Engaging an "attitude of gratitude" or a feeling of appreciation opens our hearts and relaxes us by invoking a pleasurable memory or experience. With our heart open and relaxed, we are more able to connect to our creative flow. If you are feeling grumpy, stuck or frustrated, it can be difficult to experience the feelings of gratitude. The key is to keep it simple and specific.
Here is an example; try being grateful for a delicious pear you ate. It doesn't have to be a big fancy gift you are appreciating, just start small and keep it connected to your sense experience. When you think about what you are grateful for, describing it specifically will help to take you to the feeling of gratitude in your body rather than just being in your head about it.
Remember experiencing that beautiful light green, perfectly ripe, juicy sweet Bartlet pear that you had as a mid-afternoon snack while you sat in the warm breezy October day. Think about how you enjoyed savoring it as it's juices trickled out your hand down your arm to your elbow.
Describing the specific sense experience will take you to the feeling more directly than saying you appreciate the mid-afternoon snack you had. That short vague description is very "so what" vs. the ahh! memory of the succulent, ripe pear.
Other examples would be to think of someone in your life who had a very positive impact on you. Review the memory in detail and see if it helps to bring you to an experience of gratitude.
I first learned about using an attitude of gratitude from Cheryl Richardson in her book Take Time For Your Life. She recommends incorporating some kind of gratitude practice into your daily life as a way of creating a habit of gratitude. For example, writing daily gratitudes, creating some kind of gratitude ritual or celebration. Using these structures to remind us all help with forming or increasing a habit of gratitude.
Developing an attitude of gratitude is a way of holding a perspective on life where we notice what we can appreciate as opposed to focusing on lack, problems, complaints or constraints. After you practice for a while, your sense of gratitude will begin to happen naturally and will provide stress relief in addition to freeing your mind and your muse!
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