For the past year, I kept a gratitude journal and whenever life takes a hit on a bump in the roads I've paved, I look back and re-read some of the entries I have made inside and it feels like someone else secretly wrote my experience down in my place.
That's because it is so easy to forget small moments of gratitude more than anything else.
Funny thing is, why are we able to bear grudges and hold certain amounts of resentment for someone or circumstances over really long periods of time and allow it recur in our minds over and over so easily?
Your brain overrides every single good thing in your life in that instant, like a malfunctioning CPU system that took a hit on a virus and starts a raging war within. It becomes a battle you feel the need to fight and resist every day.
And if you actually keep a diary and have your worst nightmares documented in gruesome details, it'll probably continue to stay in your life and stick around in your experience with you starring as the main lead in the horror movie of your life.
(Well, at least up to the point & moment you burn those journals.)
Gratitude, on the other hand is such a gradual and subtle process in the beginning that it is so easy to overlook and miss, it's almost as if you turn away for a split second and that opportunity slips right through your fingers.
The thing about gratitude is, you need to first of all learn appreciation.
Without the "ability" to appreciate, you wouldn't even begin to know where to start to find the feeling of gratefulness. You start with the things you already have and then begin to appreciate the unfolding of the things you don't have but know is coming and on its way.
Being able to direct your thoughts is the wonderful start of having control of your life, to have the freedom to think your thoughts with deliberate intent and choose what you would like to be feeling in that moment and not have to constantly look to someone else's behavior and action to feel good.
Taking the time to practice feeling appreciation is merely a tool to help sculpt yourself a better stronger mind. There may not be huge explosive great things happening every single day to be jumping and punching the air for joy, but there are always things around you to appreciate in this instant right here and now.
That is the beauty of this practice.
Sometimes it takes something big to happen before it grabs your focus and attention making you learn to appreciate things the hard way, but it really doesn't have to be this way.
You can start anytime and any day.
A healthy person wouldn't start appreciating their ability to breathe with ease until they lose it one day or they wouldn't appreciate the ability to feel hungry to taste & savor food until their appetite was taken away from a dis-ease or illness.
We take for granted the smallest things around us every day.
If we take the time and a little effort to find 1 more thing to add to our list and let it grow, soon enough, it becomes second nature to you.
Soon enough, you will truly take possession and ownership of a new found appreciation for yourself, for the people around you, for all the things that were invented to make you go through your daily activities with ease and comfort.
You will appreciate your ability to listen to soothing music and wonderful conversations, your ability to feel the warm running water soaking through your skin and hug your favorite Egyptian cotton pillow, the ability to see every sunrise in the morning & catch the sun setting in the evenings when you are out on your walks, the ability to smell food coming out from the kitchen and your fridge to be surprised and delighted, the ability to taste what's sitting on your plate to nourish your body and mind that day.
Here are some simple (but not easy at first) methods/ways to start practicing for your well-being:
1) Keep a Gratitude Journal
Start with just 3 things a day and gradually increase it to 5, then 10 and so on so forth.
But 3 is a good start.
2) Express your gratitude
Take the time to really recount on the specific positive feeling of the things you felt grateful for etc, were you excited? Hopeful? Delighted? Inspired?
Learn to increase your A-Z vocabulary of positive feelings and words and you'll soon find that your conversations, sentences you construct and attitude makes a shift etc, A for Appreciation.. B for Beautiful.. C for Carefree.. D for Delight...
3) Self-direct your thoughts & be the architect of your own mind
When something "bad" happens, always be quick to nit-pick for positive aspects. Say, someone was unkind to you that day, you would soothe yourself to find reasons to love them anyway. etc, maybe the person had a bad day, be thankful you are having a much better one and slowly you redirect your focus back to yourself and not let other people's issues or problems be the reason for your bad day.
4) Practice it everyday
Find every possible chance to practice the feeling of it. Whether it's the water you drink that quenched your thirst, the food you bless before your meals, the efficient people you work around with, the kind people you meet on the streets, use it as a tool and shine a spotlight on it.
Put a magnifying glass over every small detail and soon enough, you acclimate to the high feeling energy place and the state of mind of pure appreciation.
When your body & mind dominates the constant feeling of gratitude, nothing else that contradicts it will ever come near your experience.
Basically, we are like walking giant magnets of energy.
What we put out there for the world to receive, we get hit back (hard) with the same one. What goes around comes around, remember? What it is really referring to is not karma. Even though it might feel like it is there and then, if it was a negative bounce.
It has always been about your personal energy you carry with you 24/7. That "vibe" people give off? That's energy. You can't see it, but you can absolutely feel it.
So would you be more careful with what you hold in your thoughts if you knew this law? As sure as the law of gravity, this attraction exists and it is happening all the time even if you can't see it with your naked eye. So make small effort to shift that energy if you want only to engage with the best. And let the respective islands group itself accordingly to energy.
Be a force to be reckoned with & spread only the things you would want to have on your plate and in your life.