Last week I blogged about about 5 practices I teach my clients to improve gratitude to enhance engagement and meaning. Here are 5 more we use at Strenght-Based Spiritual Recovery that some of clients felt should also be on the list of ways to improve engagement and meaning:
- Be of Service: Actions speak louder than words. Instead of just saying “I am grateful,” we can show how grateful we are to be alive by doing things that directly impacts the lives of others by being of service to others. (1, 2)
- Learn Prayers of Gratitude. In many spiritual traditions, prayers of gratitude are considered to be the most powerful form of prayer, because through these prayers people recognize the ultimate source of all they are and all they will ever be (1).
- Come to Your Senses. Through our senses—the ability to touch, see, smell, taste, and hear—we gain an appreciation of what it means to be human and of what an incredible miracle it is to be alive. Seen through the lens of gratitude, the human body is not only a miraculous construction, but also a gift. This is a powerful way to shift your mood and open to the flow of abundance that always surrounds us (3)
- The Gratitude Walk - This is a particularly useful practice when you’re feeling down or filled with stress and worry. Set aside 20 minutes (or longer if you can) and walk in your neighborhood, through a park, around your office, or somewhere in nature. As you walk, consider the many things for which you are grateful: loving relationships, material comforts, the body that allows you to experience the world, the mind that allows you to really understand yourself, and your essential spiritual nature. Breathe, pause, and be grateful for the air that is filling your lungs and making your life possible. This may also provide us a powerful way of reminding ourselves of the many things we take for granted and provide us with an opportunity to seek things for which we can be grateful. By simply expressing gratitude we can become more engaged in, and connected to the world around us (3).
- Finding The Positive: Finding something positive in people or situations we dislike can radically shift the way we perceive others and situations (1). As it relates to connecting with others, it might allow us to recognize the spark of Divinity that exists in every human being and connecting with that Divinity, which may improve patience and understanding. If we are still having problems recognizing that inner Divinity, then we might try asking “what is this person or situation here to teach me?” By simply asking the question, we can infuse some mindfulness and meaning into the situation or interaction (4)
- Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D., (2013) Gratitude Works!: A 21-Day Program for Creating Emotional Prosperity.
- Seligman, Martin, Ph.D (2004) Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize Your Potential for Lasting Fulfillment
- Emmons & McCullough (2003) “Counting Blessings Versus Burdens: An Experimental Investigation of Gratitude and Subjective Well-Being in Daily Life Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 2003, Vol. 84, No. 2, 377–389