These days, so many of us are feeling stressed or afraid of not having enough. Fear is everywhere. But a True Gratitude practice can go a long, long way to alleviate those uncomfortable feelings of scarcity and fear.
The secret is that where there is gratitude, there isn’t room in the human heart and consciousness for fear. Here are some simple ideas and suggestions to help us open our hearts to the blessings of each moment, and feel thankful rather than fearful, here:
1. Start by Witnessing. When you catch yourself feeling tense, anxious, or afraid, just notice that those feelings are coming up. Give yourself permission to feel them. There is no shame in responding to life with tension or fear. Life can be pretty anxiety-provoking and scary!
2. Name Three Things. When you do notice yourself feeling anxious or scared, think of three things for which you are really grateful. They can be really small–”The sweater I’m wearing is really warm and comforting”–or large–”I’m grateful for the presence of my son in my life.”
3. Write them Down. You can designate a special blank book to be your Gratitude Journal (there are so many gorgeous blank books available these days). Soon you will have a beautiful list of things to reread in the wee hours to soothe yourself when you can’t sleep or you‘re feeling upset.
4. Gratitude Mantra. I often do this when I’m driving: I simply remind myself of all the things I can think of right now in the moment that make me feel grateful. You don‘t need to really think much–just start naming. “I’m grateful for the trees turning colors. I’m grateful that I can breathe. I’m grateful that my car runs. I’m grateful that I have enough to eat.” Sometimes the list is short. Other times, I reach my destination and I’m still thinking of things! See what you can come up with. (Nature is a great prompter; when all else fails, I can be grateful for the sky and the rocks, the deer, the wind, and the hawks soaring overhead.)
5. In This Moment. Here is a healing affirmation that promotes gratitude: “Right now, in this moment, I have enough.” It is true. And it is a deep balm for fearful-future thinking. Let’s all be grateful for the enough-ness of the present moment!
By Cait Johnson, author of Earth, Water, Fire, and Air (SkyLight Paths, 2003).