You don’t have to be Oprah to know…. there is a whole lot of power in the act of GRATITUDE.
Practicing gratitude can center you, help you live in the moment, enhance your relationships, help you overcome hurdles, improve your health, and motivate you to reach your goals. Showing gratitude is a great way to spread positive feelings in the world around you. When you think about it, reaching your goals starts with a single positive thought. Feeling grateful for what you have can produce the good feelings that keep you moving towards the happy life you want.
Sadly work, school, friends, family, hobbies, and daily routine can trap us into a pattern of negative thinking. It only takes one negative thought to breed more and before you know it you’re stressed, unhappy, and frustrated. Negative thinking is a sinking ship, once you are in its gonna be hard to get out of it. This downward spiral can eventually create other ailments in your life, including constant fatigue, depression, and isolation (because really, who wants to hang out with a negative person?). Believe it or not, you can reprogram your thoughts, break out of a negative funk, and generate more happiness in your life simply by focusing on the positive. How do you start? By using the power of GRATITUDE. The easiest way to do this is by starting a daily gratitude practice.
A regular gratitude practice is one of the best ways to retrain your brain to think positive. Research has shown consistently expressing gratitude can have many benefits. A study done at the University of California showed that participants who kept a daily gratitude list complained of fewer physical symptoms, felt happier and more optimistic about their lives, were better able to meet goals, and exercised more.
Personally, I’ve found so much encouragement, happiness and love from focusing on what I’m grateful for rather than what I don’t have. I ain’t saying it’s easy. Actually, it’s tough as hell sometimes. But it is possible, and you’ll find great results!
Here’s what I do to keep gratitude alive and cultivating positivity in my life:
“I am so grateful for my job that I love and that I feel is purposeful in the world.”
“I feel so blessed to be a part of the Hackcancer team. HackCancer is a group of fun, philanthropic, young professionals supporting the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and the Man Woman of the Year Campaign. Through our work together I have met some incredibly inspirational, positive, and powerful people that have become close San Francisco friends”
“Today I am grateful for difficult challenges, changes, and everything else that helps me grow.”
- Write gratitude notes like the ones above to help focus on the good stuff
- Take Instagram photos of things, places and people who make life joyful and bright. Follow me here.
- Work to shift a setback or challenge into something positive or an opportunity to grow and learn something.
- Refer to this amazing list of 48 things to be grateful for from the Freedom Experiment blog when nothing else comes to mind
It takes work, but you CAN learn to focus on the positive in even the most dire situations. Though it may seem difficult and unnatural at first, have a gratitude practice and choosing to focus on the positive every day will help you cultivate a greater sense of happiness and optimism about your life.
We might not have the power to control everything in our lives, but we do have the power to choose our thoughts and focus them on the positive. Practicing gratitude is one of the best ways to do this and I’ve found helps create the right attitude that can transform my day. When I am grateful, I am living in the moment and I am happy for the moment. I can honestly say that when I start thinking about all of the things I’m grateful for, even a bad day can start to seem pretty good…
THIS MONTH, I invite you to join me in my #liveinlove daily gratitude challenge. Ive done the challenge in the past and have found it to be extremely powerful in living a positive and present life. The premise of this year’s challenge is the same—snap photos of items you are grateful for to stay more present and grateful every day. If you’re new to the challenge or need a refresher, here’s what you need to know:
* No photography skills needed. You don’t need to be a photographer or even all that interested in taking photos to participate. All you need to be is interested in staying present and focusing on things you’re grateful for.
* Don’t be scared by the word “challenge.” It’s just what these photo things are called so don’t let it prevent you from participating. There’s no reward, no punishment—just an opportunity to be more present.
* Any kind of camera works. You can take your photos anyway you want to—with your phone, with a digital camera, with a DSLR, Holga, Instax, SLR, Polaroid. Anything goes when it comes to cultivating gratitude.
* Start at any time. You can start the challenge on November 1 and do it for the whole month (as I’m doing) or you can start the challenge any day that works for you. The point is to focus on staying present for thirty days.
* Use hashtag #liveinlove. If you post your pics on Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, etc., be sure to tag them #liveinlove so others can see them. I’ll be posting mine on Instagram “carolinejordanfitness”
* Share your photos. You can share by using the #liveinlove hashtag, by posting the links to your photos (if you have them online) in the comments section, or by sharing them on my facebook fan page HERE.
You might think that, after two years of gratitude challenges, I’d be tired of coming up with creative ideas for staying present using photography, but each year I’ve done this, I’ve found it to be such a great way to stay present. Knowing that I have to take a photo a day, I find myself being more mindful of the world around me, and I also find myself being particularly mindful of that day’s specific item. If you’ve done the challenge before, you probably already know how helpful it is when it comes to staying present and thankful. And if you haven’t tried it out yet, give it a go and see how it feels!
I believe this #liveinlove challenge has the power to positively change your life. And I think deep down in your gut you know it. Having a gratitude practice will fill your life with happiness. And we could all use a little more of that right?
With love and gratitude,
- I am THANKFUL.com . Love this website
- Gratefulness.org . AWESOME site.
- Solve upper body tightness and tension with this video.