How a gratitude practice could change your life

Name three things you’re grateful for.

My prompt staring back at me yesterday, in my Sentence a Day book.  I sat with my pen poised considering my answer.

Grateful

Well my health.  My happiness.  My family and their health.  The amazing people in my life, my loving husband who adores me, my happy kids, my supportive Mum and Sister, my wonderful friends.

Tick and I am done and yet this answer felt easy, shallow, robotic.

I slept on it.

As I drifted back to consciousness this morning a quote I wrote down years ago floated back into my mind.

Parkinsons Disease demanded I be a better man, husband, father and citizen.  For that I refer to Parkinsons Disease as a gift, the gift that keeps on taking…….but a gift. – Michael J Fox

In his book, Lucky Man, Michael J Fox describes the years since his diagnosis of Parkinsons Disease as the best years of his life.  He sees his disease as a gift and he is grateful.  When reading his book I was amazed and deeply touched by his story and importantly his grateful attitude.   How could he be grateful?

Over the years I have listened to many, many people describe their gratitude practices.  The journals they keep, the moment each day they consciously stop to acknowledge the things in life they are grateful for.  Family meals time when they take turns to declare what they are grateful for.  I have even seen photographic journals depicting gratitude.

I have watched the interviews, read and written down the quotes and summarised countless articles about gratitude.

Vulnerability researcher Brene Brown speaks of the relationship between joy and gratitude in this video.   She describes the art of practicing gratitude as way of inviting joy in.

Yes inviting joy in.

I return to my prompt, name three things I am grateful for and I truly realise I have not experienced gratitude.  Yes I have all the theory, I intellectually understand the art of gratitude and I am yet to actively practice it from my heart and my soul.

Gratitude so far has been done on autopilot, a tick on the to do list of life.

Today I am beginning my very first gratitude practice, a daily practice of writing down at least one thing I am grateful for each day.

I am grateful for the abundant life I lead

I am grateful for being so deeply loved

I am grateful for a healthy body that supports my physical endeavours

I am grateful for the sadness that has taught me compassion

I am grateful for the suffering that taught me empathy

I am grateful for the mistakes I  have made that have helped me grow

I am grateful for the support I have from friends and family

I am grateful for the opportunity to share my creativity online

I am grateful for all the inspiring writers and photographers who feed my desire to grow

I am grateful for the hurt that taught me forgiveness

I am grateful for this space to share myself with honesty and truth

I am grateful for my unique journey that has led to who I am and where I am today

Today I stop being grateful because I feel happy and I become fabulously happy because I am grateful.

Do you have a gratitude practice?  How has it changed your life?

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Comments

  1. Loved your Gratitude Post. I have also read Michael J. Fox’s book Lucky Man. He is inspirational on how he tries to help people. He has also spearheaded finding funding for Parkinson’s research. I started a blog to help people share what they are grateful for. I love passing a journal back and forth with a friend or relative and we share 4 things we are grateful for and pass the book to each other. I look forward to writing my gratitudes as much as being inspired by what my friend is thankful for. It is often the little moments that bring me joy. The blog post below shows a journal my daughter made me where we have been sharing thanks!
    Linda Davidson recently posted…Sharing thanks for homemade gifts from the heart!My Profile

  2. This is something I need to practice more. Thank you for the reminder Karen. So many times your posts make me really stop and think!
    Michelle recently posted…5 Tips for Indoor Photos of Your Kids {Guest Post}My Profile

  3. I love the idea of taking gratitude off autopilot and making a conscious choice to truly reflect every day. Thanks for commenting on my post at Tamara’s. So nice to ‘meet’ you and find another fabulous blog to follow!
    Nicole recently posted…Reverse Bucket ListMy Profile

  4. I am particularly struck by your thought about being grateful for inspiring writers and photographers. I am too. I feel like that’s why I’m trying to do what I’m doing – all of the greats that have gone before me, and with me, and after me too.
    I’m very grateful for family and friends and love right now. And fast airplanes to make us see each other easily.
    Tamara recently posted…Wanderlust: (A Guest Post By Work In Sweats Mama)My Profile

  5. Karen – found you through Nicole@Work In Sweats Mama. I LOVE your outlook and have also learned to make my struggles a teacher and a friend. If everyone read this, and practiced this, it would be life changing.

  6. Your video made me happy and shifted the soundtrack of my day. Lovely compilation of moments and lovely gentle reminder on the gifts of gratitude. Inspried! I will have to try this in June… The shutter clicks happy!
    debbie recently posted…Not so Bare… ChairMy Profile

  7. Mmmm … I agree that there is such a richness in actively practicing gratitude. Wonderful. Thanks for the link to Brené’s video; I hadn’t seen that one!
    Heather Koshiol recently posted…Meet Heart’s Path Explorer Briana GoetzenMy Profile

Trackbacks

  1. […] month I am using my 365 Project to assist me in establishing a gratitude practice.  I am joining in with the lovely Courtney at Click it up a Notch and taking the #28lovelydays […]

  2. […] January 29th, 2014 was the day I stopped being grateful because I was happy, and became happy because I was grateful. […]

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