gratitude: the key to attracting abundance through appreciation 

Gratitude is more than an emotion; it's a state of being that shifts our focus from what we lack to what we possess. In a world where "the grind" can overshadow simple joys and discontent can take root, an appreciation for the little things acts as a beacon of light – teaching us that it is not happiness that brings us gratitude; it is gratitude that brings us happiness. 
Gratitude and mindfulness go hand in hand and help elevate the frequency of the everyday. When we practice gratitude, we cultivate a deeper awareness of the present moment, anchoring ourselves in the here and now.  
It's about noticing the blessings surrounding us, no matter how small and fully savouring them. When cultivated regularly, this simple practice has the power to transform our entire outlook so that we can find peace and contentment in the micro-moments of life. 

the (neural) pathway to inner peace

When we practise gratitude regularly, something remarkable happens – we begin to rewire our brains, training them to seek positivity in the world around us. Over time, our default mindset shifts to one of appreciation and abundance.  
As our neural pathways change, our brains magnify whatever we focus on. This phenomenon is known as the Universal Law of Gratitude*. Part of the 12 Universal Laws, the Universal Law of Gratitude asserts that the more we express gratitude, the more reasons we find to be grateful.  
When we consciously acknowledge the blessings in our lives, we align ourselves with the abundant energy of the universe, inviting more abundance and positivity into our reality. 

the benefits of gratitude

Practising gratitude isn't about seeing everything as good but rather about accepting what we have as enough. It turns denial into acceptance, despair into appreciation, chaos into order, and confusion into clarity. 
Like your body, what you feed your mind affects how you feel. When worry, fear, envy or self-criticism flood the mind, your mental health and wellbeing suffers. When we express gratitude, our brains release dopamine and serotonin, the "happy hormones" that make us feel lighter on the inside. It's an exercise akin to nourishing our minds with positivity, in the same way that a healthy diet fuels our body with nutrients.  

In addition to boosting our mood, there are many long-lasting benefits to living a grateful life: 

  • Deeper connections: Showing appreciation and gratitude towards others strengthens interpersonal relationships – fostering empathy, compassion, and connection. 
  • Improved self-esteem: Recognising your strengths and successes boosts self-esteem and self-worth, shifting the focus from what is lacking to what you have to be proud of in the present moment. 
  • Cultivating optimism: Gratitude encourages us to see our failures as lessons, strengthening us to try again rather than give up. 
  • Greater resilience: Gratitude helps us build resilience by fostering a positive outlook, reminding us to find silver linings and maintain perspective during testing times. 
  • More joy: Pursuing success, fear of failure and the weight of uncertainty can eclipse the simple joys surrounding us. At its core, gratitude teaches us to look for the joy and lightness each day. When we focus on what we are grateful for, we actively choose positive emotions over negative ones. 
  • Less stress: Focusing on the positive aspects of life rather than dwelling on stressors and problems has been shown to reduce stress levels. 

gratitude starts with one thankful thought at a time

As the adage goes, "Enjoy the little things. One day, you may look back and realise they were the big things." While it's easy to feel thankful when you're promoted at work or your favourite sports team wins, gratitude thrives in the everyday moments. Whether basking in the sun's warmth on our faces, enjoying views of the scenic route, or having a heartfelt conversation with a new friend, gratitude in any form can be both enlightening and healing. 

Fortunately, gratitude is like a muscle that you can build. With the right exercises, tools and practice, you can shift your mindset, one thankful thought at a time. 

  • Gratitude meditation: Set aside time to reflect on things you're grateful for and let that feeling permeate your mind and body. The beauty of this exercise is that you can do it virtually anywhere, as long as you're in a quiet and comfortable setting. Let your breath slow and your mind focus as a wave of appreciation washes over you. 
  • Gratitude walk: Take a walk outdoors and pay attention to the beauty around you. Notice the colours, sounds, and sensations. With each step, express gratitude for the simple joys of nature. 
  • Gratitude letters: Write letters to people who have positively impacted your life. Express your gratitude for their presence, support, or kindness. You can send these letters or keep them for your reflection. 
  • Gratitude jar: Keep a jar or container in a visible place in your home. Whenever something good happens, or you feel grateful for something, write it down on a small piece of paper and put it in the jar. Over time, you'll have a collection of reminders of the good things in your life to read when things feel bleak. 
  • Gratitude affirmations: Start or end your day with affirmations focused on gratitude. Repeat phrases such as "I am grateful for all the abundance in my life" or "I appreciate the small blessings that surround me." 

how to practice gratitude throughout your day

To deepen your gratitude practice, consider incorporating various techniques tailored to your daily routine: 

  • Morning: Begin each day with a gratitude meditation. Take a few moments to centre yourself (perhaps while drinking your morning coffee), then reflect on three things you're thankful for. 
    Whether it's the promise of a new day, the comfort of a hot shower, or having a tasty breakfast, let gratitude set the tone for your day ahead – it's all about romanticising life. 
  • During the day: Whenever you feel stressed or overwhelmed, pause and recite affirmations such as "I am grateful for the challenges that helped me grow" or "I appreciate the support of loved ones in my life." These affirmations serve as gentle reminders of the abundance that surrounds you. 
  • Night-time: Wind down your day with gratitude prompts. Before you sleep, ask yourself three things you're grateful for from the day. These prompts could be, "What went well today?", "What did I do today to make myself proud?" "What lessons did today teach me?". By ending your day on a note of gratitude, you'll begin to realise you already have everything you need within you. 

Remember, the key to practising gratitude is consistency and sincerity. Find methods that resonate with you and make them part of each day to reap the rewards that gratitude can bring fully.

*Chowdhury, Madhuleena Roy. The Neuroscience of Gratitude and Effects on the Brain. PositivePsychology.com. April 9, 2019.

Madhuleena Roy Chowdhury explored the neurological impacts of gratitude in her 2019 research paper, “The Neuroscience of Gratitude and Effects on the Brain”, explaining that physiological effects of gratitude start at the neurotransmitter level. Chowdhury’s research consolidated neurological studies that demonstrate how regular gratitude practice can lead to changes in the structure and function of the brain. Specifically, expressing gratitude activates brain regions associated with the experience of reward, empathy, and social bonding. 

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