There’s a saying that goes “It is not happy people who are thankful, it is thankful people who are happy” and I couldn’t agree more. I’ve experienced firsthand the effects of practicing gratitude and thus what it does in other people’s lives which is why I want to share little nuggets of wisdom to prepare our hearts and minds for the Thanksgiving holiday. Around this time last year, I was recommended to read the book, The Magic by Rhonda Bynes (the author of The Secret). I had already read The Secret and loved it, so I decided to give this one a try. The Magic was different to any other personal development book I had read because it was very interactive –the book took me on a 28 day magical journey to practice gratitude in my everyday life. Reading this book and engaging in the daily activities, opened my eyes to the power of gratitude and how I could incorporate it in my everyday life. I used to think I was a pretty grateful person, but I soon realized that light years away from being appreciative of the little things.
The philosophy behind gratitude is that you cannot receive more without first understanding the magnitude of blessing that you already have. When you are thankful and for what you already posses, you will have a positively calibrated state of mind, therefore attract things leading to joy and feel better overall. Practicing gratitude all day sounds like an amazing way to live but in reality it can be quite the difficult task. What happens when you’re stuck in traffic, fired or dumped? What if you fail your exam or had a cup of joe spilled on your white shirt before a job interview? Believe it or not, you can still find something to be grateful for in those seemingly disastrous situations. That’s actually when you can exercise the most gratitude willfully and with intentionality. It’s easy to be grateful when everything is smooth sailing, but when things are going all wrong, you need to bring in this mental and emotional shift so that you can begin to change things around you.
So how can you be grateful when you are just a short fuse from exploding?
Make it your mission to always look for that one benign element, no matter how little it may be. For instance, if you are stuck in traffic, maybe you find gratitude in being alone to reflect on your day, or you enjoy the comfort of your car seat and good music rather than walking it to work. If you get fired from your job, you can see it as an opportunity to start fresh somewhere else and maybe even explore a new career option you had always secretly wanted to try. Also remember, you may not be grateful now for some of these situations, but when you look back at them, you will see how they helped you grow and stretched your character.
I want to leave you with two of my favorite “healthy girl”ways to make feeling grateful a habit. They say it takes 21 days to start a habit, so your goal should be to do the following:
1. Every morning when you wake up, let the first thing you should do is say “I am thankful” out loud. Thankful for another day of life, for health, for provision of basic needs and for the wonderful day ahead. This would ideally be done before going to the bathroom, checking your phone or anything else first thing in the morning. The goal is that you can train your mind to say “thank you” as soon as you wake up, before any negative thoughts get a chance at sneaking in.
2. Every night before you catch some good rest, think back on your day and highlight three things to appreciate about it. They can be great or small, it doesn’t matter, as long as they are positive.
This activity will help you develop a habit of positive thinking which will soon become second nature. You will start to see how your overall well-being increases, your positive attitude will become contagious to those around you and bad days will become a rare exception in your life.
By Estefania Romero
Image by Stephanie Pino