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Monday, April 25, 2016

Daily Gratitude Can Improve Your Life

"Be thankful everyday for what you have and the Universe will respond in kind by rushing in with even more blessings." ~ Jarrad Hewett

One of my first steps on my journey back to happiness was to cultivate a daily practice of gratitude and thankfulness. Several years ago, I remember someone talking about keeping a gratitude journal and knew that I needed to try something to change the course of my life. At first, this was difficult for me to do. I was at a very low point in my life, feeling unsuccessful, financial stress and worries, not feeling very comfortable in my own skin, and my relationships were suffering. Internally (I thought), there wasn't much to be thankful for. But I was willing to try and see what happened.

Each night, I would write three reasons to be grateful or thankful... it could be big or small. There were some nights that all I could be thankful for was food in my fridge and a bed to sleep on, but it started the "blessing" ball rolling. After about a week of doing this, the feeling of joy was slowly coming back to me. I began noticing more and more reasons to be thankful. In a study done by Robert Emmons, PhD from UC Davis in his book "Thanks! How Practicing Gratitude Can Make You Happier.", he has shown that regular grateful thoughts can increase happiness by 25 percent. Amazing! That validated what I was already learning to be true.

As with anything for me, it takes some time to integrate a new habit and not get bored with it. I missed some days and that was okay. I just picked it back up when I remembered. To spice it up and make it fun, I made a game out of it. Each day I must have new and different things to be grateful for. As I practice this more and more, I find new creative ways to express gratitude... thanking someone or something in the moment that it happens and learning to be thankful for all moments in life as they have made me the person that I am today.

By looking for ways to be thankful each day, I was focusing my attention and awareness on the positive not the negative. Because of this focused attention, God, the Universe, Source (whatever you want to name it) will bring to you more and more to be grateful for. I find this to be true, as I no longer struggle to find a blessing each day. They pour in daily in both big and small ways.  Do I still have difficult moments in life? Absolutely, but now the positive outweighs the negative.

My wish for us all is to be thankful in each and every moment.

Much Love and Happiness,
Val

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