“There is more hunger for love and appreciation in this world than for bread.” – Mother Teresa, Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize
With the American Thanksgiving behind us – and Hanukkah and Christmas just around the corner – we are officially entering into “peak gratitude season,” when we celebrate our thankfulness for all the good things in our lives.
But wouldn’t it be wonderful to experience that level of joy, love, and appreciation every day of the year? How would it change your life if you did?
“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” – Oprah Winfrey
Appreciation is one of the highest emotional states you can experience. When you cultivate gratitude, you’re able to feel true joy and contentment, no matter what you have or don’t have in your life. And since the Law of Attraction states that like attracts like, when you’re grateful for what you already have, you will naturally attract more for which you can be grateful.
However, many people find that it requires great diligence to cultivate a persistent attitude of appreciation. That’s because we’ve been culturally conditioned to focus on what we don’t have, rather than appreciating what we’ve already received or achieved.
To help you combat this conditioning, here are six simple tips on how to make gratitude a natural part of your daily routine, so you can attract more joy and abundance into your life all year long:
1. Take seven minutes each morning to write down everything you appreciate in life
Starting your day this way primes you to be receptive and grateful for everything your day will bring. It also helps you cultivate an air of positivity that makes you naturally more attractive to other positive people – and inspires them to want to help you achieve your goals.
2. Make a conscious effort to appreciate at least three people every day
By letting people know how much you appreciate them, you increase their own sense of appreciation and self-worth, and encourage them to pay this positive energy forward to other people.
While most people enjoy receiving verbal appreciation, written notes are also nice because they can be saved and re-read. (For ideas on expressing appreciation, grab your copy of The Success Principles and review Principle 53: Practice Uncommon Appreciation.)
3. Play the Appreciation Game
Set a specific time each day to consciously appreciate everything you encounter. An ideal time to do this is on your way to or from work. Appreciate the people you pass, the road you walk on, the cars that let you merge into a different lane, the street signs that make it easy for you to know where you’re going, the rain that’s nourishing the plants and trees, and so on.
Look for the good in all situations – even those you would normally view as negative. As the saying goes, “Every cloud has a silver lining.” For example, when my wife was in a car accident a few years ago, she could have chosen to berate herself or question her judgment. Instead, she focused on her gratitude for suffering only minor injuries and for the help she received from other drivers.
4. Carry a physical token of gratitude in your pocket, such as a heart-shaped stone, crystal, or some other small item
A physical reminder can bring you back to your practice of gratitude when your mind has drifted elsewhere. As you reach into your pocket throughout the day and feel the token, use it as a reminder to stop, breathe and take a moment to fully experience the emotion of gratitude. The more conscious effort you put into seeking it out, the easier it will be to find it – and the more powerful your experience will be.
5. Remember to appreciate the smallest blessings
The best way to activate your gratitude is by acknowledging the gifts most people take for granted. If you have food in your refrigerator, clothes in your closet and a roof over your head, you are better off than seventy-five percent of the world’s population.
If you eat three meals a day, you are far better off than the 1 billion people on the planet who eat once a day at most.
Do you have a phone? How about a car that allows you to travel to work or to explore the country? Is your family healthy? Do you have a computer and Internet access to stay in touch with the world, get access to education, and perform work for which you are paid? Do you have clean water to drink?
Celebrate these simple blessings. These daily conveniences are gifts that most people in the world do not enjoy.
6. Appreciate yourself
Finally, don’t forget to appreciate your OWN positive qualities and accomplishments. In addition to celebrating your big successes, acknowledge your small daily successes too.
We all need acknowledgement, but the most important acknowledgement is that which we give ourselves.
One of the most powerful ways to acknowledge and appreciate yourself is by doing the Mirror Exercise. This powerful exercise requires you to appreciate yourself for the day’s accomplishments while talking to yourself in a mirror. For detailed instructions and guidance for the Mirror Exercise, see page 199-201 of The Success Principles.
It may not feel natural at first to focus on appreciating what you already have, but by faithfully practicing the Daily Appreciation Habits outlined in this article, you’ll begin to change your conditioning.
To kick-start your daily gratitude practice, take a few moments to share at least three things for which you’re grateful for in the comments. Even the smallest act of gratitude will have a positive impact on your life.
Tell me what you’re grateful for right now!
As the beloved originator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul® series, Jack Canfield fostered the emergence of inspirational anthologies as a genre—and watched it grow to a billion dollar market. As the driving force behind the development and delivery of over 100 million books sold through the Chicken Soup for the Soul® franchise, Jack Canfield is uniquely qualified to talk about success. Jack is America’s #1 Success Coach and wrote the life-changing book The Success Principles: How to Get From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be and speaks around the world on this subject. Follow Jack at www.jackcanfield.com and sign up for his free resources today!
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Image courtesy of Maria Shanina.