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Gratitude turns what we have into enough.”

–anonymous

 

Even when life is full of challenging circumstances, practicing gratitude can create an awareness of what is always available to us: the opportunity to offer ourselves with compassion (toward others and toward ourselves) and to find even the smallest gem to appreciate.

Practicing gratitude is often called “Grateful Living”. What this means is reinforcing core values such as kindness and generosity. It truly is a practice since there are so many things to distract us, cause us to feel stressed, and take our attention toward difficulties we may be experiencing. 

Cultivating an awareness can help to bring our attention to the present moment, and perhaps identify one small thing that is not challenging and does not cause us unhappiness. Maybe it is a beautiful day, or an appreciation for a relationship, or that our dog just gave us that undeniable gaze of unconditional love.

It is challenging to stop ourselves from focusing on what is hard and what we have on our plate, whether it is illness, financial woes, job frustration and the like. These things do, in fact, grab a lot of attention and are real. But what if, at least once a day, you were to just stop for a moment, close your eyes, take a deep breath, and find something that is worth appreciating? It might take thirty seconds out of your day and for that moment, your focus goes inward, instead of on external circumstances.

Implementing this 30-second practice can do nothing but bring you a moment of respite from the hard stuff. And you might even find that you choose to practice this more than once a day. Watch what happens when you try this – and give yourself the always available gift of gratitude.