blue sky

If you turn on the radio today or watch television, there’s a good chance you’ll be inundated with bad news. Politicians are preoccupied with throwing mud at the competition, the economy is in a slump and everyone seems perched on the edge of disaster.

It’s easy to get ensnared in a downward spiral of negative thinking. If you’re busy concentrating on the things that you lack in life, you’re neglecting the abundance that you do possess. There’s an art to this: the art of gratitude.

Gratitude helps us connect with the abundance in our lives. It’s a powerful feeling, a feeling of appreciation that’s so great that it will spread through you, into your family and further out into your community. It’s a connecting force that establishes commonality between humans, their communities and the environment. Gratitude begins with perspective, and the more energy you give to feeling grateful for your life, the more you will flourish. Who doesn’t want the good things in their life to grow?

 

Start Small


Even in the face of the death of a loved one or the loss of a job, there can be one thing, even a small thing, which one can be grateful for. Sometimes even the most basic elements of life-like sunshine and a blooming flower can be the focus of gratitude. You can feel the warmth of sunshine and the softness of petals. We’re lucky to be able to see them as well.

The food that graces out tables and nourishes our bodies and the touch of someone we care about are also things to be grateful for. We can be grateful for the solar panels that give us clean energy or the advanced technology that powers our electric car. Be grateful for the smallest things in your life and expand to appreciate the big.

 

Practice Abundance


A daily list of abundance is a great way to end each day. You can write it down or make the list mentally. Making an abundance list right before bed is a good way to focus and calm the mind. Instead of obsessing over the things that went wrong with your day, a couple deep breaths and a gratitude list will get you settled for a good night’s sleep. This gratitude meditation is also a great way to stop negative thinking in its tracks.

 

Express


One of the beautiful aspects of gratitude is that you can give it away and receive just as many benefits. It’s a powerful way to connect with your loved ones and strangers on the street. Expressing gratitude has a ripple effect that will pass on the benefits to the life surrounding you.

A little bit of effort made to express your gratitude will make you feel good and another person even better. For example, send a thank you note to someone in your life for a kindness they performed. Or tell a teacher how grateful you are for their guiding hand through a challenging part of your life. Write an appreciative message in the memo section of your check the next time you pay for groceries or rent.

These are all ways to refocus from what’s wrong with your life to focus on what’s right about it. This attitude of gratitude is one of the steps to feeling complete and fulfilled in your life. Focusing on what you have will only make those feelings grow, and when you express gratitude to others, the goodwill will spread to create a connection to your community and the world.

 

Photo Credit: Kevulike via Flickr Creative Commons