"When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you." -Lao Tzu
November is upon us and Thanksgiving is just around the corner. If you’ve been on social media, you see a lot of people posting the things they are thankful for on the days leading up to Thanksgiving. While I think it’s great that they’ve taken the month of November to express their gratitude for friends, family, health and accomplishments, I believe it’s important to practice a state of gratitude every day of the year.
Like a lot of people, I used to come from a place of “lack”. I felt I needed MORE. More stuff, more friends, more love, more money. I had a tendency to feel that there wasn’t enough of these things to go around. How could it be possible that I could watch so many friends and family fall in love, have great success in business, have beautiful homes and loving families? How could there be any thing left for me? The sense of “lack” is more common than you think and it can be ingrained at a very early age. Growing up I was told “we can’t afford that,” “you have to work hard for the things you want in life”, and my favorite “all the good ones are already taken”! All of these things form your relationship with money, your views on success, relationships and the way you view the accomplishments of others. And guess what?? It’s not true! In fact, there’s an abundance to go around! Perpetuating thoughts like these can be quite toxic. The key is, to go from the place of “lack” to the place of “abundance consciousness.” Let me clarify here - the term “abundance” does not mean “money”. It refers to abundance in love, health, joy and all things that bring happiness. There is an abundance of all of these things. So how do you go from that place of “lack” to true happiness? By practicing gratitude.
Find something to be grateful for everyday. Start with the basics. For example, “Today I am thankful for clean running water when many do not.” Or “Today I am thankful to have dishes to do because it means my family is well fed.” Bringing your attention to basic human needs that are being met help you realize how truly blessed you are with abundance when so many are lacking the things we take for granted every day.
See the silver lining. Everything we are challenged with has a bright side or a lesson. Some days you may feel like you have to dig deep to find it but it’s there. If you’re frustrated because the car broke down and one of the kids had a melt down at Trader Joe’s, be grateful for the mouths to feed and the ability to do so.
Be grateful for the accomplishments of others. I’ve read a lot of articles about the negative effects of social media causing feelings of jealousy, depression, and anxiety. If we embrace and celebrate the fortune of others, it allows more good fortune in our own lives. Don’t allow the green monster to rear its ugly head. Spread the love. The energy you put out is the energy you receive from others.
Start a journal to keep track of all the tings you are grateful for. According to research conducted by UC Davis psychologist Robert Emmonds author of Thanks! How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier, by keeping track of all the things you are grateful for, you can increase your happiness level and wellbeing. As a bonus, on days you’re feeling blue, simply reading the journal can help ward off feelings of depression.
Include people in your gratitude practice. We all have people that we are thankful for but we sometimes forget to tell them. Spread your gratitude to others by sharing your thankfulness. Send them a card, a text, or just tell them “I am so thankful to have you in my life”.
Share the abundance. If you’re grateful for having a family to spend the holidays with, invite someone that may not have a place to go. If you’re thankful for the clothes on your back - donate some to a local charity. If you’re grateful for the food on your table, make extra for your local food bank.
Focusing on the things you’re grateful for takes attention off the little things that cause daily frustrations. Abundance consciousness allows you to have more abundance in your life. Take nothing for granted. Practicing gratitude can increase feelings of self-worth, happiness and spiritual connection.
Today and every day I am grateful for YOU, my readers, my clients, my friends, my family.
Wishing you an abundance of health & happiness,