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Gratitude is a universal presence. Whether you make a point to spend time with it each day or it bubbles up spontaneously in a moment of contentment or wonder, you probably already know many of the gifts it brings. Gratitude makes us aware of the preciousness of our lives, puts us in touch with the love we have for those we share it with, and reminds us that we are already whole.
Like the moments that string our lives together, these gifts can feel fleeting no matter how much we appreciate them. However, we can make a conscious effort to cultivate our sense of gratitude so that, over time, we come to abide in these beautiful sensations naturally.
In a meditation on living gratefully, Deepak Chopra tells us, “Genuine gratitude is one of the most powerful ways to invite more goodness into our lives. It’s as if you’re saying to the universe, please bring me more of this.”
This invitation works on more than one level; It is also an invitation for abundance.
Abundance is all around us. One only has to spend a few minutes communing in nature to see that this is the universe’s natural state. It is ours, too, but cultural and societal forces invest a great deal of energy trying to tell us otherwise.
Plagued by feelings of incompleteness or worries about not having enough (be it love or money), we end up defaulting to a lack mentality in which we view life as an uphill struggle to get our fair share. Of course, this mentality begins to direct our reality.
This is why cultivating an abundance mindset can be hard work – even though it is our natural state. Oftentimes, trying to train yourself out of the lack mentality and into the abundance mindset can feel phony at first. If you’re struggling to pay your bills, telling yourself that wealth is abundant and yours for the taking may make you feel frustrated or angry because it just doesn’t seem true right now. Gratitude is the bridge between these two headspaces that makes the transition more accessible for us all.
When we look at our life through grateful eyes, we are able to see what we do have and do value. When we routinely bring our awareness to what we are grateful for, we lay the groundwork for a paradigm shift. We are better able to see the bounty that exists in our life. Then, we can make room for more gifts to come our way.
What does this look like in practice? Deepak Chopra has given us an easy-to-follow piece of advice that can radically transform our mindset. He says, “The main thing to do at the end of the day is to write in a gratitude journal all the things that you are grateful for that happened that day. You will invite more abundance into your life.”
Taking inventory this way, each day helps you become more aware of life’s bounty, and all of the ways in which it is already available to you. Like all of the best spiritual practices, this exercise also lets you start where you are. In a quiet space, you let your soul speak to you honestly, writing only what you genuinely feel thankful for. Even if the things on your list seem small, like a comfortable sweatshirt or a short line at the coffee shop, they matter. When you read over your journal entry, it helps you view yourself as a deserving person who is worthy of beholding a cup-overflowing life. You give yourself proof every day that the universe is conspiring in your favor to bring you what you need.
Research in the field of Positive Psychology affirms this. Studies have shown that practicing gratitude can lead to deeper relationships, an improved sense of optimism, better physical and mental health, and increased happiness. Each of these results is a hallmark of abundance.
Keeping a daily gratitude journal isn’t the only practice you can adopt, either.
Positive Psychology shows that you can also experience the deep benefits of gratitude when you share the feeling with others. This can mean reviving the art of thank-you note writing or even writing a letter to someone you are grateful for and giving it to them in person. Both of these activities help us get in touch with the abundant flow of compassion, love, and connection that keeps us close to those we love and cherish. When we share the fruits of our gratitude practice with others, we externalize our abundance mindset and unleash its creative potential into the world.
Abundance is our birthright and our natural condition as beings of this universe. Through gratitude, we can journey back to this state. Through gratitude, we wake up to the great beauty that surrounds us. There will still be struggles, of course, but we become aware of the abundant resources we have at our disposal to face them.
When we invite abundance into our lives, it never declines the invitation.
Tap into the natural flow of abundance and cultivate an abundance mindset in Journey to Well-being: Abundance, a four-part series with Londrelle Hall, available now in the Chopra App.