If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, "thank you," that would suffice.Meister Eckhart
I've recently begun a practice of being thankful for little things throughout the day, and ending each day with gratitude for at least 5 people or events that happened that day. I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that it is changing my life.
Something very special happens when you focus your awareness on gratitude. Your mind illuminates. The tension in your body eases up a little bit. The Now becomes free-flowing and a sense of joy unfolds.
This is because gratitude is an acknowledgment of Oneness. It's a way of connecting to Oneness in a very intimate way. Think about something right now that you are thankful for, and notice how present you become. The feeling of lightness radiating from your center. The feeling of love and connection.
Now, imagine going beyond what you are accustomed to, and bringing gratitude into the center of your day-to-day awareness — making it a way of living.
Being thankful every time you get into your car, or every time you walk into your place of work. Every time you sit down to eat something. Every time you lay down to sleep in your bed at night.
You can even create space throughout your day and just be thankful for being alive — whenever you are waiting at a stop light, for example. Any moment in your day can be enhanced with space for gratitude, and taking a deep breath at the same time is even better. This practice will radically transform your outlook on life.
Studies have shown that a daily practice of gratitude — where you take time each day to focus on what you are thankful for — increases happiness and well-being, and nurtures a more optimistic outlook. It also reduces the presence of stress and disease in the body. Gratitude affects every layer of our being in a positive way.
I can tell you from my own experience with this practice, that it works. I enjoy more frequent moments of joy and completeness. It has also helped me immensely in dealing with stressful, challenging moments. Gratitude has a way of breaking up a wall of negativity into much smaller, more manageable bits.
Here's my challenge to you: Starting today, begin creating space throughout your day for gratitude. Say a quiet "thank you" out loud or in your mind whenever one of your needs or desires is being met, whether it's through the kindness of a friend or a coffee pot making your morning cup of coffee. Be thankful for the good things in your life, big and small. Let gratitude become a regular part of your day — a way of living.
Life just feels better when you're thankful.