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Expanding gratitude

 Posted: 2:00 AM May 11, 2013

Gratitude is in the air these days as a spiritual practice to uplift your life. Many authors, such as Neale Donald Walsch, Deepak Chopra, Louise L. Hay and Diane Harmony, extol the power of gratitude. A main way to practice gratitude is to write 5 to 10 things per day you are grateful for in your journal. This article takes the idea of being grateful further, suggesting other ways to implement this transformative practice into your life. Pick and choose what works for you.

Blessing Others — It can be beneficial to send thoughts of love and gratitude to other people in your life. This practice takes the focus away from yourself if you tend to be self-centered. Think of 5 people per day to whom you wish to send positive energy. Because we are all interconnected, they will actually feel your appreciation and caring on some level.

Spiritual Time outs, 5 times per day — Stop work or whatever task you are involved in during your day and give yourself a moment of gratitude and appreciation. This will shift your day and is particularly good if something stressful has come up beforehand. Try it five times a day for several weeks, and reap the beneficial results.

Morning Spiritual Time — Take at least 5 minutes each morning reading a positive spiritual or self-help book. If you feel comfortable, spend a few minutes meditating by closing your eyes and just being still. You could also write thoughts of thanksgiving in your journal. Pray, if it feels right to you. You will be amazed at how morning centering will start your day so much better. Add more time each day as you feel guided to.

Evening Spiritual Time — Devote at least 5 minutes each night before you go to bed, contemplating your day, and thinking of things you are grateful for that happened. There is always something to remember that was a blessing to you. You will find you sleep better and more restfully too.

Bless Everything That Happens — It can be a challenge to embrace everything that happens, especially the seemingly "bad" in your life. But it can be a wonderful spiritual practice to realize that every single thing that happens is an opportunity for you to grow as a spiritual being having a human experience. It's not easy, but try finding the positive in all circumstances in your life. For instance, if you get a flu bug and are sick in bed, perhaps you needed some down time from the grind of day-to-day living. It is liberating to find the blessing in an unhappy event in your life.

Nurture Yourself — Do things that show you really love yourself. Be in joy and have fun more often. Just a few ideas:

  • Take a bubble bath in candlelight
  • Make a sacred altar with treasured keepsakes in a special place in your home
  • Spend 20 minutes in nature
  • Play with a child or pet
  • Try slowing down and doing absolutely nothing
  • Listen to music that soothes your soul
  • Go to the beach and walk barefoot in the sand
  • Think of your own ways to pamper yourself

Make Positive Affirmations of Gratitude — Find a thought of gratitude for something that may not be as natural to you as it could be. For instance, "I am grateful for the abundance in my life" if you feel poor. Then, expand on it, using the present tense and words that resonate with you. Perhaps "I am in deep appreciation for the absolute abundance that pours forth in my life in every way." Then, put your affirmation all over, such as on the bathroom mirror, the dashboard of your car or as a screensaver on your computer. As you keep affirming and believing, it will come to fruition in your life.

These seven steps will definitely enhance your life in delightful ways. Give them a try.

Deborah Perdue is a licensed practitioner at Center for Spiritual Living Rogue Valley, and author of "Grace of Gratitude Journal,"

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