The Power of Gratitude

Sunset over Phoenix, Arizona airport

I acquired The Five Minute Journal about two years ago. This journal asks you to spend the first five minutes of your morning and the last five in the evening being grateful for three things in your life and listing three other things you would love to do today. I quickly finished it and after I did, I realized I don’t have to keep buying this particular journal, but still complete the exercise on my own. Any piece of paper and pen will do, and so, that’s what I did.

I have to admit that for the first couple of years, I didn’t feel too much of a difference. I would still often complain about how much reading I had to do, the fact that it was raining, etc. Slowly but surely, I began to reap the benefits of my daily gratitude practice. Sure enough, all of the complaining began to vanish and all I could feel was thankfulness. Completing this practice consistently has shifted my entire perspective of my life into one that sees the positive side to every situation. I am grateful now that I get to read material and learn from brilliant minds. I am grateful for when it does rain because that means the plants will be nourished.

I am grateful that I have a roof over my head. I am grateful that I have access to clean drinking water all of the time. I am grateful to work at a wonderful place with incredible colleagues and friends. I am grateful for the furniture and appliances that support my day to day life. I am grateful for living in the Bay Area for most of my life, with its beautiful landscapes, weather and diverse people. I am grateful for my gorgeous clothes that adorn my body and match my style perfectly. I am grateful for makeup that allows me to experiment with colors and enhance my natural beauty. I am grateful for having a safe and reliable car. I am grateful for the abundance of food that is available to me every day. I am grateful for my healthy body.

I could go and on. But the point is, there is always something to be grateful for even in the worst of conditions. If nothing seems positive in your life, you can be thankful for your breath, for being alive. Even if you don’t have anything else, having your breath is all it takes to change your life. Without it, we’re simply dead. This is where all the power resides: in your breath. It truly is that simple.

I am grateful for the traffic that lets me call my mom and talk to her for a while. I am grateful for the repairs my car needs because it means I have a car. I am grateful for the long check out line at Target because it reminds me to practice patience, and that I get to go to a store and pick out whatever I desire and need. I am grateful for the loud train that passes by because it reminds me that my hearing works. I am grateful for my glasses because it reminds me that I have health insurance and doctors I can see whenever I need them.

So I invite you to integrate this practice into your lives and to be consistent with it. Soon enough you’ll realize how blessed you are, as we all are. All it takes is for you to become aware of it.

Also, by cultivating thankfulness, more of which you desire is bound to manifest in your life, whether that be more money, a new car, a new home, a new purse, whatever. If you want a new car, start by appreciating the one you have now. If you want a new home, start by thanking the one that keeps you safe and warm right now. We often take for granted the material things that sustain us and make our lives convenient and easy every day. It may sound ridiculous, but even something as insignificant as a purse allows you to carry your necessities with you. As trivial as it may seem, it helps you to live more efficiently, so thank it and treat it with respect. I know that many times I’ve come home and just thrown my bag and jackets on the floor without appreciating how these things took care of me in one way or another that day. It’s not about worshipping objects, but rather to thank it for supporting us. And if you start by thanking the small and banal, it will make it easier to be grateful for the bigger things in life.