The Power of Gratitude
[Please note: The views and opinions expressed in each post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of BayNVC as a whole.]
“Gratitude is the heart’s memory.” —French Proverb
The practice of expressing gratitude and being thankful is a choice that unleashes positive energy into our lives. Many psychologists agree that gratitude is the healthiest human emotion.
Focusing on things that we are grateful for will put things in perspective and change our mood. It keeps us from thinking negative thoughts. It produces inspiration and motivation to focus on the positive and nurture the things that really matter to us.
Gratitude can also lift our spirit when trials come and keep us from discouragement. Melody Beattie writes in her book The Language of Letting Go, “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, and confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”
If we believe that no matter what happens in life (good or bad) there is a purpose behind it, then we can unleash gratitude in great proportions. With the understanding that there is a greater good we find freedom from the chains of discouragement. When we believe this no matter what is happening, we can always have joy and a peace about things. When we have a positive perspective, we produce more positive energy and positive outcomes.
You can practice gratitude in many different ways. One way is to write down a list of the things you are grateful for and write down next to each item what need of yours was met. Then allow yourself to fully cherish this moment, memory, or action. You can also focus on the beautiful energy of the need that was fulfilled. It can also help to focus on a time when the need or value was fully lived out in your life. This can help with connecting to the beauty of the need.
Another way to practice gratitude is to verbally express it to others and share with them what need of yours was fulfilled by what they said or did. When we simply say, “thank you,” we do not fully express gratitude. Instead, we can say, “I am really grateful that you listened to me yesterday; being heard means a lot to me.”
A third way to express gratitude is to offer thanks to a higher power or divine energy. We may contemplate that the energy of the needs that were fulfilled for us came from a divine source. Connecting with the divine is a great way to release gratitude fully. When we understand that everything beautiful that we have or experience is a gift from the divine and have the opportunity to express our gratitude, we unleash more positive principles and practices of nonviolence energy into our lives and the universe, and are motivated to continue to live out those needs.
Practice: Take a moment to consider some things you are grateful for today and try to get in touch with the value or need that was fulfilled. Consider possibly also expressing gratitude to yourself, someone else, or the divine this week.
Eddie Zacapa is the founder of Life Enriching Communication, a certified trainer with The Center for Nonviolent Communication (CNVC) and the author of Principles and Practices of Nonviolence: 30 Meditations for Practicing Compassion and Essentials for Cultivating Passionate Volunteers and Leaders. Eddie provides nonviolent communication training to organizations and has worked in the domestic violence field for 20 years dedicating his life to ending the cycle of violence. He and his wife also work with couples and individuals who want to strengthen their relationships with others. You can visit his website at www.harmonyoftheheart.com.