What Are You NOT Thankful For?
It’s easy to be thankful for the blessings in life. It’s simple to become aware of the abundance that surrounds us, whether in the form of a job we love, the love of friends and family, an intimate partnership, etc.
This Thanksgiving, I encourage you to challenge yourself to consider offering gratitude to those areas of your life you don’t necessarily feel thankful for. Maybe you are in a less than ideal relationship. Perhaps a friend or family member has been getting on your nerves. Maybe you are holding jealousy or anger towards a co-worker. Gratitude is a choice, and though certain situations in life may seem less than what we had hoped for, begin to notice what happens when you view these situations through the lens of gratitude. The ‘gratitude lens’ is simply a perspective shift. It instantly transports you from ‘Why me?’ to ‘This is happening FOR me, not TO me.’ Choosing gratitude converts anxiety into excitement. It is a shape shifter for energy, and that shift will drastically increase your wellbeing. You will be able to physically feel the benefits. Unconditional thankfulness is like swallowing a dose of the universe’s most potent, healing medicine right into your entire being to be easily absorbed and assimilated.
Numerous studies have discovered that training our brains to notice the good in everything, i.e. an ‘attitude of gratitude’ has significant health benefits. The advantages of thankfulness stem from its miraculous ability to motivate us to take better care of ourselves. When we choose to look on the brighter side of things or to embrace life’s inevitable difficulties, our lives will feel and become brighter. That may translate as: a desire to exercise, eat healthy, help others, and trust that everything is exactly as it should be in this very moment.
I’m not asking you to pretend to enjoy something that you don’t or to love a situation that you don’t love. I am asking you to make a choice. I am asking you to take responsibility for the way you feel. Responsibility comes form the word ‘response’. It means you are present. Respond to your circumstances out of choice rather than out of habit. Habitual responses are called ‘reactions’. They are automatic. They are contracting. Repeated unconscious reaction will eventually cause poor health. Offering gratitude for that which we may not organically feel thankful for is like working a new muscle. It may feel difficult at first. You may resist it in the beginning. But the more you practice, the stronger that muscle will become. This new way of being will soon become your default. Gratitude is a way of life. It is a breath of fresh air that has been with you all along. Your biology literally changes when your thoughts change. Feelings of anger, frustration, guilt, and jealousy compromise our health and have been linked to inflammation, depression, certain cancers, and heart conditions.
Life does not need to be perfect in order to experience gratitude. In fact, the idea that perfection exists is a fantasy. We will be waiting forever if we hope for perfection. Find perfection in the ebb and flow of life. Trust that you are never given anything you are not strong enough to overcome. All of life’s obstacles are here to teach you something about yourself in relation to the world, and that education will propel your growth as a human.
Start today. Post a comment and let me know what you are choosing to be thankful for that you may otherwise not be. How will you build your muscle of gratitude?