Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Gratitude: The Real "Secret" to More Health, Wealth & Happiness

A few years ago, I read “The Secret”.  I bought it from an op-shop for $2. I read it, was inspired, and resolved only to focus on what I wanted, to visualise it, to see it already happening.

But nothing happened. Life carried on, and when we moved house, “The Secret” got packed up and sent back to the op-shop.

But I never stopped wanting to know the answers to these things.

Then I discovered my own little secret. Life has a way of teaching you when books can’t....

Really it’s so simple, you’ll probably laugh when you read this little secret. And when you try it for yourself and prove it to be true, you’ll wonder why you didn’t think of it before.

Are you ready?

The secret to attracting more good things into your life is....being grateful for what you already have.

That’s it!

What could possibly be simpler? (Or harder to live by....?!!)

If you are not grateful for what you have, why would you be entrusted with more?  And truly, if you aren’t happy now, why would you be happier with more...?

I stumbled upon this gem quite by accident really.

 A while ago, I decided I wanted to cultivate a spirit of gratitude, and I really made an effort. In the morning, before I got out of bed, I mentally listed all the things I was grateful for - everything I could possibly think of. During the day, in every situation or circumstance I was in, I looked for the positive and said “thank you” in my mind.

Before I knew it, all kinds of unexpected things started to happen. They started off small. I opened up a book, and there between the pages was a $1 note!  (Thank you). My sister-in-law dropped in with a big bowl of fresh tropical fruit salad. (Thank you). A parcel arrived in the mail from my mother. (Thank you). I discovered $12 in the pocket of an old pair of jeans. (Thank you.)

Then they got bigger. We had an unexpected windfall arrive in our bank account. Over $3000. (Thank you.) Opportunities were falling in my lap, seemingly without effort. I was brimming with energy and enthusiasm. Life was good.

It was sheer mental laziness on my part, that after a while, I simply stopped making an effort. I rolled out of bed in the morning and joined in the fray of trying to get children fed, and ready for school. After a while, my attitude of gratitude just sort of succumbed to some of the negative attitudes and voices around me, and the general hum-drum of life. My energy levels flagged, everything took such an effort. Life was not so peachy after all....

Thankfully, after a few weeks I awoke from my stupor and realised what was going on.

My attitude of gratitude had gone missing! In hindsight, it was clear.

The next morning, I woke up and promised myself that I would be grateful, no matter what. Even when things didn’t go my way, I would be grateful.

I promise you that I noticed the difference immediately. I enjoyed the day so much more. And not only that, but my spirit rubbed off on my children and my husband.

I challenge you to try this. When you wake up in the morning, and before you sleep at night, say “thank you” for all the positives in your life. I currently live in an “undeveloped” country, so some of the things on my list may seem ridiculous to others – electric power-points in my kitchen, running water, a shower that works. I don’t take these things for granted anymore.

When you find yourself complaining, pull yourself up. Look for the positive and be grateful.

Notice the work that others do, and thank them for it.

Instead of complaining about the washing machine leaving bits of lint on your favorite pants, why not be thankful you’ve got clothes to wear? Or grateful that you’ve got a washing machine, not to mention the electricity to run it?

Let me assure you that washing the family’s clothes by hand, (including, but not limited to: the white school shirts of 6yo and 14yo boys, the pants of a baby just learning to crawl, plus a 3 year old in the process of toilet-training...) is not exactly a picnic in the park.

I believe that gratitude is the cornerstone of all other virtues. And like all the virtues, it is a habit, cultivated by practice and mindfulness.

So let’s get into the habit, and prepare to welcome even more wonderful things into our lives...

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