At the beginning of the year, I encouraged my readers to pick one word to focus their attention on and energize with affirmations throughout the year, as opposed to making a typical list of New Year’s Resolutions.

Similarly, instead of simply giving thanks at the table on Thanksgiving, while enjoying a special meal with your loved ones, I’d like to suggest you make the commitment to be grateful each and every day for all the blessings in your life. Not only does it make a huge difference in how you perceive and narrate your life story, and how the Universe responds with more blessings and abundance, but it is also a great method to keep the ego-mind under control.

The ancient yogic practice of pratipaksha bhavana consists on consciously shifting your attention to positive thoughts when the mind is disturbed by negative ones. An extension of this technique is actually focusing on the positive not just when the mind slides into negative mental patterns, but as a daily and continuous discipline of appreciation. This practice has been used for thousands of years in the Hindu and Buddhist spiritual traditions, and is becoming very popular nowadays in the West as a technique to weaken and master the mind. It is a simple yet effective method to gain control over—and dissolve—the false I-sense, or ego.

Let Gratitude Enhance Your Life

Cultivating gratitude is a profound practice. Perhaps expressing appreciation to others and feeling gratitude for what you have come easily to you; or maybe they require conscious intention and mental discipline. No matter how it manifests in your experience, the feeling of gratitude connects you to the Universal flow of energy and divine consciousness, because it is an aspect of your essential spiritual nature.

Truly felt appreciation for the abundant presence of the Divine in your life generates feelings of love and joy in your heart, and brings you closer to your divine nature. There are many renunciate and mendicant traditions in the East, but in the West Saint Francis is a figure that comes easily to mind when thinking of gratitude. He renounced all material things to enjoy life in its utmost simplicity and was able to perceive the infinite abundance and love of the Divine in everything. Of course, you don’t have to renounce the world to appreciate its abundance at all levels—physical, mental, and spiritual. You just need to change your attitude toward life to start perceiving your life story as a wonderfully abundant journey toward self-knowledge and self-growth.

Change Your Life Story to One of Blessings and Abundance

If you feel that life is not smiling at you because you are concerned about finances, or health, or family issues, you can still switch your perception to appreciate everything around you that is smiling, no matter how small it may seem in comparison to your problems. It could be as simple as a colorful sunset you happen to watch through the window; or the shapes clouds form in the sky as you’re driving home; or how soft and comfy your bed feels; or the taste of that cup of coffee or tea you love having in the morning.

More importantly, if you understand that you are a co-creator of your reality, you’ll appreciate how important it is to take responsibility for the life you are mentally co-creating every second of every minute of the day. Wherever your thoughts go, there follows your energy. Worrying and dwelling on the negative just brings you more to worry and be unhappy about, while shifting the focus to everything you can be grateful for shifts the energy of your reality toward physical, emotional, and spiritual abundance.

Your reality does not exist separate from you. As a matter of fact, it doesn’t exist unless the perception of it happens in your mind. So as you consciously change your perception, your reality is automatically transformed. Learn to view each day as an investment toward a brighter future, instead of looking at your current circumstances as limiting statements of what your life could become. Be grateful for what you have and also for what you can create and attract through the power of your intention.

Give Thanks To Be Happy

No matter how hard or confusing life may be, if you stop worrying about it for a minute, you’ll realize that there is so much to be grateful for. Maybe it is being surrounded by family or friends; or experiencing good health; or having a roof above your head; or being able to enjoy a meal; or being warm on a cold day; or having access to the technology to read this and connect with others around the world. I could go on. And I am sure you can find many, many things to be grateful for as well, right here, right now!

When you experience joy from within, from the true appreciation of who and where you are, you actually access the power of Infinite Consciousness. This feeling of joy is your inner power; it is the only true power there is, because it does not necessarily rely on anything external or temporary: you can find it anywhere, any time by switching your focus of attention. When you tune into this feeling, then you will spontaneously manifest more blessings to be grateful for. So make it a daily practice, and watch the miracles unfold!

Find yourself giving thanks out loud; giving thanks in silence; giving thanks in writing; giving thanks to others; and also giving thanks to yourself: for being who you are; for your talents and efforts; for your insight; and for your capacity to love and share and appreciate life. Happy thanksgiving today and every day!

© 2012 Yol Swan. All rights reserved.

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Author's Bio: 

Yol Swan is a Soul Guided Life Purpose & Business Coach offering her intuitive and healing gifts, plus over 28 years of experience exploring the mind and psyche, to empower spirit-led women, Indigo adults, and conscious entrepreneurs to claim their personal freedom and creative power, to shape a joyful and abundant life in alignment with their soul purpose.