The Art of Gratitude

Forbes.com defines gratitude as “the act of feeling and communicating appreciation for the people, circumstances, and material possessions in our lives. It allows us to cherish our present in ways that make us feel in abundance rather than deprived. As a result, we become more motivated, less fatigued, and, ultimately, better off.”

Gratitude is an integral part of the human experience. It can positively affect how we exist in the world if we are open to acknowledging and embracing it. When we can feel appreciative for the things that we have in our lives and focus on just that, we can feel fulfilled and be content with our lives without feeling like something is missing. Happiness can follow us freely when we practice gratitude. Gratitude is also an essential spiritual practice for us to maintain the relationships we have that link us to a Divine Power.

Here are some of the things we can benefit from when we choose to live a life centered around thankfulness.

Gratitude helps us see God.

The more we can express gratitude to God, for everything, the more we will experience him working through us and around us. Experiencing the energy of a Higher power can help strengthen our bond with God, and we can rest in knowing that that presence can always be felt within us.

Gratitude can open the door to more relationships.

Having a sense of community or your designated “village” is an important aspect of our spiritual lives. It’s how we can stay connected to the people who genuinely love and care for us. They’ve helped mold us into the spiritual beings we are, and we must keep nurturing these relationships and be open to having new ones. When we can express gratitude to others who may not necessarily be a part of our village for doing things as simple as holding the door open for us, we are positively acknowledging them and opening the door to allowing new relationships to grow. Expressing gratitude can also help improve the relationships we currently have with people in our village.

Gratitude brings us peace.

Maintaining peace in our lives is necessary, especially during challenging times in life. Having that appreciation for life and all that we have within it, no matter the circumstances, is what peace can be. We deserve peace in our lives, and with that peace comes a divine covering over our lives and circumstances from a higher power.

Gratitude creates a giving heart.

When our hearts are full, we are more willing to give to others out of pure love, and it’s a beautiful thing to experience on both the giving and receiving end.

Positivepsychology.com discusses how gratitude can decrease our self-centeredness and how evidence shows that gratitude makes us more open to sharing with others, no matter who it is. Giving helps to inspire others, cultivate self-worth, and has the power to touch the life of another person, no matter how big or small you give.

Gratitude can give us a spiritual boost.

Have you ever been at a place in life where it feels like you’ve lost sight of your spirituality and become lost on your spiritual journey? You’ve become so consumed with outside forces that you haven’t invested as much time into your spiritual life? Well, gratitude can help pull you out of that spiritual funk and get back to living life being more spiritually centered. Practicing gratitude can increase our spiritualism and make us more in tune with how we take care of ourselves spiritually. We can look at it like this; the more grateful we are, the more spiritually connected we can be. It goes beyond being thankful for the surface level things. We have to express gratitude for the beautiful sunny days that make us feel good, for the good things that are happening to other people. We have to be able to express gratitude outside of ourselves to experience a deeper connection spiritually.

Stephanie Ludwig, Ph.D. and Resorts Director of Spiritual Wellness at Canyon Ranch in Tucson, Arizona, describes gratitude to be one of the greatest benefits for our spiritual lives “because it aligns our perceptions with the nature of reality—its wonder, its beauty, its superabundance. If you really look into the matter deeply, to focus on gratitude is to contemplate the Divine.”

With gratitude, we can be present in today and experience all that the Universe has to offer us. Gratitude is a spiritual discipline that we have to have to go through life healthy, happy, and spiritually fulfilled.