open up the flow of abundance that always surrounds you.
Thank Someone With a Letter
This is very powerful and a great way to make someone feel special. Make a list of at least five people who have had a profound impact on your life. Choose one and write a thank you letter expressing gratitude for all the gifts you’ve received from that person. If possible, deliver your gratitude letter in person.
In studies of people who have practiced this form of gratitude, the results have been amazing. Often the recipient of the letter had no idea what an impact he or she had had on another person and was deeply touched by the expression of such authentic gratitude.
While we may often thank people verbally, the written word can often be even more powerful because someone has taken the time to write their appreciation. A letter can also be re-read and treasured, creating joy and love that will continue to ripple out into the universe.
Click here to view our blog post The Power of Positive Thinking.