Gratitude is an attitude we cultivate with practice. It’s a tangible force. Think of it as a muscle we develop over time. The more you use it the stronger it gets.

It is one thing to be grateful for things that feel good and are already creating and generating happiness. It’s another thing to be grateful for the “hard stuff.” You know, those times where your heart’s been broken, you’ve lost your job or things just aren’t going the way you want them to. In these moments it’s easy to reach for self-pity, doubt, victim and blame; the world of your negative ego.

As I was leaving my house for an appointment today, my car didn’t start. At first I was frustrated at my husband for not being there to help me. Next, I was angry at the universe for making it hard. Finally, I took some deep breaths, called the person who I was meeting and told them I’d be late. I got my bike and helmet from the garage and started down my driveway. I wasn’t one minute into it before I realized what a blessing this had become. Being on my bike was exactly what I needed! In that moment, I felt a wave of gratitude come over me. I was grateful for the beauty of the day, the fresh air on my face, the exercise I was getting and the time to slow things down and notice. This felt great and it was much more spacious and liberating than the frustration and anger I was previously feeling.

Gratitude at this level is about being aware and taking personal responsibility for what’s going on and it’s impact on you. It’s easier to numb out in drama rather than trusting in the lesson or the bigger picture. You cannot be in your negative ego and feel gratitude at the same time. Gratitude helps you take your mind away from the fear or anger and redirect it toward trust and peace. Now really, where would you rather hang out?

I’m not saying don’t feel the pain of anger or sadness. Releasing clean emotions is important and healthy. But the key is to release them. Let them go and quickly reach for gratitude.

Gratitude is an expansive emotion. In other words, the more you feel grateful the more things you will create to be grateful for. It propels you forward in confidence, peace and trust. And, it feels good!

Below are seven ways to generate more gratitude in your life:

  1. Every morning upon awakening or in the evening before falling asleep, remember five things you are grateful for. Actually saying them out loud turns up the gratitude volume. By hearing your voice say the words you are taking them out of your head and really claiming them as yours.
  2. Keep a gratitude journal. Add to it when you are feeling particularly grateful. Pouring stories, photos, words and pictures into this journal is like pouring this higher frequency onto the pages. Then, when you are in a funk and need a little help accessing gratitude, you can open up the book and reconnect to this wonderful energy.
  3. When things aren’t going in the direction you desire, drop out of your head (where your ego lives) and into your body. Slow things down by taking a few deep breaths and get curious. Ask yourself, “Where is the gift here? How could this be propelling me in a more positive direction? What would it be like to trust in this moment?” Try to see the glass half-full instead of half-empty. What are your blessings instead of your problems?
  4. Get into the habit of tapping into gratitude through out your day. Safely arriving at your destination, reconnecting with a loved one or sitting down to a meal are all perfect times for this.
  5. Remember to be grateful for the simple things. Spend time in nature taking in the natural beauty around you. Listen to the sweet sounds of the birds, feel the wind on your skin and smell the freshness in the air.
  6. Look in the mirror and thank your body for taking such good care of you.
  7. Tell someone you love just how grateful you are to have them in your life.

In fact, why don’t you do that last one RIGHT NOW!

Please share your experience and thoughts with me below. Thanks!

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