As we enter into the Thanksgiving Holiday here in the USA, many begin to focus on giving thanks for all that they are grateful for. No matter where you are in the world, we are living in an interesting time. The news cycle is obsessed with doom and gloom. There are always events and issues that can keep us outraged about something. In times of trouble and turmoil it is most important to remain grounded and centered within ourselves.
No matter where you live around the globe, you can use this time to brush up on, or create a practice of gratitude. The season of winter itself is by design a time for introspection and going within. (If you’re reading this in the Southern Hemisphere, please continue and perhaps bookmark it if you’re running off to the beach.)
Other than sharing the things we are grateful for with those we love, what does a practice of gratitude really look like?
Feeling grateful for your life and the people in it is key to living a happy and fulfilling life. Just Google gratitude and happiness and you’ll find thousands of articles sharing the benefits of gratitude.
Some examples of the benefits include:
- Building self-worth and self-esteem
- Getting more enjoyment out of life
- Helping you cope with the stress of life
- Encouraging you to reach out to help others
- Making relationships stronger and helping build new ones
- Decreasing the desire to compare yourself to others
- Preventing you from taking the good in your life for granted
- Generally feeling more positive about your life and your circumstances
With all of these benefits, you’d think everyone would be practicing gratitude as often as they can. But what does a practice of gratitude look like? What does it really mean?
We’d love to share a few of our regular gratitude practices so that you can develop your own and cultivate the benefits in your life.
- Five Things…
Every night right before we go to sleep, we each share 5 things we are grateful for from the day. We speak them out loud to each other, and we save one another for the last item on the list – like the grand finale. (We do this even on the rare days we’ve had a conflict.)
If you are single, or your partner doesn’t wish to participate in this practice, you can write down 5 things you are grateful for to have a gratitude journal. (Pro Tip: Writing down your 5 things each night offers you the opportunity to refer to it on difficult days.)
It is important that this practice is done right before going to bed as you will take these suggestions into your sleep, your dreams, and integrate a feeling of gratitude into your subconscious mind.
The list can be different every night, or you can repeat some or all of the items, it is really up to you. Feel free to focus on people, objects, your pets, events, your car, your home… whatever you want to put on the list. The key is to do it nightly and right before going to sleep.
- Our Annual Thanksgiving Practice
Since we are focusing nightly on all the good that is in our lives, we do something a little different for Thanksgiving. While we do give thanks for all the abundance in our life: our family, our friends, our clients, etc. We also take time to appreciate everything that has gone wrong, and all the bad decisions we’ve made.
This may seem like a strange approach, but stick with us here and please continue reading.
Most people don’t change or grow when they are happy. The good times are their own reward. Human beings change and grow through struggles and challenges.
Think about a butterfly that struggles to fight its way out of the cocoon. It is the fight to break free that builds enough strength in its wings so that it can fly. If you were to help the butterfly out, it wouldn’t survive because it won’t have the strength to do so.
Struggle and challenges are important to shaping who we are. Without them we wouldn’t be motivated to change our lives for the better.
Think about the example of the wealthy, spoiled child who has everything handed to him in life. He doesn’t learn to develop the strength of will and character in order to create a life of his own.
When we are grateful for the difficult times in our lives, by putting the focus on who we have to become in order to overcome the challenge, we can turn a crisis into an opportunity.
Another benefit to this practice is that it puts you in the seat of your personal power instead of feeling like a victim.
Have you ever wondered why bad things happen to good people? We believe the answer is – to make them better.
Here is our suggestion for you this Thanksgiving holiday:
Make a list of the challenges and struggles you’ve gone through over the past year. Take time to reflect on each one to see how it has shaped you in a positive way. If you can’t find a positive result from the challenge, journal about who you need to become in order to release the event and step back into your power.
Turning our struggles into growth experiences is one of the most important and rewarding practices that will serve you for the rest of your life.
- Act As If… (express gratitude for what you desire)
A gratitude practice can also be used as a tool to help you create what you desire in your life.
One of the many important skills we each learned in our years studying acting and improvisation is the idea of “acting as if.” When you use your imagination to step into the life of the character or the situation, you are stepping into the role of the creator in your life.
This important step of becoming a creator puts you in your power to manifest into your life what you desire.
Start by expressing gratitude for what you desire to manifest. It is important to place the desire just outside of your current circumstances.
In other words – you cannot lie to yourself.
Being grateful for a million dollars when you’re living paycheck to paycheck won’t magically bring the money to you. However, if you express gratitude for discovering new ways to make more money, and earning it with less effort, you are opening yourself up to possibility in your mind thus creating new opportunities out in the world.
The same is true for love. Start by expressing gratitude for all the love that exists currently in your life in all its many forms. Then grow to the next step and express gratitude in the direction you would like to create.
You can express gratitude for all the interesting people you’re going to meet online dating. Or for discovering that there are many single and available people in your age range looking for love in your town or city.
You can be grateful for things that you are working toward, or that are possible with some planning, opportunity, and luck.
Put some emotion in it and open your arms wide and with a smile loudly proclaim, “I am open to receive all my good!”
Your emotional state counts when acting as if, so be sure to do this practice when you really feel it – don’t attempt to fake it.
Doing this practice will create within you a sense of possibility, put you back in your power, develop a positive outlook towards your goal, and give direction to your subconscious to lead you toward that which you desire.
Please take these ideas, make them your own, and put some or all of them into a gratitude practice for yourself.
We are truly so grateful for you and for your being part of our community. Wishing for you wealth, health and love this Holiday Season and beyond!
We are here to be your guides to soul-satisfying, long-lasting love.
Love and Abundance,