Count Your Blessings: Cultivating a Practice of Gratitude

October 06, 2009 By: Matsya Siosal Category: Living with Intention, Mind Body Spirit

celedralogoWith each sunrise comes an opportunity to start afresh; whether it is renewing our commitment to daily practice or another chance to leave behind an old habit. Adding a daily gratitude practice to your morning ritual is a wonderful way to acknowledge the blessings in your life.

Many recent studies suggest that people who are more grateful experience higher levels of well-being and are happier, less depressed, less stressed, and more satisfied with their lives and social relationships. Studies also indicate that people characterized as grateful are more in control of their environments, personal growth, purpose in life, and have greater self acceptance. Sounds like living with intention to me! Gratitude seems to be an overall tonic for body, mind and spirit and grateful people are known to sleep better, perhaps because they tend to have pleasant thoughts before sleeping, rather than ruminating on the days’ disappointments.

The further I get from a life of 50+ hour workweeks and the crushing stress of a job I parted from this spring, the more I am convinced that the frantic pace many of us are trying to keep up with creates a more self-absorbed perspective, rather than one of generosity and gratitude. When overwhelmed it is so easy for our focus to stick on the challenges of our own lives, rather than seeing ourselves connected to the human tribe and to the sacred majesty of our own true essence. This in turn makes us less open, less compassionate, less present. Yet openness, compassion, presence, gratitude are all key ingredients to living life intentionally and in tune with the sacred.

Psychologists have tested a number of different gratitude exercises with study participants. Some of the exercises included thinking about a living person for whom they were grateful, writing about someone for whom they were grateful, and writing a letter to deliver to someone for whom they were grateful. My favorite is simply counting my blessings. While I was simply enduring (and utterly overwhelmed) in my previous situation, listing all that I was grateful for at times was difficult but almost always it brought me to a more peaceful experience of the present moment.

Count Your Blessings

Sitting in a quiet place simply breathe and center yourself. Then either mentally, or writing it down in a journal, list all that you are grateful for right now. Give thanks for your body and its unique abilities, be grateful for the loving people in your life and your connection to the sacred. Also recognize how grateful you are for things like your favorite cozy socks, the ripe peaches awaiting you for breakfast and that payday is tomorrow. Counting your blessings is also a great mini-meditation throughout the day and as well before sleep. Whether you find one thing or one thousand things to be grateful for, by practicing gratitude today, you create a path for abundance to flow into your life and may soon be surprised to find yourself grateful for much more than you ever realized before.

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2 Comments to “Count Your Blessings: Cultivating a Practice of Gratitude”


  1. Rachelle Goering says:

    I am in complete agreement with Matsya and practicing gratitude. It does work–it changes energy in such a profound yet subtle way it is difficult to pinpoint. I highly recommend John DiMartini’s book The Gratitude Effect. Gratefully, Rachelle Goering

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  2. Thanks for the book recommendation Rachelle. I’m always on the hunt for something inspiring to read.

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