The Transformative Power of Gratitude: 6 Key Principles to Harness the Power
Okay, let’s be real straight out of the gate. There are very few instances in which our days go as planned without any unexpected challenges or interruptions. It would definitely be nice if we could just coast through life and everything falls into place. Unfortunately or fortunately, depending on how you view it, life tends to throw curve balls and present dark spots that blind our vision. There are some people who are naturally able to sense and appreciate those moments when things are going great. Others find it hard to appreciate the bright spots because they are constantly focusing on the darkness in their lives. The real gem rests in those who can find a reason to be grateful regardless of the immediate circumstance.
At The Visionetics Institute, I teach my clients that gratitude is the gateway to abundance in every area of your life. The very notion of gratitude is being grateful for something you have that you could easily not have. So, in essence, gratitude is the recognition of those things that make life better and the appreciation associated with it. The truth is that no matter how bad things are at the current time, there is always something to be grateful for.
There is a wealth of empirical and pragmatic data that proves that gratitude is literally a physical force that positively impacts the lives of those who possess it on a consistent basis. Over 30 years ago, Martin Seligman introduced a new field of psychology called “Positive Psychology.” Underwriting this new field were studies that examined the impact of certain emotions, such as forgiveness, optimism, happiness, gratitude, compassion, and altruism. At the time that Seligman introduced this idea, it was beyond revolutionary and radical. Until this point, most of the focus on emotion in the world of psychology was aimed at negative emotions.
What Seligman did, either knowingly or unknowingly, was interpolate the principles associated with the universal law of polarity. The law of polarity states that there is an equal and opposite reality to everything. Therefore, if negative emotions wreak havoc on a person’s life, then positive emotions would do the opposite.
In simple, gratitude is an emotion that is directly related to our ability to feel and express thankfulness and appreciation. There are studies that have proven that the expression of gratitude has the capacity to improve mental, relational, and physical health. It also impacts our overall experience of happiness throughout life. Without gratitude, we lose our capacity to experience and enjoy life.
Gratitude is directly associated with a decrease in anxiety, stress, depression, and even headaches. It improves energy, increasing self-esteem, and support are more positive and powerful self-image.
Gratitude is a capacity that must be intentionally cultivated. We live in a world in which we are conditioned to focus on the negative. We take on victim mentalities that rest underneath the idea that life is happening to us. The truth is that life is not happening to us, it is responding to us, and when we learn how to engage it, life will happen for us. One method for cultivating gratitude that has worked extremely well for my clients is keeping a gratitude journal where you record experiences and realities for which you are grateful. Obviously, the more you journal, the more you will be able to cultivate gratitude. Keep your gratitude journal close to you at all times, so that you can easily record moments when you reflect on things worthy of your gratitude.
Following are six powerful principles that will help you live a life full of gratitude and the abundance it creates.
- Focus on Living Gratitude Even More than Having an Attitude of Gratitude
Many people make the mistake of seeing gratitude as simply being a part of the mentality — an attitude. Gratitude is a state of being and it is lived out each moment. When you have developed and cultivated it, it will be present despite your current mood or attitude. Even the most stable-minded person will have shifts in the mentality; however, when your life rests on a foundation of gratitude, you will be conditioned to search for the light even in the darkest of times.
While there is a mental component involved in creating a state of gratitude, there is so much more. The
2. Shift Away from Conditional Gratitude to Gratitude Beyond Conditions
It is not difficult for most of us to experience gratitude when things are going well and we are happy. It is important to understand that while gratitude has the ability to create happiness is not happiness; therefore, gratitude can be experienced even in moments of unhappiness and displeasure. The goal is to always live in a state of gratitude. In fact, gratitude has the ability to expedite healing and recovery from emotional trauma.Shop Now at Adam & Eve
While the intention to have a mindset of gratitude is important, it means very little if you don’t learn how to live and experience gratitude constantly despite your current condition. Many people become consumed by their current condition because there is nothing inherently present to rescue from focusing on the present darkness. Gratitude will allow you to locate the light in the midst of your darkness and it will also point you to
3. Resist Disqualifying Your Gratitude During Challenging Times
It is possible to be both, grateful and uncomfortable at the same time. Just because you are in the midst of a challenge does not mean that you should not be grateful. Moments are fleeting and your existence in this life is about more than any momentary discomfort you may experience during your journey to the apex of your journey — your destiny.
Simply understanding the force behind your purpose, should establish a state of gratitude that cannot be shaken. Momentary challenges and disruptions have no power to disqualify your purpose and destiny and you should not disqualify your gratitude because you are going through a difficult point. Your purpose is the insurance policy that guarantees that you are built for the challenge you are facing and that you will emerge victoriously.
Sidenote: Learn to be grateful for the things that are not happening as much as you focus on what is happening.
4. Shift From Only Being Grateful for What’s Present to Also Being Grateful for What is Absent
Think of a negative situation or circumstance that used to exist in your life but no longer exists. Now take the time to experience the feeling of appreciation you have for its absence. Life is not only about what is happening but it is also about what is not happening. As someone who had a catastrophic accident that broke my humerus and dislocated both shoulders, I am grateful to be absent of pain so excruciating that I could not dress
5. Learn To Be a Gracious Receiver
There are some of us who find it hard to receive from others. Maybe you come from a background in which gifts and offerings came with stipulations and conditions, or maybe your pride makes it difficult to accept things from others. However, there is a strong force hidden within the ability to be a gracious receiver. When I speaking of graciously accepting something that is being offered to you, I am not speaking so much toward the outward responses, such as complementing or praising the other person. I am speaking of the energy that you are emitting. See the gift as an act of love and shift your energy to a higher frequency that produces a strong vibrational force of love and appreciation.
As much as there is a benefit in giving, there is also a benefit in knowing how to receive.
6. Stop Complaining and Start Cherishing Those Challenging Moments
Complaining is an energy draining behavior that takes place at a very low frequency. It focuses solely on the darkness and pretends that the light does not exist. Complaining is the subtle way of saying, “I’m helpless.” It does not take a lot of effort to muster up gratitude for the abundance of blessing and benevolence that comes your way, but if we are not careful that gratitude will be consumed by habits of complaining, grumbling, and whining about our possessions, situations, and even those whose existence we should be cherishing.
The moment we see something as a burden, we strip the grace and joy out of it. We are able to see even our challenges as blessings, we remove the effort from the experience and we allow it to expand us
Gratitude should be the foundation on which you build the edifice of your life and purpose. It provides the proper lens through which you should view every situation, good or bad. Gratitude sustains composure in difficult moments and helps to sustain energy and passion. Without gratitude, the force of life will consume you. As you begin to experience gratitude in every area of your life, you will find that life is much more enjoyable.