Definition of gratitude
What is gratitude?
Sometimes it helps to define a term first by knowing what it IS NOT. Surprisingly, gratitude is not an emotion or a feeling. Gratitude is more than just thankfulness, or appreciation…but is an overwhelming awareness of the gifts and blessings that we receive. It is actually a state of being. When we are grateful, we both acknowledge the gifts in our lives and are humbled by own our smallness. Developing an attitude of gratitude necessarily, knocks us down to our “right size”. And places us in a state of heightened awareness of our self and others and G-O-D. But how can we do this?
Step 1. Settle down
The first step toward gratitude is settling down. When we sit still for a few minutes and let the body settle down, the thoughts settle down and the emotions settle down…we can access deeper places of energy that usually remain dormant. We have to calm down and sit in one place long enough for gratitude to emerge from within. You just need to give yourself the time and space to focus on the blessings in your life. So, set aside 5 minutes to devote to gratitude today.
Step 2. Focused concentration
To enter a state of gratitude, you’ll need a few minutes of focused concentration. The point is that the mind needs to step out of the way for some moments to access the state of gratitude. The mind will react. Thoughts start coming like crazy. But you can be kind with your mind….and tell your mind that you will come back to its very important thoughts later.
Step 3. Cultivate gratitude
One by one take people, things, situations or events that have occurred recently for which you are thankful. Close your eyes and use your breath to both receive and give back the goodness that the person, thing, situation or event brought you. As you hold one person, thing, situation, or event in your minds’ eye breathe in and out gently. Breathe in and receive the gifts that this person, thing, situation or event has brought you. Breathe out, and give back the goodness that you have received to the space in front of you. Continue this cycle for as long as feels right.
Our expressions of gratitude are as unique as we are as people. Everyone will have a different way to express gratitude once we develop it. So, how do your expressions of gratitude manifest? Here’s a short list of what can happen for me. Please add how you express gratitude in the comment section below.
- give a kiss
- give a hug
- make a meal
- make an art project
What about you? What are your types of expressions of gratitude?