Gratitude is an essential part of your spiritual journey and personal growth. Its benefits are even researched and documented by scientific studies. Please read on to learn some simple techniques to practise it either on its own or within the Fantastic 3.
Table of contents
- What is gratitude
- Gratitude and the Fantastic 3
- How to practice and have an attitude of gratitude
- 4 Simple Ways to Practice Daily Gratitude
- Benefits of Gratitude – According to Science.
- Gratitude from the Heart and Intuition vs gratitude from the Ego
What is gratitude?
To have an attitude of gratitude means to have the ability to acknowledge the value of the things in our life. In particular, what is already working, what we already have. If practiced regularly, it transforms the quality of our existence, facilitating a shift towards a quietly centered, quietly empowered life.
You are grateful and give thanks for things, people, pets, events – big or small. Literally anything.
Robert Emmons, perhaps the world’s leading scientific expert on gratitude, also argues that gratitude has two key components: “First, it’s an affirmation of goodness. We affirm that there are good things in the world, gifts and benefits we’ve received.”Gratefulness.org
In the second part of gratitude, he explains, “we recognize that the sources of this goodness are outside of ourselves… We acknowledge that other people… gave us many gifts, big and small, to help us achieve the goodness in our lives.
Depending on your personality, you may be more or less prone to gratitude. If you are amongst the latter, don’t panic! Practice and consistency are all that matters when approaching something new.
In fact, it starts out as a practice you cultivate until you realize you actually have adopted an attitude of gratitude.
Gratitude and the Fantastic 3
Gratitude is the second of the 3-step process I call F3, aka The Fantastic 3. It comes after meditation and right before manifestation. If you’re beginning your spiritual journey, it’ll be an easy and powerful way to create positive change.
As highlighted in the article where I present each of my Fantastic 3, gratitude has proven extremely beneficial for me, particularly once I acknowledged its role in my holistic health and healing journey. Specifically, how it tied in with meditation and manifestation. Anyway, you don’t have to practice all three together, in that order, in one session.
Being an introverted woman, frantic overthinker and technically an ‘all or nothing’ kind of gal, I have become a big fan of advocating for cutting ourselves some slack.
Slack from prescriptions or rigid protocols, if we have a chance, since we are always constantly running from task to task, trapped in our own thoughts as is.
When it comes to our healing and manifestation (hence, with the F3), we should be allowed to be definitely more playful, free and creative. We should also remind ourselves that a journey of healing and creation of a quietly empowered life takes time, patience and self-compassion.
Thus, if you are in the mood for practicing the F3, that’s wonderful! But if you aren’t, that’s ok too. Just make sure you squeeze a little bit of each into your day.
Which brings to how you can cultivate and have an attitude of gratitude.
How to practice and have an attitude of gratitude
Whether you already have an attitude of gratitude by nature or not, it’s alright. Here are some interesting, proven techniques to help you foster it until it becomes an integral part of your approach to life.
You can practice gratitude in the context of the F3, which means you will focus on gratitude after meditation and in preparation for manifestation. To learn more, please read our introductory article on the Fantastic Three mentioned above, My “Fantastic 3” No-Fail Steps to a Quietly Empowered Life That Will Honor Your Introversion.
You can practise it on its own. The options below are meant to be carried out as either longer or shorter, bite-sized sessions.
Either way, don’t worry, failing is not an option: being shorter in duration doesn’t make them less intentional in quality or less beneficial for your Soul in any way!
My motto is: Start small, be easy on yourself. Especially if right now you are just beginning your spiritual journey and creating a ‘new’, empowered life as an introverted woman.
The very first step to take in order to practice gratitude is to become conscious. This is why I encourage to work with the Fantastic Three, amongst other things.
You may not have an attitude of gratitude right away, but if you can explore your capacity for becoming conscious, then you will be already halfway there. Actually, your whole holistic health and healing journey will be on the right track.
Anyway, becoming conscious means taking stock of your surroundings, where you are physically in this moment. You focus your attention to the body, hence to the here and now. For this, I suggest you have a look at how to get started with meditation, a very broad introduction to the topic.
Read it yet? Great!
At this point you will be grounded enough to work on gratitude with focus, attention, and physical sensations.
4 Simple Ways to Practice Daily Gratitude
1) Keep a journal or note the things you can be grateful for.
You can either keep a daily journal or decide to record your gratefulness whenever/how often you prefer. By writing down, you consciously recall the “gifts, grace, benefits, and good things you enjoy”. Mindful.org
Even though contemporary culture connects gratefulness with huge achievements and/or material gains, you will discover that most moments of gratitude will be associated with ordinary events, valued people, your pet… In other words, what is already under your eyes.
2) Mental subtraction, aka remember the bad.
Mental subtraction equals trying to remember about a hard time you went through in your past; or even imagine what life would look like if some of your current circumstances (people, events, material objects) hadn’t occurred. The contrast between your existence now and a worse version of it reinforces your motivation to have an attitude of gratitude – and maintain it.
3) Say a heart-felt ‘thank you’ – don’t give people for granted!
Whenever someone does something you appreciate, let it sink in for a second, then remember to reply with a heart-felt Thank You. We are used to uttering these two words out of habit rather than an intentional feeling. When we make the time to sincerely thank our partner, our mother, our best friend, they will sense the difference. You can silently say thank you to the people who have inspired you, then go over what, about them, is most significant.
4) List “three good things” in the morning or before going to sleep.
Identify three things that you are grateful for: they can regard the day that has just finished, life in general. You set the context, although this list is usually suggested as a way to keep track of three good things in a day.
Just like the journal technique, you can list the three things to be grateful for either every day or occasionally. It’s up to you, also, to write them down or do it mentally.
The best times would be first thing in the morning or right before bedtime.
Benefits of Gratitude – According to Science.
“Psychologists find that, over time, feeling grateful boosts happiness and fosters both physical and psychological health, even among those already struggling with mental health problems. Studies show that practicing gratitude curbs the use of words expressing negative emotions and shifts inner attention away from such negative emotions as resentment and envy, minimizing the possibility of ruminating, which is a hallmark of depression.”Psychology Today
Being an introvert, “minimizing the possibility of ruminating” sounds like a dream, right?!
The following article by Happier Human highlights some 31 benefits of gratitude. They are all science backed, which means that the results of more than 50 research studies on gratitude were aggregated to this end.
Studies seem to agree, broadly speaking, on the fact that it improves our health, relationships, emotions, personality, and career. People who have fostered an attitude of gratitude show fewer physical symptoms of illness, more optimism and greater goal attainment.
It positively impacts our brains; in fact, according to Mindful.org, practicing gratitude regularly, for example by keeping a journal or listing the three things, “lights up the ventromedial prefrontal cortex, a key brain region associated with reward processing in the brain.”
Gratitude from the Heart and Intuition vs gratitude from the Ego
It’s worth noting — again! — that every exercise on gratefulness must come from a place of awareness. The reason why I preach on the importance of the Fantastic 3 is given by their specific order.
Meditation is the magic starting point where you take a break, re-center, and tune inwards. You focus on the breath, connect mind to body, and tune everything else out. You practice gratitude right after you have gotten in touch with your Self rather than external noise. In that spiritual silence of your heart and Soul, your Intuition is free to speak and be heard by you.
In other words, you practice gratitude from a place of peace and authenticity, even if for a bunch of seconds. That’s the origin of a quietly empowered life.
On the contrary, if you stop to practice gratitude out of the blue, perhaps while you’re in the car or in the middle of a task at work, something sneaky might occur. As soon as you come up with a genuine thing or two you’re thankful for, the Ego (with its insidious conditioning) kicks in.
You start wishing you were grateful for a person or a situation at all costs, or you may wonder: “Why am I not grateful for that, too? Is something wrong with me?” Or “Yeah, I should thank them for their kind act but you know, they owed it to me anyway because bla bla bla…”
Toxic way to go about gratitude, for sure. Plenty of logical reasons and very little heart, my fellow introverted Soul!
Being an introvert myself, I realize the importance of pausing the thinking mind for as much as possible (or as least as I’m able to) in order to access the most true part of me.
Only you will be able to tell the difference between that which comes from Intuition and that which is pushed in by your Mind.
Over time you will learn to know yourself better and better, thus gaining better control over gratitude and the Fantastic 3. It takes compassion, kindness, grace. Pretty much in line with what you can read in Quietly Mary’s article: The 2 Unsung Factors For Beginning Your Spiritual Journey With The Right Mindset.
As the second magic ingredient of the Fantastic 3, gratitude helps an introverted person like you and me ground in the present moment to create a quietly empowered life.
To have an attitude of gratitude contributes to seeing the magic in your life right here and now, while setting the tone for creating more of it through manifestation.
I also like to think of gratitude as a precious, effortless way to get in touch with our intuition, the light in our hearts and the most authentic aspects of our identity.