On this journey of mine, I’ve learned that negativity is one of the most powerful ways to cripple creativity, halt forward motion, and strangle my dreams of living the kind of life I yearn for. I’ve also learned that I can’t control other people’s negative comments and behaviors or their discouraging words. Generally, trying to change other people is at best exhausting, and at worst futile. Big dreamers like little ‘ol me have better ways to spend their energy. I’ve noticed too that even well-meaning loved ones can be the first up to bat when it comes to nay-saying. I’m learning to take their good intentions and leave the rest behind. At the end of the day, it’s my own negative thinking that has the most potent influence over my life, and I’ve learned that there is one guaranteed approach to a more positive mindset. It’s an utterly simple concept – gratitude. Today, I’d like to explore the important link between gratitude and passion.
What Is Gratitude?
When you hear that buzz about a ‘gratitude practice’, generally it means actively running through a daily list of things that you feel genuinely grateful for. I like to challenge myself to come up with unique moments that are specific to each day, (that nice lady who kindly recommended her favorite chai blend at the grocery store) rather than reflecting on bigger picture stuff (my good health) because this makes me shift my daily focus to trying to pluck out those sweet nuggets to be grateful for. Of course, the bigger picture stuff is always a good fall back and certainly worth of recognizing! I also try to steer clear from commercial things or ‘stuff’ I’ve acquired though on certain days I really do feel profoundly grateful for a fresh new hair-do or a delicious new book.
But Who Am I Thanking?
I’m not religious, but I often cast my intentions out into the Universe. I feel more spiritual than religious and I believe we’re all connected, that everything is connected. If you are religious, you probably already know who to thank. If you’re an atheist, just be thankful for the utterly random cards you are dealt on any given day. Thank yourself for choosing to reflect on the good things rather than the bad.
How Does Gratitude Raise Passion?
I like to think of the link between gratitude and passion like this: I need to be grateful in the present to have the strength and confidence to pursue the things I am passionate about. Every single day we come up against roadblocks; unexpected scheduling conflicts, the demands of our other work and our families, health concerns, inconsistent energy levels and emotional states. For me, gratitude is a touchstone I can always wield to help me gain the positive perspective I need to get back on track with following my soul.
Practicing gratitude will always illuminate how many of my passions are already an active part of my life, and reflecting on all the things I’m grateful for helps to shine a light on the passions that still need to be nurtured. A gratitude approach shifts the mindset towards focusing on anything and everything to be grateful for at the end of the day, which illuminates the positive rather than the negative. This creates an openness that allows creativity to flow, and opportunity to be more easily recognized, and trust me, that openness shows. People can see when you radiate positivity and gratitude, and your life really takes on more beauty, which in turn unlocks greater opportunities because that positivity helps you stay open to seeing what is presented to you.I need to be grateful to have the strength and confidence to pursue the things I am passionate about. Click To Tweet
How Can I Find More Gratitude?
Gratitude needs a daily practice, but it can be simple and fast, and it really needs to be personal. Find a method that resonates best for you. I like something tangible, that I can feel and see, so I keep my gratitude list in a journal. Here’s a few ideas for you to explore your own gratitude practice:
– Journaling, making a list of five things to be grateful for each day
– Journaling as a family, each member making their own list as you sit quietly around the table with colorful writing tools
– Morning meditation on shifting your focus to things to be grateful for, even in sticky moments (I always find that stress and frustration create the perfect opportunity for me to lose any grateful perspective I’ve gained. My hormones can wreak havoc too, and so I’ve started tracking my cycle so I’m aware when I need some extra awareness about what’s happening in my mind and heart)
– Create lists using various categories (home, health, relationships, family, work, creativity, play/leisure, misc) and add to these lists on a daily basis
– Use visual reminders – sayings, signs, pictures, collage, an art journal depicting what you feel grateful for (I have a friend who collects photos of random hearts that she spots all around her. She’s literally attuned to finding love in unexpected places all of the time!)
– Seek out resources including books and the Internet. Gratitude is catching on all over the place and there are some really beautiful ways that people are exploring this idea. I’ve created a list of some of my own favorite resources for you below.
Today I’m grateful for you. Having you here, sharing this space together makes the Universe feel wonderfully connected. Knowing that you’re reading these words, and hopefully taking some meaning from them makes me feel like I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be.
Thank You Internet:
An awesome little video from Braincraft on the Amazing Effects of Gratitude:
Here’s an entire search list from the TED website on the topic of Gratitude.
Books About Gratitude