Accessing the Power of Gratitude

“When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around.”
~Willie Nelson

The practice of gratitude as a tool for happiness has been in the mainstream for years. Long-term studies support gratitude’s effectiveness, suggesting that a positive, appreciative attitude contributes to greater success in work, greater health, peak performance in sports and business, a higher sense of well-being, and a faster rate of recovery from surgery.

But while we may acknowledge gratitude’s many benefits, it still can be difficult to sustain. So many of us are trained to notice what is broken, undone or lacking in our lives. And for gratitude to meet its full healing potential in our lives, it needs to become more than just a Thanksgiving word. We have to learn a new way of looking at things, a new habit. And that can take some time.

grateful handsThat’s why practicing gratitude makes so much sense. When we practice giving thanks for all we have, instead of complaining about what we lack, we give ourselves the chance to see all of life as an opportunity and a blessing.

Remember that gratitude isn’t a blindly optimistic approach in which the bad things in life are whitewashed or ignored. It’s more a matter of where we put our focus and attention. Pain and injustice exist in this world, but when we focus on the gifts of life, we gain a feeling of well-being. Gratitude balances us and gives us hope.

There are many things to be grateful for: colorful autumn leaves, legs that work, friends who listen and really hear, chocolate, fresh eggs, warm jackets, tomatoes, the ability to read, roses, our health, butterflies. What’s on your list?

Some Ways to Practice Gratitude

  • Keep a gratitude journal in which you list things for which you are thankful. You can make daily, weekly or monthly lists. Greater frequency may be better for creating a new habit, but just keeping that journal where you can see it will remind you to think in a grateful way.
  • Make a gratitude collage by drawing or pasting pictures.
  • Practice gratitude around the dinner table or make it part of your nighttime routine.
  • Make a game of finding the hidden blessing in a challenging situation.
  • When you feel like complaining, make a gratitude list instead. You may be amazed by how much better you feel.
  • Notice how gratitude is impacting your life. Write about it, sing about it, express thanks for gratitude.

As you practice, an inner shift begins to occur, and you may be delighted to discover how content and hopeful you are feeling. That sense of fulfillment is gratitude at work.

For more from Mary Lee LaBay visit: www.maryleelabay.com


Meditate with the Buddha

meditating buddhaPresented by Mary Lee LaBay

Enjoy a deep meditation where you go to your safe space to explore and find an empowerment gift. Then proceed to an even deeper sacred area where you will be cleansed in front of a Buddha statue. Continuing even deeper, encounter a living Buddha with whom you will enjoy a deep meditation, receiving insights and wisdom, and answers to your questions.

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About Mary Lee LaBay

Mary Lee LaBay, Ph.D., is the author of 5 books, including Hypnotherapy: A Client-Centered Approach and Exploring Past Lives: Your Soul’s Quest for Consciousness. She teaches the professional hypnotherapy program at Bastyr University and at Bellevue College, and also instructs professional trainings in past life regression and techniques of spiritual exploration. Mary Lee leads retreats and tours to places like Europe, South America, and SE Asia. Beginning in the late 1960's with studies in Tarot and Astrology, Mary Lee continued her pursuit of the spiritual with intense training from the Celtic/Druidic perspective, moving into hypnotherapy as a means to bring this work to the greater population. She followed up with a doctorate in behavioral psychology, and certifications in NLP, Reiki, Gestalt, EFT, and Applied Kinesiology. She was named among the Top 100 Thought Leaders of 2007 by Personal Excellence magazine, and maintains a private practice in Bellevue, WA.

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