Why and How to Practice Gratitude

Recently, a friend of mine bought a new TV. Again! Not because his old one didn´t work anymore, but because this one is bigger. I thought his old one was already huge, but apparently not big enough.

His new TV is so big that when I sit in front of it, I can watch the left side of the TV or the right, but I can hardly see everything all at once. His eyesight isn’t getting worse so that couldn’t have been a reason to buy this new TV. I bet if I ask him for a reason, he doesn’t really have one. Because did he really need it? Of course not.

But he is a child of our society. We get raised thinking we need more, bigger and better. Although, sometimes I have the feeling that we hardly understand what better means. We want something, we buy it, but the moment we have it, we already want something else. This makes us restless.

It looks like we forgot how it is to enjoy something. To be happy with what we have and what it’s like to be grateful. And gratitude is so important. Because think about it, if you’re not consciously grateful for the things you have in life, how are you ever going to be able to feel satisfied and truly happy?

practice gratitude

When you can’t feel gratitude for the things you have in life, enough will never be enough. You will always be on an everlasting quest for more and you will never find peace. Your need for more, bigger and better will control your life. You might think the next thing you buy or do will make you happy. It won’t! Life itself can never make you happy, it is your attitude towards it that can create happiness. Nothing is ever going to make you happy unless you allow it to make you happy.

To be honest, I had forgotten how it is to feel intense gratitude as well. I never realized how much happiness I was denying myself. I knew that practicing gratitude is important but I never did it. Until I read a book by the brilliant James Altucher. He showed a way to practice gratitude in an actually very simple and obvious way. By writing down 10 things and 10 people you are grateful for every day.

His practice convinced me. Whatever you focus on will exist and practice will make it grow — I knew that. So, I started to write down the things and the people I am grateful for and I have been doing that (almost) every morning ever since. And you know what, it works!

I am perfectly happy with all the things I have in life. For some it may not seem much much, but for me, it is a life of plenty. I feel extremely rich, fortunate, grateful and happy. I am happy about the fact that I can see the sun shine, and I am happy about the fact that I can see the rain fall. I am grateful for all the sweet people around me who I love. I am grateful that I can be creative and be able to express myself. I am happy with everything that grows around me. I don’t need much, but I appreciate everything.

Although I think James Altucher’s technique is a very good one, I have also made a meditation version which I practice once in a while as well. For me it works even better. The start is the same. Write down 5 things en 5 people you are grateful for. Now close your eyes and start this meditation.

Meditation

Breathe deeply in and out. When your mind is calm, visualize something or someone from your list. Visualize the person or the subject in front of you. Feel grateful that it/he/she is a part of your life. Feel it in your whole body and try to hold this feeling for a while. Say thank you out loud. Do this with all the things and every person on your list.

Try it and you will see that it will improve your life.

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