November: The Month of Gratitude

I’m sure you (as well as myself) know we have so much to be grateful for. If you are reading this then you are alive. There’s one reason right there! Naturally, fall is the time of year for reflection. Getting ready to bring in the new year,  we start off thinking about the past year. We start reflecting on what we lost, what we gained, what we have, and what we don’t. More often than not we start to focus on what wasn’t right or what was negative about the past year.

Being grateful means focusing on the positive. Taking the current state of your life and reflecting on how it’s improving your life. Life doesn’t always smell like roses… a Grateful mindset can be easily tested during rough times. Suffering happens quite often in life. We all have felt and will feel down on ourselves or a situation. Finding tools to make that suffering as short as possible is something I’m sure we are all searching for.   

Having a gratitude practice isn’t hard but it definitely takes constant effort. You can practice anywhere; on the way to work, brushing your teeth or  before you eat. When trying to start a new habit, I find it most effective to add it to an existing habit. Since you have already trained your brain, by pairing your gratitude practice with an existing practice you only have half the work to do. Timing is an important factor in your practice. Not only for remembering to do it but also how it will affect your day. I find it best to train your brain to start as soon as you wake up or early on in your day. Having your first thoughts be positive will transform your life. Your mindset throughout your entire day will be different. This will lead the outcome of your day to be completely different. If you were to wake up and think about everything that went wrong yesterday, this brand new day will turn out the same. Instead focus on what you have, who you have and what you cherish. Waking up and having positive thoughts is extremely difficult to do and maintain because it takes constant effort. I wake up every morning and still put in an effort to maintain my practice.

My gratitude practice started around two years ago. I had been practicing yoga daily for around a year and a half. I had found a strong relationship with God a few years before that. I prayed when I remembered but never made an effort for regularity. I would pray when I needed it or when someone else needed mostly.

I had just started a new venture and began working a 9-5. I was getting into a routine. Around that same time I was jumping into my self development journey. I felt so strongly pulled in the direction of self-help books, podcasts and motivational YouTube videos. I started practicing what resonated with me. Almost all the content I was consuming was recommending some kind of gratitude practice first thing in the morning. Everyone had a different way but they were all simple. Think positive about what you have. I knew this was something I needed to start everyday, consistently.

When I first started,my intentions were to wake up and think of three things I was grateful for. Easy right ? Not at all … I wouldn’t remember or I would wake up late and be rushing and I wouldn’t make time. Finally I started remembering on my way to work. So that’s where my gratitude practice started. In my car, on my second cigarette, on my way to work each morning. I was a still a smoker at the time. I would still be if I didn’t have this practice. After a few months, I was consistently practicing gratitude everyday on my way to work. It was transforming my being from the core. Inviting positivity into my body before 8 am, allowed me to look at situations I had to face differently. Little things would no longer defeat me because I had already reminded myself of the things I had. My mood was increasingly getting better, more blissful. My practice continued to grow. I started waking up every morning and telling my dog how thankful I was for her. That lead me to acknowledge at least two other things I was greatly grateful for as well. My mood increasingly became more and more positive.

I currently look at everything in life as a blessing. Don’t get my wrong. It’s not always easy and simple. It’s difficult and filled with challenges. This past summer I had totaled my car. I was given a number for the value of my car and it was significantly lower that what I had owed on the loan. In the moment I had no idea what to do; I thought I was going to be biking to work. I didn’t settle for the first amount and had the adjuster look it over again. Everything worked out and I was able to get an even better car with a lower payment. It took time and a little outsider reminder, but, eventually I was able to readjust my thinking. If I didn’t have a grateful perspective I wouldn’t have realize I got what I wanted. I had been manifesting a lower car payment for months. This was the only way it was going to happen.

A gratitude practice allows you to look deeper into those challenges to find the blessings. Constantly reminding yourself the good in every situation will allow the good to grow. The energy grows where your attention goes. Remember to start your practice where you are right now and allow your practice to evolve with you.

Click the link below for a little extra motivation

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