Grace - Gratitude - Generosity
Robert A. Emmons writes, "Gratitude is incomplete until it is manifested in outward action." So what does this mean to you? For me it brings to mind the popular practice of giving to others and asking them to, "Pay it forward." So what else can we do to go beyond just saying we are thankful this Thanksgiving holiday, and genuinely demonstrating our gratitude?
I'm confident that anyone that has taken a moment to read this is likely the type that is already taking outward action and is paying it forward every chance he or she gets. Here are ten steps for practicing gratitude that were recently shared with me, and I hope that at least a few of them will work for you.
*Ten Steps for Practicing Gratitude
1. Keep A Gratittude Record - Establish a daily practice of paying attention to grace, gifts, and blessings.
2. Remember the Bad - The worst of life prepares fertile ground to cultivate gratitude.
3. Three Daily Reflections - Recognize the gifts you receive. Create ways to "give back." Ask yourself, "Where have I caused pain through thoughts, words, or deeds?"
4. Lift Prayers of Gratitude - "Let us give thanks to the Lord our God... It is right to give our thanks and praise!"
5. Use Your Senses - Be joyously grateful for the incredible miracle of life through touch, taste, sight, scent, and sound.
6. Use Visual Reminders - Two primary obsticles to being grateful: forgetfulness and lack of mindful awareness. Create daily practices to be aware and to be grateful.
7. The Words We Use - Grateful people tend to use the language of "blessings," "Gifts," and "abundance."
8. Going Through the Motions - Grateful motions trigger grateful emotions. (Exercise your smile muscles and you'll feel better than if you practice frowning!)
9. Think Outside the Box - Outward Actions of Gratitude: Practice loving your enemies. Practice serving others.
10. Make a Vow to Practice Gratitude - A vow to enact a behavior increases the prospect of puposeful action. When we make a vow to God, we bring along a poweful ally to keep our vows.
*Thanks! How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier. by Robert A. Emmons, 2007