Count Your Blessings
Scientific research indicates that gratitude has a lasting effect on your resilience to face new challenges. It also lowers blood pressure, boosts immune responses, and lessens anxiety and depression. A practice of gratitude promotes a feeling of well-being.
If you practice gratitude, you will experience more optimism, happiness and joy.
Practicing gratitude will change your life.
To develop a practice of gratitude you must first bring your attention to the blessings in your life. It helps to use a focusing technique such as mindfulness meditation, HeartMath’s heart-focused breathing, contemplation of the natural world, or prayer.
Next, it is helpful to write your blessings in a journal or notebook. Writing facilitates integration. It also enables you to create meaning by identifying every day experiences as accumulated blessings. Lastly, you should repeat the practice of attention and writing at a set frequency.
Ritual: Create a Blessing Tree
A blessing tree can be created inside your home or out in nature.
Find a tree that is accessible in height so that you can easily attach your blessing ornaments to limbs at various heights.
Observe that your tree has 3 sections.
First, there are the roots underground, unseen providers of balance and nutrition. Second, there is the trunk, the spine of the tree providing stability and communication. Lastly, the branches are the platform for creation of leaves, flowers, fruits and seeds.
From your gratitude journal, gather up 30 blessings that are most important in your life at this moment. Decide whether each blessing is a root, a trunk or a limb. Find an object or an ornament to represent each blessing.
Root blessings are foundational, the gifts that you had when you were born. They might be represented by stones, crystals, seed pods that can be placed around the base of the tree.
Trunk blessings are strong and come from your connections to others and world around you. You might use ribbons, yarns or objects that can be attached to the bark of the tree.
Limb blessings are the gifts that you send out into the world or the gifts others send to you. String, yarn, trimming, decorative ornaments serve as good representations of your limb blessings.
Once your tree is fully decorated, spend time with your tree. Find a way to share your blessings energetically with others with intention, song or prayer.