A very wise man once told me that if there were a single thought-pattern or mindset to focus my constant attention, it would be to strive for a heart of gratitude. My personal tendency (and I would imagine most others would feel similarly) is to consistently battle negative, worrisome thoughts and struggle to focus on the many blessings in my life. For me, maintaining and expressing gratitude for all that I have in my life produces meaningful relationships, passion for my work, strong health, and an abundance mindset. Here are a few ideas that I try to focus on daily:
- Start each day with a heart of gratitude. As soon as I wake up in the morning, I try and spend a few minutes in silent prayer giving thanks and preparing my heart for the day ahead.
- Try to add value in every interaction throughout the day. This can be accomplished via a kind word, a prayer, providing information, making a recommendation, asking a good question, or helping out with something specific.
- Genuinely build others up. Search deep inside my heart for the right words to tell someone exactly how special he/she is and how much you care.
- Detaching the effort from the outcome. Continuing to do what I know in my heart and mind is true and right, no matter what the outcome might be.
- Take time to appreciate life by slowing down. Stopping everything that I'm doing, breathing deeply, and focusing on one thing or person for whom I am grateful.
I believe that we should view gratitude as a discipline (intentional act/conscious choice) versus an "emotional feeling." If we are hamstrung by spontaneous moments of emotional gratitude, our feelings of thanksgiving will gradually erode. To conclude, make it a daily exercise to think about your blessings and cultivate a heart of gratitude.