I’m not just asking this question because it’s the holiday season and the time that we often reflect on things that we are grateful for in our lives. I’m posing it because there’s a direct correlation between gratitude and health and happiness.
I’ve learned this lesson in a very personal way over the past six months. As some of you know, I have eyesight challenges due to a degenerative eye disease and it has taken me into some dark emotional places. I’ve spent a lot of needless hours focused on what I’m losing, and in the process I’ve magnified and energized that lack and loss, leading to lots of emotional breakdowns and despair. But over the course of the year, I’ve also immersed myself in Taoism and spiritual principles tied to the universe and the energy source filled often referred to in quantum physics. It’s been scientifically proven that what we energize expands — it comes down to laws of attraction. So if we focus on lack and loss, we bring lack and loss into our lives. But the flip side is also true. About a month ago this finally sunk in, and a switch was flipped in my head. Instead of focusing on what’s wrong in my life, I turned my attention to what’s right and on all the things I have to be grateful for. And it has changed everything for me. We all have challenges that we face in life. But we also have amazing blessings and so much to be thankful for. It’s up to us to choose whether to focus on lack or abundance, the dark or the light.
Here is just a sampling of the many things for which I am grateful.
I now start every day with a 45 minute meditation, followed by a two or three minute pause where I voice out loud at least five things that I am grateful for that day. It’s made a huge difference in my moods, and my outlook, and the more I practice gratitude, the more things I discover I have to be grateful for. If you aren’t already doing this, I hope you will start your own gratitude practice. I promise it will make a huge difference for you as well.