5 tips to strengthen your gratitude muscles

It has never been more important than right now, when so many things seem not to work in the world and in our lives Reiki certification.

As with any muscle, we need to work every day to strengthen our gratitude muscles. I know someone who runs about 25 kilometers every day. He told me that people assume that every morning he wakes up excited to go running, but in reality he hates running. Every morning he struggles to overcome his resistance and not stay in bed. When he is tired, he runs the same. When people ask him what he’s training for when so many races are canceled, he repeats, “I train for life. Because life is often about forcing ourselves to keep going when all we want to do is give up.”

This has never been more important than now, when it seems so much easier to complain about everything that is going wrong in our lives and in the world. Training ourselves to be grateful every day requires stopping and focusing on the good things in our lives. Here are five tips to strengthen our gratitude muscles.

  1. Express authentic gratitude
    It’s easy to be grateful when everything works the way we want it to. It’s much harder to be grateful when nothing seems to be going right. So, don’t pretend to be grateful for your children when you face educational challenges. Don’t try to force yourself to be grateful for abundance when you just lost your job.

Focus on one or two things you are genuinely grateful for right now. It can be something small, like a detail in your room that you usually don’t pay attention to. Or a beautiful sunrise. It could be the aroma of your coffee in the morning. It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as it’s authentic.

  1. Consider gratitude a responsibility
    Sometimes, when I don’t wake up feeling grateful, I take a deep breath and remind myself that I am responsible for my perspective on the world. I am responsible for thanking those around me. It truly is a miracle that our lives work every day the way they do. The lights turn on. The packages are delivered. There is hot water in my shower. There is food in the supermarket. I can’t even begin to thank all the people who made all of that possible, but I can be responsible for thanking at least the person next to me.
  2. Transform gratitude into action
    Small acts count. Everything we do is important. If we are in a difficult situation, there is always something we can do to make things worse. And there is always something, even if it is very small and seems insignificant, that we can do to improve the situation.

To be more grateful, is there something blocking our gratitude that we can stop doing? Maybe it’s stopping complaining about things we can’t control or abandoning a habit that limits our ability to value life.

What small act can we do to feel more grateful? Maybe go out and look at the stars. Maybe write a thank you text. Maybe say a blessing for our food. Or hug someone from our family. Every act counts.

  1. Practice gratitude for those we miss
    This year, many of us cannot meet with our relatives. Not only do I miss my family, but now that we can only see each other on FaceTime I understand how much we took it for granted that we could get together. I took for granted the warmth and laughter of connection that we only feel when being with our family.

This year is an opportunity to feel especially grateful for our families as we feel their absence from our tables.

  1. See the big picture
    Our lives are so much simpler compared to those who lived before us, that we often lose sight of how fortunate we are to live at this time in history. Although many of us feel alone and stressed during this pandemic, we live relatively safe and comfortable within our homes. During 2020 we said that many events are “unprecedented”, but most previous generations struggled with this and even worse. They faced flus and plagues before we were blessed with modern medicine and health hospitals. They faced war, hunger and the constant battle to survive another day.

We can ask for purchases to be brought to our door and regulate the temperature inside the house. We may be stressed about our jobs, but most of us don’t have to worry about how we’ll manage to eat tomorrow. There is a lot of pessimism about the current state of the world and very little gratitude for how wonderful our lives truly are. Technology has given us more free time than any other generation in history. We can communicate with others in ways we did not even imagine just a few decades ago.

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