When we are in that place of disharmony with the world, angry with our neighbor, discouraged by our lack of financial success, worried about our health, we get into a downward spiral where one dysfunctional mood attracts another and then another.
Then we get in a real funk with the world. We begin to believe that the solution lies in a comforting dependency like alcohol or drugs. Instinctively we know this isn’t a real solution but by then we have traveled deep into the shadows where light seems unable to shine.
In the past you know that if you persevere the mood will eventually lift, the sun will come out again and all will be well with the world.
There is however a better solution: The Gratitude solution.
Now before you start thinking that this is some new age mumbo jumbo I want you first to consider the words of this man, James Allen.
The Body is the servant of the mind. It obeys the operation of the mind whether they be deliberately chosen or automatically expressed. At the bidding of unlawful thoughts the body sinks rapidly into disease and decay; at the command of glad and beautiful thoughts it becomes clothed in youthfulness and beauty.
Source James Allen
Those words were written around the turn of the twentieth century.
In 1910 Wallace Wattles wrote The Science of Getting Rich in which he devotes a whole chapter to the importance of gratitude.
So don’t dismiss outright some pretty powerful tools to increasing the things you want in your life and lessening the impact those negative emotions and feels that have been holding you back.
The Two Keys to Reversing a Downward Spiral
The first key is awareness.
Life is going to throw curve balls no matter what you do. The secret is to be aware of those times and learn to reverse their effects before they begin to spiral out of your control.
You increase your awareness through daily practice: setting aside time, even what you might consider an insignificant amount of time can begin to reverse the impact of those negative thoughts and emotions. Consistency not the amount of time is the most important part of beginning a practice.
Therefore, the second key is some form of expressing gratitude. Below I am going to outline a number of gratitude exercises you can do to increase your awareness of the beauty and bounty around you.
When you find things to be thankful for you will attract to you more things to be thankful for.
This isn’t magic it is the way the universe works.
I am going to insist, however, that if you decide to use one or several of the tools below, you continue the practice of a minimum ninety days.
Remember you are breaking old dysfunctional habits and replacing them with new healthy habits that will prove their benefit over and over again. Breaking a pattern or a paradigm can be uncomfortable.
Breaking a habit or paradigm
You broke the paradigm of crawling by struggling over and over and over to stand up and take those first tentative steps into a new world of being.
You also had role models; you’re parents, your older brothers or sisters.
Look around in your life and find a role model who exemplifies the qualities you would like to have in yourself and then learn from their actions.
You didn’t question your ability to learn or to do when your learned to walk. You just practiced until you got it.
Here are a few gratitude exercises you can do to bring into your life those things you want more of which for most of us is happiness and love.
Exercise One: The Morning Coffee Solution.
I found this while surfing around and loved it. You don’t have to worry about finding time, or formalizing anything, just over your first cup of coffee in the morning just list to yourself the things you are enjoying. Like the cup of coffee you are sipping on, the heat from the mug, the lovely morning, the great view from your deck, or the cozy warmth of the coffee house.
Now go on with your day.
There that was that easy.
Exercise Two. Listing the things you are grateful for in your life.
This takes a little more effort to list and maintain your list and read from it. But again practice will create the habit and the habit will transform your life.
Take a sheet of paper, or open your journal, or download these pages at: http://beautifulsummermorning.com/docs/BSMGP.pdf , and start to list.
I suggest that you do this, every evening just before bedtime.
Add four or five new things you are grateful for each evening don’t forget to look for things that are not obvious as well, like the bridge that stays in place till you get to the other side or the cool breeze that makes the air smell so fresh.
Then read out ten of the items at random that are all ready on your list. Not only does this focus you on an attitude of gratitude but you will go to sleep with that attitude as well. Pleasant dreams.
Exercise Three: Write a gratitude letter.
There are two ways to use this tool. One: write a letter to yourself explaining why you are feeling grateful. This is a good mood changer. If you are worried, or anxious or just plain stressed out taking a few minutes to do this exercise will begin to change your focus. Put the letter in an envelope and address it to yourself and mail it to yourself. Then when the letter arrives take it out and read it. I promise you this will amaze and delight you.
The second way to use this tool is to write a letter of gratitude to someone else. This works especially well with your partner but also works well with a co-worker, friend or family member, with anyone. Let the person know why you appreciate them, or thank them for some little act of kindness. You don’t have to wait for someone to save your life to be grateful.
Exercise Four: I call this shared gratitude.
Find someone; a best friend is good for this, who also wants to increase their gratefulness. Sit in chairs facing each other, kitchen or dining room chairs work well, within touching distance. One of you starts and expresses something you are grateful for, and then the other partner does the same, back and forth, back and forth. You will find that you feed off each other’s ideas.
Exercise Five: This is Jack Canfield’s idea I think.
Start a rampage of gratitude. This is over the top gratitude, which you would do everyday, but once in awhile when you really want to power up your life. With a rampage of gratitude you start listing everything you see and feel all around you as things you are grateful for. Do this out loud and for a long stretch of time, from thirty minutes to several hours.
Now this sounds a bit much, but just think through the process for a moment and realize what a powerful impact going on a rave of gratitude.
Exercise Six: The simple declarative statement.
I will leave you with these two lines for you to use throughout your day. Say them often at every opportunity and just watch the change these simple words will bring into your life.
“Thank you for everything. I have no complaints today whatsoever.”
“Thank you for inspiring me today.”
Now when you feel the world of disharmony, and dysfunction begin to creep into your life, you have some new tools and weapons to bring the world of joy back into focus.
© Nick Grimshawe