THIS SERIES: THE POWER OF THANKSGIVING
To give some practical help in this, the next few posts will comprise of excerpts from my book, Alive and Grateful, a 30 day exploration of appreciation.
This book was written for a secular audience with the purpose of encouraging readers to notice, appreciate and think about the source of blessing in their lives; and - in case you're wondering - was written under a pen-name to avoid any confusion with material written by me for Christians.
Swap negativity for delight, grumbles for appreciation, complaint for celebration.
Swap a mind-set and change your life.
For gratitude to take root in our lives and become habitual, we have to go through a process of exchanging one pattern of thinking for another. Many of us rush through our lives without pausing - unless from exhaustion; however, learning to be grateful means we have to take time to develop new habits.
This is where the GRATITUDE SWAP comes in:
STOP: Our first step into appreciation is to stop every so often during the day, to refocus and notice the world around us. So often we pass through life unheeding and unseeing. This is the time to call a halt, literally, and take note.
WONDER: So many of us have lost our child-like sense of wonder; it’s time to get it back. Take time to notice, really notice the world around you….. the veins in this leaf, the sunlight on that hair, the scent of fresh cut grass, the laughter of a child….. Look at things as if for the first time: see shapes and patterns, feel textures and surfaces, hear rhythms and sounds, smell and taste foodstuffs. Whatever the focus for the day, don’t be tempted to dash it off in order to tick the box; take time to really look, savour and enjoy.
ARTICULATE: It’s not enough to just feel a warm glow within. Gratitude to be really effective needs to be expressed. What you say aloud has an effect on your mental, emotional and physical health, as well as on your performance - as your subconscious mind picks up its cues from what comes out of your mouth. So get into the habit of expressing your pleasure aloud: ‘I am so glad that……’, ‘I love this…..’, I am so grateful for….’ And if you’re aware of someone who has provided the blessing, then of course, thank them.
PASS IT ON: We have all experienced how the atmosphere changes when someone enters the conversation with a carping, critical attitude. We too can change the climate around us depending on whether we choose negativity or appreciation. Gratitude isn’t meant to pool up inside us, it’s meant to overflow; to spill out on our families and communities. Cultivating an attitude of gratefulness is an opportunity to infect the world – one small act at a time. Try it and see…..
Your physical body in fact! (We’ll come on to other aspects later….) Maybe you feel this is a
deal-breaker right here? Many, many people have problems with self-image and focus on
the aspects they would like to change, rather than the positive things about themselves. We
are surrounded with air-brushed media images of the perfect look, and have been sold the
lie that this is normal. As a result we worry and fret about physical appearance; rising
numbers seeking plastic surgery, or falling prey to eating disorders in their pursuit of this
insidious illusion. It’s time to fight back!
Today’s gratitude challenge is about focusing on the good things about your body. Have a go
even if you find it difficult - for a change in this particular attitude will bring about real
freedom. Can you find 10 things about your body that you appreciate?
Does some or all of it work properly? Think about your internal organs – you are breathing –
right? What about externally – which parts are strong and healthy? Which parts do you like?
Have you got nice nails, a good head of hair, strong teeth? Which parts of your body, or
aspects of your appearance would someone else in a challenging situation be very happy to
Take time to SWAP a negative attitude for gratefulness: STOP, WONDER, ARTICULATE and
PASS IT ON: Compliment a friend or family member on their appearance – or even better, a
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