Life lessons: Thankful

JournalActively focusing on gratitude is one of the most powerful spiritual practices I have engaged in. Once you do, your life completely shifts. Life is full of challenges. Sometimes life sucks. Sometimes it’s awesome. Focusing on gratitude helps even out the ups and downs, so that we don’t feel tossed about at the mercy of events.

There are many ways to work gratitude practice into your life. You can keep a gratitude journal, and make a practice of writing down 5 or 10 things you are grateful for every morning or evening.

You can pray before each meal, thanking God (or god, or whoever you feel comfortable thanking) for the food, a table to sit at, a roof to sit under, and the people responsible for getting that food in front of you.

You can take a moment in traffic or waiting in line to find something to be grateful for. This is an interesting exercise. Let’s say you’re in a hurry, you have to stop at the post office, and there’s a huge line. This is normally a swear-under-your-breath moment. But this can also be an amazing opportunity to take five or ten minutes to think about all the things you don’t normally have time to be thankful for. Did you drive to the post office? Be grateful for your car. Did you take public transit? Be grateful for that, and the money to buy a fare. It might sound trite, but it’s a powerful way to shift your consciousness.

As I’m writing this, I’m sitting at a Starbucks at the U.S./Mexico border waiting for someone. He is 90 minutes later than we had hoped. This time has afforded me the chance to people-watch, one of my favorite pastimes. I’m eavesdropping on several great conversations. I’m picking up customer service tips. I’m catching up on social media. I’m reflecting on how long it has been since I’ve been to Mexico, and how odd it is to live so close to another country and never come down here. I am grateful for the opportunity to meet this cool person when he does arrive, and help him craft his TEDx talk for our event on December 1st. I also got a little Christmas shopping done.

I’m not a saint by any means, and I get aggravated just like the next person. But I have found that making gratitude a regular part of my life has evened me out, given me a sense of calm, and improved my life in untold ways, if only because it makes me more pleasant to be around.Gratitude JournalWhether you are celebrating Thanksgiving tomorrow or not, take a moment to write down 5 or 10 things you are grateful for, and see how it changes your day.

Today’s post is part of our mission to help you rebuild your health through food and lifestyle choices. Look for posts on Mondays featuring gluten-free, sugar-free recipes made with healthy plant-based ingredients, Wednesday essays, and Friday giveaways (when available).

This beautiful journal is from Paper Blanks.

Comments

  1. says

    I have let my daily practice slip a bit, but you are so right. Gratitude shifts life from feeling random and often frustrating into a less bumpy ride. Not to mention that what you focus on expands. It just becomes easier and easier to find things to be grateful for.
    :)
    Kel

  2. says

    Wonderful post! We are not religious nor do we follow a religion, but we’ve taught our kids to pray and be thankful for the meal and loved ones before us. Thank you for reminding us to take time even throughout the day to do the same thing. Hugs and Happy Thanksgiving!

  3. says

    I really needed to read this right now, right this morning. I have spent 2 days moping, mourning loved ones gone and generally feeling sorry for myself. If my mother were alive, she would say, “Pull yourself together!” Your post did that for me, albeit more gently.

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