I was raised to be grateful from a young age. My parents, elders, and teachers always taught me to say "thank you" when receiving something or being helped by someone. However, I didn't fully understand the power of gratitude until I began practicing it intentionally.
Gratitude has become an essential part of my spiritual practice. Expressing gratitude helps me connect with the present moment and acknowledge the blessings in my life. It reminds me that even in difficult times, there is always something to be grateful for.
As I started to cultivate this habit, I noticed a significant shift in my outlook on life. I began to appreciate the small things and found joy in simple moments. Expressing gratitude also helped me become more compassionate and empathetic towards others, as it allowed me to see the good in people and situations.
I have found that acknowledging one thing I am grateful for each day has been the most powerful way to cultivate gratitude as a habit. Whether I express it verbally to a loved one or write it down in my journal, the act of expressing gratitude has become a daily practice that has impacted my spiritual well-being in countless ways.
However, developing a habit of gratitude is not always easy. It requires conscious effort and training our brain to focus on the positive. To do this, I have found that using tools such as a gratitude journal and reading affirmations or quotes has been helpful in maintaining a positive perspective.
Gratitude has not only impacted my spiritual well-being, but it has also improved my overall mental health and outlook on life. It has helped me become more resilient in the face of challenges and has allowed me to approach life with a more positive and grateful attitude.
Of course, developing a habit of gratitude isn't always easy. Our minds have a natural bias towards negativity, and it can be all too easy to fall into patterns of complaining and negativity. But by consciously training our brains to focus on the positive, we can begin to rewire our thought patterns and cultivate a more grateful outlook.
Here are powerful ways to develop a habit of gratitude.
Our subconscious mind directs 95% of our actions and thoughts. To create a habit, you need to plant it on a subconscious level. At first, you will need to really train your brain consciously to be more grateful. It will feel difficult at first if it’s not natural for your brain to react that way. Your conscious mind is doing most of the heavy lifting at this point; you are basically learning a new skill. But with consistent practice, it should only take a few weeks for your brain to rewire itself and adapt to your new pattern, which is gratitude.
One way I've found helpful in encouraging positivity is through the use of tools like gratitude journals and affirmations. Reading inspiring quotes and focusing on the good in my life has helped me to stay mindful of the things I'm grateful for, even when things aren't going exactly as planned.
Another powerful way to cultivate gratitude is through connection with others. By focusing on the needs and concerns of those around us, we can trigger a sense of empathy and gratitude that helps to shift our focus away from our own inner narratives and towards the good in our lives.
Individually, or as a family, pick out a cause or an organization that's meaningful to you. Perhaps the local animal rescue shelter, or a social/religious group you're a part of. Be creative and find something that you genuinely connect with. Another suggestion might be a vacation you are looking forward to. Every time you acknowledge gratitude put some coins in a jar. Once the jar is filled, take it and donate it to the cause or organization to identified. Or use it to add some extra fun into your vacation.
Overall, I've found that cultivating a habit of gratitude has been one of the most positive and transformative things I've done for my mental health and wellbeing. By making a conscious effort to appreciate the good in my life, I've been able to stay positive and hopeful, even in difficult times. I encourage everyone to give it a try - you might be surprised at the positive changes it can bring about in your own life.
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Hi, my name is Melissa Ebken, and I'm so glad you found your way here.
I am at home in the difficult spaces of peoples’ lives, willing to listen and to support those who work to grow themselves. I am a trained coach and have consulted with churches in conflict. Not your stereotypical minister, I embrace the Gospel with joy and laughter as I seek to help those around me grow in faith and understanding, always striving to leave people better than they came. An agent of wholeness, I create a safe space for people, especially those who have been marginalized, where they can understand how ridiculously loved and valued they are by God/Higher Power/Spirit, and to experience the difference that makes in life.
I started the Pursuing Uncomfortable Podcast to share the stories of people who have faced life's most difficult challenges, to inspire you to lean into and overcome your own. It's helpful to know that you're not alone in your struggles and to see how others have navigated similar circumstances. You can listen to it here.
Here's what I can do for and with you.