Cultivating a Gratitude Practice

gratitude journal

If you are someone who spends time navigating through the wellness community, which if you’re reading this, chances are that you do, then you have probably heard a lot of talk about the importance of cultivating yourself a gratitude practice. So what’s it all about and how do you do it? Well, gratitude is like the gift that keeps on giving which is why it’s important to start each day with it.

When you wake up in the morning you essentially have a blank canvas to start your day. If you begin by thinking how well you feel from last night’s slumber and how you appreciate your cozy bed, you are going to automatically be in a good mood, meaning you will be operating on a high vibrational frequency (this is going to get a little woo-woo but bear with me here). Practicing gratitude is similar to meditating as you are actively working on improving the state of your mental health, which is critical to your overall well being.

As you know there are lots of emotions we are capable of feeling and they are essentially on a scale, meaning they range from really bad feelings, (think depression, anger, and fear) to really good feelings (think excitement, joy, and excitement) with many feelings in between. If you follow the work of Abraham Hicks you’re going to be familiar with this but I’ll unpack the basics for you here in case you’re new to this work. So let’s say you want to have a good day, you like feeling happy and you want to maintain that feeling as much as possible. In order to do that you have to feel that.

This is where most people tend to get lost because they think first something good needs to happen and then they can feel the positive emotions and be in a good mood when really they are responsible for creating that good mood through their thoughts, beliefs, and emotions. So let’s go back to the waking up example. Once you have thought it’s so nice I got a good night’s sleep in my cozy bed then you can continue these good feeling thoughts as you get up. You might then look outside and think “what a beautiful day it is, I really appreciate the nature in my neighborhood”. Then you might walk into your living room and think “I’m so fortunate to have such a beautiful home,” and then you might pay appreciation for having clean water to drink to rehydrate your body, etc…

You’re probably seeing how this works now, it’s kind of like a domino effect. One good feeling thought leads to another and so on. By maintaining these good thoughts, you are essentially crafting together your gratitude practice and in turn, attracting in more positive experiences to your existence. This is what’s called operating on a high vibrational frequency and the theory is that when you’re on a certain vibrational frequency, you can not attract in experiences that are not a match for that frequency. Meaning when you are appreciating all of the amazing things in your life, you are not likely to be suffering from ailments such as depression or anxiety. Additionally, you’re less likely to lose your job, have a car accident or get into an argument.

That’s a lot to unpack if you’re new to this work so just think about it for a moment. Do you know someone who things just always work out for? What about someone who always seems to be upset and in a negative spiral? Chances are you do and hopefully, this is making some sense now. The person who things are always working out for is that way because they expect things to always work out for them and more importantly they feel that things are always working out for them and so they do. Meanwhile, the person who is always in a negative spiral is always complaining and therefore operating on a lower vibrational frequency, the lower end on the emotional spectrum and therefore they are drawing in experiences that match that feeling and vibration.

Now it’s important to note that because emotions are on a scale, you can’t get from one end to the other immediately. Rather you have to take it one step at a time so if you are feeling depressed you are not going to be feeling elated five minutes later. We have to reach for a thought and emotion that feels somewhat better than where we currently are and keep reaching for better feeling thoughts until we can pull ourselves out of it. For example, if you are feeling really sad you can think, “I’m not feeling so good right now but I am hopeful that it will pass.” Then you might think, “I am feeling slightly better now and I know that I am capable of feeling better than this.”

Then you just keep checking in with yourself and reminding yourself of what positive things you have in your life until you are back to feeling grateful for them. This is why it’s so important to start in the morning because each day we are granted a fresh start and a clean slate. We can choose the way we feel by picking the best feeling thoughts and thinking about all of the good things we have in our lives.  I think this is so empowering because it means that we get to set the stage for a positive experience throughout each day.

Once you get the hang of this practice you can always bring yourself back into alignment. Then when something happens that pulls you out of your happy place so to speak because it will, you can go back to those thoughts and maintain your vibration. For example, if you walk out to your car and you find a parking ticket on your windshield you might notice yourself getting upset and leaving your positive mindset. Rather than letting that take control, you can take a breath and remind yourself how fortunate you are to even have a car. Then you can tell yourself that the money you will spend to pay the ticket will go to pay someone’s wage and put food on their table. Before you know it you start feeling grateful for getting the ticket! This is why it’s important to cultivate a gratitude practice so that you can use it as a tool to feel happy and attract more happy feelings and experiences into your life and not be derailed by small mishaps that are part of the human experience. We came into these bodies to enjoy life and create the experiences we desire, and the only way to do that is to be happy.