The power of gratitude is proven to have a direct effect on our happiness, helping us to feel more fulfilled and turn obstacles into opportunities. But gratitude isn’t just positive thinking. It doesn’t mean covering up your emotions with platitudes and social media posts. It means learning how to live in gratitude each day, not just when things are going our way. It means experiencing life to the fullest – all of the highs and lows – and understanding that no matter what happens, grace falls upon us all.
What is gratitude?
The dictionary definition of gratitude is “the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.” But true gratitude goes far beyond just being thankful. Tony Robbins says, “When we have an attitude of gratitude we see life as it is; an unbelievable gift.” Benedictine monk David Steindl-Rast echoes this sentiment, defining how to live in gratitude each day as “receiving every moment as a gift.”
Put another way, thankfulness is “performed” as an action, like saying “thank you” or sending a card, while the power of gratitude is “felt” deep within your soul. Thanksgiving gratitude is a good example: We may perform thankfulness during the holidays, but the gift of gratitude is felt year-round and permeates every area of your life. It’s the ability to find the blessing in even the worst situations, realizing that even steep challenges help us grow and make us who we are.
Discovering the power of gratitude
The power of gratitude lies in its ability to completely change the way we see the world. We are conditioned to approach life from a place of scarcity – to compete with others and with ourselves. We believe there aren’t enough resources to go around. But when we get beyond scarcity and believe that the world is filled with abundance, we begin to think of life as a place to give, not to get.
As Tony says, “When you are grateful, fear disappears and abundance appears.” Once we appreciate everything we have, the law of attraction will bring even more abundance to us. The benefits of gratitude affect every area of our lives, from our relationships to our careers and our businesses. It makes us happier and more fulfilled. It makes us better partners. Gratitude in the workplace can even make you a better boss and coworker.
How to live in gratitude each day
Gratitude is a mindset and a state of being, but it’s also a set of actions. There are strategies you can use each day to ensure that you continue to live in gratitude.
1. Choose gratitude
Emotions are a gift that make us human and can drive us to achieve great things. The power of gratitude is that it is an emotion – and you can control your emotions by choosing what to focus on. You can choose to approach life from a place of scarcity and fear, or you can adopt an attitude of abundance and decide to focus on the positive. The choice is yours, and it’s the first decision you must make before you can learn how to live in gratitude.
2. Practice priming
Tony tells us that “It’s not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives, but what we do consistently.” Starting your morning strong is essential, and priming is a way to set your focus. Priming is an extension of the idea that starting your day with negative emotions will lead to negative experiences, while positive emotions will lead to positive experiences. Tony’s priming exercise uses elements of visualization, meditation and incantations to help you begin each day with the power of gratitude on your side.
3. Cultivate mindfulness
One benefit of priming is that it cultivates mindfulness. Mindfulness is the ability to live in the present, connecting with your thoughts and emotions without judging them, changing them or letting them overtake you. It means cultivating the ability to focus your attention on the sights, smells and sounds around you, listen deeply, connect with others and awaken to the gifts of life. You can cultivate mindfulness through meditation, yoga and other practices that pause racing thoughts and let in the power of gratitude.
4. Let go of the past
Sometimes what we didn’t have in the past can prevent us from accepting it in the present. If we never had a healthy relationship, we may push away a loving partner. If we were raised to be perfectionists, it’s difficult to appreciate things that aren’t “just right.” That’s why you must let go of the past in order to learn how to live in gratitude each day. Choosing to give a positive meaning to your past experiences will help you overcome limiting beliefs and know that you are worthy of abundance.
5. Take action
You now have powerful strategies for how to live in gratitude. But as Tony says, “Knowing is not enough. You must take action.” Don’t put off gratitude for another day. Tell someone how much you appreciate them and why. Start a gratitude journal. And don’t brush off the compliments of others. Accepting others’ appreciation of you is just as important to embrace the power of gratitude as giving appreciation.