A Grateful Heart

CJGratitudeCharlesStanleyI really enjoy watching TED talks. I find that they’re a great way to gain a new perspective in just 10 minutes. I recently watched a TED talk by Benedictine monk, David Steindl-Rast, on the topic of Gratefulness.

While his Austrian accent was, at first, a little distracting, the core of his message is powerful. “It is not happiness that makes us grateful. It’s gratefulness that makes us happy.”  If we take a moment to stop, be mindful of the given moment, and be thankful for life’s opportunities, we hold the key to happiness in our own hands. In his words: “Stop, Look and Go.”

Here are some ways to implement this in your own life:

STOP:

Take time to be. Whether through meditation or just allowing yourself 10 minutes of me time, your brain needs to be allowed to hit the refresh button before you can truly be grateful or your situation. You can do this through meditation or just allowing yourself 10 minutes of me time. I find that my brain loves the competitive cycle of complaining and internal venting. By stopping and thinking about what I’m thinking about, I give myself the opportunity to break this cycle.

LOOK:

Be curious about the sensations in your body and how the situation is affecting you.

Take a step back and look at the situation with fresh eyes. Ask yourself, “What can I learn from this?” As a therapist, I can at times be too aware of my sensory needs. I find journaling helps me to start the process of stopping to self-examine what is really going on. The Gratitude 365 App is a great online tool for this. It comes with a reminder to take the time to sit and reflect on what you are grateful for.

DO:

This is your call to action, to change something, thank someone, or volunteer your service.  The Gratitude Jar app is a perfect place to share your grateful heart.  Lighting a candle, as suggested by Brother David, is another.

Visual reminders are a third method to keep yourself grateful. At one stage when I was struggling with self-image issues, I took a sonar scan from my baby book. “I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14), I wrote across the bottom. Every time I saw it, I was reminded that I was made for a reason, and I became grateful for just being me.

So I encourage you to get creative! Make something personal that will remind daily to be grateful.

From personal experience, I can tell you there is nothing better than saying thank you. Studies show that the person saying thank you benefits even more than the person being thanked. Whether it’s a small note or a conversation over coffee, you are actually benefiting emotionally by taking the time to thank someone.


imageCANDICE MES is an Occupational Therapist working in the field of psychiatry. She is the wife of an amazing husband and has two beautiful miniature schnauzers. She is passionate about dog agility, and currently lives Johannesburg, South Africa. Candice has two autoimmune diseases: Myasthenia Gravis and hypothyroidism.

These two thorns in my side have affected me, my family, my health and my daily life. I started writing my blog, Snowflakes and Spoons, in February, 2016, dedicating it to everyday triumphs.

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