Gratitude plays an essential role in love, joy, and overall wellbeing. When you’re able to cultivate gratitude in your mind and heart, your entire world feels more alive, connected, and magical.
In Qi Gong, we seek to direct our attention to thoughts and energies that give us strength. Of all the feelings we can experience, none is more important than that of gratitude.
For this reason, many Qi Gong practices focus on cultivating an appreciation for all that life has to offer. Some exercises focus on our inward gratitude, helping us connect to self-love and self-appreciation. Other exercises help us expand our awareness to recognize and appreciate all of the wonderful opportunities that exist in the world around us.
While Qi Gong practices offer amazing tools for cultivating gratitude, it is by no means the only way. In fact, many of the principles from Lee’s Qi Gong lessons can easily be applied in everyday life. This allows you to continually work with your energy in order to experience more love, joy, and gratitude wherever you are.
This article will discuss the nature of gratitude from a Qi Gong perspective as well as ten simple ways to cultivate gratitude in everyday life.
How to Cultivate Gratitude
Before diving into specific ways to cultivate gratitude, let’s start with a basic question: Where does gratitude come from?
In Qi Gong, gratitude is viewed as a natural outcome of connecting with all of the positive elements that life has to offer. In other words, when you direct your attention to things that give you nourishment, you experience a deep sense of appreciation within your body and mind.
But sometimes, directing your attention to life’s gifts is easier said than done…
The human mind has a tendency to look for threats. We are hardwired to pay attention to anything that could harm our wellbeing or safety. Although paying attention to threats certainly has its place, we generally pay too much attention to threats, or overemphasize their actual harm.
To cultivate gratitude, it’s important to redirect the mind away from stress and to the gifts already in front of us instead. Just like plants need water to grow, seeds of gratitude require constant attention. This makes it easier to access joy and gratitude in your daily life. You’ll notice that all of these strategies involve working with your attention in constructive ways.
10 Simple Ways to Cultivate Gratitude in Everyday Life Using Qi Gong Principles
1. Recall Positive Memories
Many of us spend a significant amount of time thinking about the positive experiences we want to create in the future. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s important to always cherish the experiences we’ve already been blessed with.
Each of us have had the privilege of enjoying many wonderful experiences in our lives. Try to view each of these as a precious gift that you’ve been given! Spend a few minutes imagining in vivid detail all of the joyful moments each experience holds. This will help you channel that joy into the present moment, which will bring gratitude. You can choose to recall a distant memory from your past, or a recent memory from your previous day.
When each positive memory is viewed as a source of joy, you suddenly realize that you already have an abundance of gifts within your memory bank. Don’t dwell on the past, but do take time to appreciate it.
2. Think to the Future
Just as recalling the past can bring gratitude, so can imagining the future.
Spend a few minutes each day envisioning the experiences you want to create. Acknowledge all of the possibilities that life has to offer, and imagine yourself moving with confidence in the right direction. Not only will this help you connect to gratitude, but it will also help you establish greater clarity and purpose in your life. Be careful not to dwell in the future, but instead, use the possibilities of the future as a source of inspiration and appreciation.
3. Smile to Your Heart
Most of us tell our loved ones that we love them. When we encounter strangers, we often send them a signal of goodwill through a smile.
It’s easy to understand the benefits of expressing appreciation for others. However, most of us forget to communicate our appreciation for ourselves.
One of the best ways to cultivate gratitude is to close your eyes and turn your attention inward. Recognize that your body is a miraculous gift that you’ve been given. When you truly feel that, it’s impossible to not feel intense love and appreciation for yourself. Bring that realization to the forefront of your mind, and smile to your heart center, and send yourself love and appreciation!
4. Focus On Your Breath
Another way to bring your attention to the miracle of your life is to focus on your breath. Pay attention to each inhale and exhale. Remind yourself that each breath is a reflection of the life-force energy that is alive within you.
Paying attention to your breath can also help you become more centered in the present moment. When your mind is present, it’s easier to feel gratitude for everything beautiful in existence, not just within yourself. This exercise can be combined with smiling to yourself to multiply the gratitude you experience.
5. Look for the Lessons in Adversity
Adversity is an inevitable part of life. It’s also a part of life that can often pull us away from gratitude.
When adversity occurs, try to look for any ‘silver lining’ the situation might offer. Are there any unexpected lessons that could help in the future? What about new opportunities that this challenge presents? Finding even one or two positive things about an adverse situation can really help you keep the gratitude flowing.
6. Be Grateful for Self Awareness
There are moments when we all get frustrated with ourselves. Sometimes, making a mistake causes us to feel irritated or disappointed. Other times, we can feel resentment toward ourselves when a character flaw presents itself. Just like adversity, these situations can tempt us to forget about gratitude.
The wonderful thing about realizing our imperfections is exactly that — they are things that we are realizing. Even if we’re not perfect (no one is), we can still be grateful that we realize we are not perfect. When we have the self-awareness to recognize our imperfections or weaknesses, we have the opportunity to grow. Therefore, it’s not hard to realize that self-awareness is a wonderful gift that we can feel immense gratitude for.
7. Think of Challenges You’ve Overcome
We have all overcome challenges in our lives. After adversity, it can be easy to focus on the unpleasant aspects of the experience. However, there’s another way to look at the situation that leads to greater self-empowerment and gratitude.
After a challenging experience, try to appreciate the skillful and resilient ways in which you navigated the situation. This shouldn’t be an indulgence in ego-stroking, but rather, a practice of being grateful for having the qualities to overcome the challenge.
If you feel that there are areas in which you could have done better, try integrating #6 to cultivate an appreciation for that self-awareness. 🙂
8. Take Time to Pause and Appreciate Simple Pleasures
Most of us live busy lives. As such, it can be easy to overlook all of the beauty that exists all around us.
During your day, set a reminder to pause for a few minutes and soak up all of the tiny details that make the moment special. If you’re working on your computer, turn your eyes away from the screen and look out the window. Notice the sun, the trees, the birds, a butterfly, or any other natural features in the environment around you. When you truly and fully direct your attention to such details, it’s easy to feel appreciation.
9. Pay Attention to Acts of Kindness
The world is full of many things, including kind people. If you happen to be the recipient of a kind deed, take a moment to cherish that feeling and feel gratitude for it.
Similarly, look for opportunities to share acts of kindness with others. They can be as simple as holding a door open for a stranger, or much more significant if you feel so compelled. Whether you receive or give an act of kindness, it’s an opportunity to experience gratitude for others.
10. Reflect on Those You Care About
When you have wonderful people in your life, it’s important to continually remember what an amazing gift that is. Therefore, spend some time each day connecting with the feeling of appreciation you have for them.
Gratitude meditations are a wonderful way to bring relationship gratitude to the forefront of your mind. You can do this in just a few minutes by closing your eyes and recalling some loving memories. Not only does cultivating such gratitude feel good to you, but it also makes it easier to consistently show up with love and appreciation and will make your loved ones feel great.
If you’re interested in learning powerful Qi Gong practices to help you cultivate gratitude each day, be sure to check out Lee Holden’s free two-week Qi Gong trial.
When you sign up for the two-week Qi Gong trial, you’ll gain immediate access five unique Qi Gong classes that you can enjoy from the comfort of your own home. Click on the banner below to learn more about all of the nourishing benefits of Qi Gong and start practicing today.