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The Impact of Practicing Gratitude

Per Oxford Languages, gratitude is "the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness."

Okay first, what a beautiful definition. Generally speaking, we tend to just think of gratitude as just the first part of that definition, not necessarily the latter.

We all know how much kindness can have a huge impact on others' day-to-day lives. Intentionally practicing gratitude plays a vital part in this life experience for that reason.

During my mental health and spiritual awakenings, I discovered routinely expressing gratitude and found it to be an eye-opener and game-changer. The impact of practicing gratitude includes allowing me to shift from a perspective of lack and scarcity to one that recognizes and honors all the abundance already in front of me. Embracing that then opens the doors to magnetize even more abundant things and situations that I want in my life.

This blog post will be a smidge lengthier than my previous ones. Dive in with me to explore this wildly impactful concept!

The impact of practicing gratitude can vary greatly between people and how they choose to intentionally utilize it,

or lack thereof.

Gratitude is more than saying thank you. It's expressing genuine appreciation for the good in situations, regardless of how big or small it is.

Based on experience, these are a handful of potential outcomes from intentionally writing down specific things I'm grateful for and why I'm grateful for them:

  • increased attentiveness on everyday tasks and conversations

  • decreased likelihood of depressive episodes

  • feeling empowered and appreciated

  • heightened awareness and open-mindedness

  • quicker ability to reframe negative perceptions

. . . and of course there's way more possibilities.

I've mentioned magnetizing things I want and feeling appreciated.

Let's get into that.

On the line I'd mentioned feeling appreciated, I also included "empowered." I'd say that "empowered" is an internal feeling while "appreciated" is external. I placed these on the same line, though, for a reason.

My gratitude practice isn't done for any external entities. I do it for myself and my soul. Positively affecting other people and situations is a cherry on top. The empowered, internal feeling comes first which then presents the opportunity to feel appreciated, the external feeling, as a byproduct. Feeling empowered and standing true in myself and taking up space I deserve, is energetically a high frequency. The Law of Attraction is the breadwinner now, noticing my high frequency and saying "ooh check this girl's vibe out, let's bring like frequencies back to her." Appreciation is that returned high frequency where other situations and people are finding themselves grateful for something I've done. It's a "little" bonus that feels pretty nice.

The actual act of practicing gratitude can be as

simple or as difficult as you make it.

My practice started by saying "I am grateful for XYZ" in my head.

Of course you should replace "XYZ" with your own thing, but hey if you're grateful for those letters, feel free to use it. 😏😆

Once it became relatively consistent, I thought to myself "this would be a great thing to write down so that at anytime I can come back to reflect on what I've been grateful for and can choose to continue that feeling.

I started writing it down, then decided to incorporate it into my morning ritual, which includes reflecting on the previous day, pulling a tarot or oracle card, checking my astrological forecast, writing three intentions for my day, and three things I'm grateful for.

However you find it working best with your routines and structures, that's perfect! You might try it a handful of different ways until you land on what really feels right for you.

And by simple or difficult, I don't just mean the practice itself. I'm also saying that the actual things you're grateful for can be easy to find, or as tricky as you allow yourself to make it. Consider this:

Probably more often than not, the first several things you find yourself being grateful for are food, shelter, family, friends, a job, etc. . . those kind of typical things that we're encouraged/assumed by society to be grateful for. They're incredibly valid! Sometimes, though, those particular mentions within the world of gratitude may not feel as juicy as others that you end up finding when you dig even a tiny bit deeper.

And sometimes, speaking from experience, if/when you do start with those typical things you may have a little time of struggle where it's like "okay I've covered the basics. . . now what else do I possibly have in my life to be grateful for?" It kind of equates to a false sense of completion of the task.

Here's where the magic can happen. If you choose to sit with that thought and let it take over, that's where you're giving yourself permission to make the process more difficult. AND if you instead choose to acknowledge that thought and pivot it to "ah, there's so much more to this world and my life that I can start intentionally looking for things to be grateful for!" then that's going to feel so lovely for you, I just know it.

Keep those eyes open, babe.

Let's walk through two scenarios and explore possibilities together.

  1. You're on a walk with your dog.

    1. Your dog is pretty well-trained to not tug the leash.

      1. Boom, gratitude: "I'm grateful I've taken the steps to enjoy calm walks with my doggo." and "I'm grateful that my doggo enjoys walking with me."

    2. You notice the light breeze and sun warming your skin.

      1. Boom, gratitude: "I'm grateful that doggo and I are experiencing this beautiful weather." and "Wow, I'm so glad I decided to take this walk instead of staying indoors all day."

    3. You see a friend you haven't talked to in ages.

      1. Boom, gratitude: "Whoa, if I hadn't taken this walk, who knows when I would've connected with them again. Grateful for my decision to take the walk." and "I love that they had the chance to meet my doggo, someone who's so special to me."

    4. You're finishing up your walk and reach for your keys. Oh shit, you've misplaced them.

      1. Sure, there's a bit of frustration arising. Acknowledge and honor it. Let it go after a few seconds, pivoting to what your action is -- aka, what's in your control.

      2. And yes, there's gratitude! "Wow, I didn't let my emotion overtake me. I love my self-growth." and "Okay doggo, we get to wait for the locksmith. We can walk a different route to explore or we can sit on the porch and do some training I've been putting off."

        1. Even though it's unexpected, you're putting gratitude into practice by finding something intentional to make the situation better.

    5. You ended up seeing a gorgeous sunset together.

      1. Boom, gratitude: "I'm so grateful that doggo and I got even more time together today, ending it with natural beauty."

  2. You're running late for your job.

    1. Oof, frustration especially if you begin work in the morning. Not a fun way to start the day.

      1. There can still be gratitude. You see there's a wreck on your route. "I wasn't meant to be on the road when I usually am during my commute. I am safe."

    2. All is fine when you arrive to work. And there's a big pile of to-dos on your desk.

      1. Boom, gratitude: "Okay well, I have my work cut out for me. Maybe whatever else my mind was originally going to wander to is unnecessary and now I have a task to keep my focus on."

    3. A coworker sees that your boss just dropped more onto your pile of to-dos with the due date being today. You put a mask of a can-do attitude on for your boss, then as they walk away your coworker sees the mask come off to show your stress. They offer to help.

      1. Boom, gratitude: "Wow, I so appreciate this coworker going out of their way to help me out. This support feels great."

        1. Bonus points if you actually tell your coworker this.

You have the power within you to explicitly choose how you react to situations. Gratitude practices are a beautiful, simple, fun way to practice this. If you do it with intention and mindfulness, you'll begin finding some sort of beauty and positivity in every single situation, while still honoring the emotions coming up especially if the situation is at first seemingly negative.

Something I accompany with my own gratitude practice is remembering that:

Things don't happen to us.

They happen for us.

There's a lesson, a positive outcome, etc in literally everything. We control how we react and act. If a situation only has negative outcomes, it's because that's the perspective we've chosen -- either subconsciously or consciously.

It's very important to remember that this is a practice. You're 99% not going to nail it overnight, or even in the first two weeks. It's dependent on the person, and how much grace they give themselves on the journey. The more you consistent you keep at it, the more efficient you'll become and the more impactful it'll be for you. And the more you'll be choosing your perspective consciously, which is truly the best way to do it in my eyes.

So! What do you think? I could likely keep going and make this like an hour read, although this feels like a good spot to leave it for you to digest. Let me know in the comments!

I'm excited to also offer you my Gratitude Journal Starter Kit: 14 Days of Prompts to Warm Up Your Gratitude Muscles -- for free! I know you love a good freebie, especially when they come with actual value. Check it out!

(It says "buy now" only because I have it set up as a product. It is in fact free!)

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