Why I Practice Gratitude And How It Helped Me Through A Difficult Time
“Be in a state of gratitude for everything that shows up in your life. Be thankful for the storms as well as the smooth sailing.” ~Wayne Dyer
I love this reminder about gratitude.
About 6 years ago, I began practicing gratitude. I was in the midst of a difficult time in my life. I recall hearing the concept ‘practice gratitude’ and thinking ‘I don’t understand’. I learned the habit of saying the blessing before dinner, when I prayed and when I received something. I thought I was a grateful person, but I didn’t ‘feel’ grateful. I didn’t ‘feel’ it in my heart.
At the time, I didn’t really understand the depth of gratitude and why it really matters. But I was curious enough to explore and experiment with the concept. So I began writing in a gratitude journal. At the end of each day I took an inventory of what went well that day, and the simple pleasures in life. And, each morning when I woke up the first thing I would say is, “Thank you, God. Thank you in advance for what you are doing in my life. I don’t understand it. I don’t like it. But I trust you. Help me to see with your eyes. Thank you, God.”
At first it was difficult to find things to be grateful for, and saying thank you didn’t seem authentic because at the time I was not thankful for my circumstances. Gradually, my heart began to soften. I began to accept things exactly as they were, and I began to look at my situation from a very different perspective. I realized everything that was showing up in my life was here for my benefit. Every experience. Every challenge. Every person. I began to understand my difficulties were opportunities to learn, grow, and help others. This understanding and the simple act of writing in a journal had a significant and profound impact on my life.
For me, gratitude is a spiritual practice that continues to help me through difficult times, and focus on what is important. Through journaling, practicing gratitude, and other self-care practices I often experience the feeling of gratitude and peace in my heart. Sometimes it can be an overwhelming emotion that brings tears to my eyes. It reminds me of God’s grace.
Most of us learn the habit of saying thank you. Saying thank you is a great place to start; however, gratitude is more than developing the habit of saying thank you. The essence of gratitude is a deep feeling that satisfies our soul.
When we are stressed, experiencing trials, and busy going through the motions in life, it’s difficult to feel grateful. But by intentionally looking for the goodness in our lives, acknowledging grace and the goodness beyond ourselves the feelings of gratitude are more likely to arise. As a result, we cultivate inner peace and contentment, and enhance our overall health and of well-being. Practicing gratitude isn’t a quick fix to our problems, but it does shift our perception. It helps us to see the lessons and opportunities in everything that shows up in our life. It helps us to see and appreciate the beauty and blessings that are present in our lives, within others and around us.
“If you concentrate on finding what is good in every situation, you will discover that your life will suddenly be filled with gratitude, a feeling that nurtures your soul.” ~Rabbi Harold Kushner
My experience with gratitude has been transformational. I’m truly grateful for my struggles because from them I find strength and wisdom.
With a heart of gratitude,
Health Coach | Yoga Teacher