This might be a good time to pause and consider all that we have to be grateful for, even though so many challenging events are going on in the world.

If you are aware of the benefits of a gratitude practice but just haven’t gotten started, or if that idea is new to you, I hope these ideas will be helpful.

Most of us have heard of the value of having a “gratitude practice” — i.e., pausing to notice and be grateful for blessings (no matter how small). If we abide for even a moment in an attitude of gratitude, something seems to shift in our brains. We start to feel a little safer, more positive, and more hopeful. Our level of trust in the goodness of the universe, or in whatever power we believe is behind the universe, shifts up a little.

Some of our gratitude thoughts may be around blessings that have just shown up, while other grateful thoughts may involve earlier or ongoing blessings we are appreciatively remembering during a moment of reflection.

Setting aside a specific time each day for a gratitude pause greatly increases the likelihood that we will develop our gratitude practice into a consistent habit.

Writing down our “gratitude list” can significantly increase the depth and benefits of our practice. One advantage of creating a written list is that it can be saved and used to kickstart our gratitude perspective on any day when we are finding it difficult to feel grateful. Adding to your list throughout the day, helps you to capture more “gratitude items” and to maintain a more sustained gratitude presence.

A 14-minute Ted Talk by David Steindl-Rast emphasizes how gratitude is the most critical and simple prerequisite for finding happiness. Watch it here:   Enjoy!

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