Is gratitude an attitude or an emotion? Can gratitude be practiced? Practiced so often that it actually changes what is occurring inside our cells thus having a positive effect on our health and well being? Could it be that when in the place of gratitude one tends to give more? Hebrew Scriptures are filled with the idea of gratitude; Christians regard gratitude as a virtue, and fasting during the month of Ramadan in the Islamic faith is for the purpose of putting followers in the state of gratitude.
If I don’t have gratitude, how do I get it?
Start with the simple things in life, like air. When I sat watching my Dad in the hospital taking his last breaths with great difficultly, I became so incredibly grateful for air, for the ability to breathe clearly. Then for water, and the ability to swallow water that I simply poured from a tap, how many people can’t do this I wondered as I sat in a very uncomfortable chair in a chilly hospital room. Air and water. I felt so simply grateful.
Now I have gratitude, how do I get more?
The night was going to be a long one but I was driven to write and ran down to the car to grab my journal and wrote long and hard about being grateful for air, from our first breath at birth, to coming up for air when swimming or even after a long kiss and the list went on and on. And water, I thought about that too… I love and am grateful for water, just think about what it does for us daily and for the planet too. Pick something, anything, make a list. Feel it. Appreciate it, or someone, that is being grateful.
What about being grateful for the not so ‘good’ things?
Good and bad are just labels, so BE grateful for everything! I know, how can one be grateful when a loved one dies? Tears; I can be grateful I have tears to shed the grief and sleep to ease the pain and that I can tremble and survive without eating, yes, I CAN be grateful for that. There are people who look after certain things, I CAN be grateful for that. A strong cup of coffee served with kindness, a gift from a brother in remembrance, kind words fading in and out from strangers, yes grateful. I can concentrate on the feeling of being grateful to ease my pain. Life, I can be grateful for my life.
So what is gratitude really?
Be it an idea, virtue, state, emotion or attitude; gratitude is a gift you can add to your daily life just by focusing on the positive of any given situation at any time. You can give the gift of gratitude, you can receive the gift of gratitude; or you can choose to live and conduct your day in a blissfully grateful manner. Even when it may seem that all hope is gone, you can still ‘find’ gratitude. Find it in the air you breathe and the water you drink and keep the list going… although packaged in many sizes, shapes and colors; gratitude is definitely a wonderful gift that keeps on giving. Share some today!