This simple strategy which may take only a few seconds to complete has long been one to the most important habits I have ever engaged in. I try to remember to start my day thinking of someone to thank. To me, gratitude and inner peace go hand in hand. The more genuinely grateful I feel for the gift of my life, the more peaceful I feel. Gratitude, then, is worthy of little practice.
If you’re anything like me, you probably have many people in your life to feel grateful for: friends, family members, people from your past, teachers, mentors, classmates, people from work, your colleagues, clients, and acquaintances, someone who gave you a break, as well as countless others. You may want to thank a higher power for the gift of life itself, or for the beauty of nature.
As you think of people to be grateful for, remember that it can be anyone or someone who allowed you to merge into traffic, someone who held the door open for you, or a physician who saved your life. The point is to gear your attention toward gratitude, preferably first thing in the morning.
I learned a long time ago that it’s easy to allow my mind to slip into various forms of negativity. When I do, the first thing that leaves me is my sense of gratitude. I begin to take the people in my life for granted, and the love that I often feel is replaced with resentment and frustration. What this exercise reminds me to do is to focus on the good in my life. Invariably as I think of one person to feel grateful for, the image of another person pops into my head, then another and another. Pretty soon I’m thinking of other things to be thankful for; my health, my family, my home, my career, my freedom, my friends, my dreams and the list goes on and on.
It may seem like an awfully simple suggestion, but it really works! If you wake up in the morning with gratitude on your mind, it’s pretty difficult, in fact almost impossible, to feel anything but peace and joy in your heart.