How Practicing Gratitude Has Allowed Me To Come To Grips With My Mortality

It’s hard to believe that we are only 8 weeks away from bringing 2015 to an end. As the years go by I grow a little more sentimental as each year passes. New milestones are created, personal new discoveries are made, and unfortunately people we hold dear to our hearts pass on.

As I look towards 2016 it’s hard to believe I will be turning 47 years old. That’s almost the big 50! I still can’t wrap my brain around that. It felt like not to long ago I was hanging out at the nightclub dancing the night way to the tunes of TLC, Janet Jackson, and Kci-JoJo.

However, when I look around the room on Friday night after teaching a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu class I am often reminded that I am getting older. Most of the students I teach are in their early 20s, old enough to be my kids. In my heart I still feel like I am one of them except when they speak. It is here my wisdom and experience come into play. I am now faced with the responsibility of imparting my wisdom on to them.

I have to say it’s a different feeling but a great feeling when you can help inspire them with your knowledge about life.

Recently I was asked to do a speech on goal setting for 300 grade 9 kids. I’m pretty excited at the opportunity to hopefully change the way they think forever. My dream is they will one day 10 or 20 years down the road, come back to thank me for helping them build a successful happy life.

I know there will be a lot of kids that day who are lost and looking for direction. Some may be angry at the world for the misery in their life. Maybe their parents divorced. Perhaps they live in poverty, or bullied on a daily basis by their classmates.

It was 30 years ago I was one of those angry kids. To me the world absolutely sucked. I was angry with my parents, the people around me, and wished for a good life. Looking back now I wished my school would have brought it a motivational speaker to help us young kids look at life differently. It would have helped lift the dark cloud hanging over my head, sending me down a more positive path.

Gratitude is showing appreciation for all the things in our life. We often celebrate the big things but ignore the little day to day things in our lives. Since I started practicing gratitude my stress levels has decreased considerably.

For example, if you say you don’t have enough money. Take a moment to stop and look around you. It’s all relative when you think about it. There are others things you should be grateful for such as your health. Many people are suffering from cancer or a terminal disease. No amount of money can help them at this point.

When you look at it from this perspective your situation is not that bad after all. Altering the way you look at things will do wonders for your mind and allow you to feel free.

My wife the other day came into the room yesterday to tell me she was feeling sad. I asked why? She said every year just before the start of the new year she feels this way because she doesn’t feel she accomplished all her goals.

I responded by letting her know that many of the things she was disappointed about had a positive outcome. Instead of looking at every disappointment as bad, look at the opportunities that arise from it. She thought about it and instantly perked up realizing that she had more successes than she thought..

Gratitude is very powerful. It has changed my life and it can change yours if you decide to embrace it. In the past, I probably would have gotten into a “poor me” session with my wife. What good would it have done? We would have ended up with two people bitching over past events we cannot do anything about. What we can control is our thoughts and the message we send out to the universe.

To practice gratitude use a notebook and write down 3 things you are grateful for. Do this every night before you go to bed. This will free your mind and allow you to go to bed with positive feelings and thoughts.

I found when I started doing this, ideas started to flow more freely to me. I used to watch the news before retiring for the evening. As a result, my brain was filled with negative images such as war, murder, and the poor economy. In fact, I now realize overtime the accumulation of these negative images clouded my ability to think freely. No wonder so many people are walking around depressed.

Start decluttering your mind today. Practice using a gratitude journal and stick with it for at least 30 days. I guarantee this simple exercise will change your life for the better.

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