Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions.
The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely
you will have even more to express gratitude for.
— Zig Ziglar, American author, motivation speaker, salesman
With Memorial Day right around the corner, I want to thank all of the military service men and women for their commitment, dedication, and sacrifice in helping this country be a better and safer place to live. A huge thank you to all their families, because without their love and support, none of this would be possible. And to all the ones we have lost—there is no greater sacrifice. We honor all of you today, this weekend, and always. We see your incredible strength and are grateful for all of you!
Here is what I have learned: living in a state of gratitude is an important key to leading a joyful, abundant life. Being grateful means feeling sincere appreciation for what you already have. You could acquire every material thing in the world, but without gratitude, your possessions would be just objects. Feeling appreciation is one of the best emotions you can experience. Focusing on all you have instead of what you lack helps enhance your well-being, creating more happiness, optimism, and better health. And the more you appreciate, the more you receive.
One of the easiest ways to enter into this space is to appreciate the present moment. This is where I feel a relationship with all things. Gratitude says to the world, “I am thankful for you, for me, for everything.”
When we appreciate and are content with our current gifts, more will come into our lives. The statement, “We reap what we sow,” is very true. What we put out to the world comes back to us. When we feel deserving and worthy of these offerings, we start to see more gifts appear. If we feel we don’t deserve these gifts, we can block them from coming into our lives. We are not given dreams we cannot achieve. We receive what we believe.
It may take some effort to feel grateful, but we can change our mindset. Repetitive thoughts are simply patterns we continue to create. When feeling ungrateful, we can switch our thinking and place our attention on something in life to be thankful for, and this starts a new thought pattern. Gratitude changes attitude.
I purposely seek gratitude. Am I in grace all the time? No, but I now find it easier to return to this state when feeling down. Many of us have reasons to be thankful, but we tend to concentrate on what is wrong in our lives instead of what is right. Embrace the good and make a conscious effort to connect to gratitude. This act awakens positive emotions that spread throughout the body and into the brain, allowing for serenity and better clarity. Helping others also simulates better feeling emotions. Make gratitude an action word by performing an act of service, such as walking a sick friend’s dog or delivering groceries to someone unable to shop for themselves.
Developing an “attitude of gratitude” helps to create inner peace. When we are in a grateful state, we feel whole, complete, and in awe. True appreciation is a feeling that cannot be expressed by words alone—it is the joy of simply existing. I no longer want to say I am grateful or thank you without feeling this emotion.
In counting my blessings, not my losses, I found joy again. Life offers many wonderful opportunities to feel blessed. Waking up tomorrow is a hope, not a certainty. One of the most overlooked items on the gratitude list is our life-sustaining breath. We take it for granted. But without it, we cease to exist. And I am grateful, dear reader, that we are all here, enjoying each breath together.
Take a few moments every day to be thankful. Make gratitude a practice by feeling it, showing it, and doing it. Embrace the emotion and live in this space. I have found that being grateful leads to a more content, peaceful, and meaningful life. Appreciate the present moment because this is where all possibilities exist.