- Religion and Philosophy
Gratitude is an Attitude: One Family’s 30 Day Experiment to Live a Life of Gratitude and of the Power of Thank You
What is the Meaning of Gratitude?
According to Dictionary.com the definition of gratitude is:
“The quality or feeling of being grateful or thankful”
How can I be Grateful when life is getting me down?
In these very trying times there are many families around the world that are going through some very difficult and challenging times in their lives.
My family is no exception and we are in fact facing some very difficult and trying situations, not least of which include debt which we are struggling to repay, taking care of three very old and infirm parents, raising and home schooling our 6 year old son, and trying for the past two years to get our home business off the ground. So as you can see we have a lot to complain about!
However, the question my husband and I asked ourselves is: “Yes, we certainly have a lot to complain about, but truly, what do we have to be grateful for and how can an attitude of gratitude change the way we feel, and in due course change the outcome of our life?”
Hence began our 30 day experiment of living with gratitude each and every day!
A Daily Dose of Gratitude, the Power of Thank You
So here is what we decided to do every day for 30 days in our gratitude experiment.
1. Thank You Affirmations
Every morning upon waking up, before we do anything else, my husband and I spend a full half an hour doing 108 gratitude affirmations.
What this means is we each have a string of 108 beads and every morning we sit and think of 108 things we are grateful for that day and say thank you for each one. Not only do we think of things we are grateful for, we also have to say why we are grateful for each one.
Believe me when I say that although I never considered myself an ungrateful person, finding 108 things to be grateful for each and every day is quite a challenge! Giving a reason “why” even more so!
An example of a typical affirmation is:
I am grateful for my warm bed because it was so cold last night and I was so warm. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Why do we do this 108 times? No reason really other than we wanted it to be challenging. Saying thank you ten times is not much of a stretch and most affirmations work in high numbers. Also seeing as 108 adds up to the number 9 (the number for completion), we settled on 108. If you want to give this a try yourself you can use 108 or any number you feel comfortable with.
2. Ten Reasons Why You Are Grateful For…
Next is one of the most challenging exercises of the day. Every day my husband and I each have to make a list of 10 reasons why we are grateful for the worst thing in our life that day.
This can include anything from not being able to pay our bills, to being ill, to having problems at work, etc…
In the course of the experiment I have had to find 10 reasons to be grateful for not having electricity for 2 whole days because a storm knocked down our power lines, my father being in hospital due to complications caused by his leukaemia, a house full of overseas guests with a broken toilet over the Easter holidays, and probably most stressful of all, bills, bills and more bills that needed payment by month end!
An example of this would be:
I am grateful that I do not have money to pay my bills at the end of this month because it allows me the opportunity to show my faith in God / The Universe / The Power of Attraction /(fill in your personal deity),etc.
As you can see, living with gratitude can be a challenge at the best of times. Funnily enough though, just saying thank you makes such a profound difference to how I feel about even the worst problems that I am faced with. Gratitude brings me such a profound sense of peace and joy that my day seems to be brighter even though I have so much to overcome.
Even though this is one of the hardest exercises it is also one of the most fulfilling. If you can be grateful for the worst things in your life then the good things are a piece of cake.
If you try nothing else try this experiment next time you are faced with a problem and see how you feel after you’ve made your list of 10.
3. Love Bombs!
This is a game that our whole family plays every time we are in the car or out somewhere.
My son loves to pretend that everyone, be they pedestrians or drivers, are aliens and he loves to shoot them. My husband and I modified this game and now we all make sure that we shoot every single person we see with love bombs!
Each person we encounter on the road and throughout our day gets a dose of love from each of us. I will look at each person and send them a silent blessing: “I love you, I bless you and may your biggest problem be resolved perfectly today.”
Trust me when I say that after you’ve done this over 100 times in a day you will feel euphoric!
4. The Thank You List
This is the final exercise of our day. Every night before we go to bed we finish off our day making a list of no less than 10 things we are grateful for that happened during the day.
Not only does this remind us of all the wonderful things that happen in our lives daily, it also helps relieve stress and is the perfect recipe for a good nights sleep.
An example of something that would go on your Thank You list is:
I am so grateful that I made $$$ on Hub Pages today. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
So there you have it; my recipe for living a life of gratitude! Remember it’s all in your attitude and what better attitude to have than an attitude of gratitude? If it accomplishes nothing more than make you happier throughout your day you have accomplished more than most people ever do.
So How Did Our Attitude of Gratitude Experiment Work Out?
I can’t say that suddenly everything went away and that my life became perfect over the course of 30 days, but I CAN say that amazing little “miracles’” began to occur with regularity; an unexpected cheque in the post, a friend bringing us a whole lot of groceries as a gift, some unexpected and much needed sales in our business…
Is gratitude a cure-all? Perhaps not but it sure beats the alternatives; stress, worry and misery. So after 30 days I can say that I am truly converted and that I am now living everyday with gratitude in my heart.
I hope you give it a try too and let me know how it works out for you! Thank you for reading, “I love you, I bless you and may your biggest problem be resolved perfectly today.”
Books That Helped Me Along The Way
A workbook that helps you incorporate gratitude into your daily life.