As a life and business coach, I’ve found that a regular gratitude practice is possibly the single most transformational source of energy for attracting your best life and clearing the way for all possibility. In fact, it has been said that the most powerful prayer is only two words, "Thank you."

According to experts who study the art of happiness, health and overall life mastery, the "Attitude of Gratitude" is one of the highest emotional states possible – a state of mind that brings in abundance, both personally AND professionally.

Behavioral experts say that the practice of gratitude is one of the strongest medicines we can take to help build an immune system bombarded with stress and uncertainty.

Gratitude can:

• Soften the body’s biochemistry, releasing Seratonin.

• Ease us out of the rushing flow of adrenaline in our system so that our bodies can find alignment and balance.

• Make us heal faster. Studies show that grateful people heal faster; they are able to eliminate harmful behaviors from their lives with greater ease; and they are happier.

The point of power is in the present. The energy of gratitude also allows us to be more "present." Learning to go into the "now" can liberate us from our past and future worries. It can transform our thinking.

The result? More joy, freedom and inner peace right NOW. Through a conscious practice of gratitude, we can learn how to free ourselves from the dominance of racing mind and live in the present. That’s what the present is – a present! The point of power is in the present moment – and gratitude brings us there!

Replace resentment with gratitude. Resentment and gratitude are contagious, so consciously decide which you’d rather spread. When we feel grateful, we interact with other people from our fullness; they feel appreciated and are attracted by our energy. Resentment, bitterness and being in "victim-mode" tend to repel people, and we experience less support from others.

Think about it. The more grateful people are for the gifts we give them, the more inclined we are to give them more gifts. Their gratitude and appreciation reinforces our giving. The same principle holds true on a universal and spiritual level as it does on an interpersonal level.

With an attitude of gratitude, we are appreciating what we do instead of focusing on what we don’t have. And, because the law of attraction states that like attracts like, the more we are in a state of gratitude, the more we will attract things to be grateful for. Each thought of gratitude is a magnet…an energy spark to the universe.

The conscious practice of gratitude puts us in a state of "allowing," which is a highly vibrational state that shepherds (attracts) in more good. Every aspect of our lives grows richer as we give thanks for what we have. As a result, we have more to give others and the cycle continues upward.

According to Melody Beattie, there is no direct line to happiness; only gratitude will get us there. She says: "Love creates forgiveness. Forgiveness creates acceptance. Acceptance creates gratitude. Gratitude creates happiness."

Start a gratitude practice. Some ideas to consider are:

• Use the words "Thank You," throughout each day.

• Start your day with a prayer and a clear intention of being more grateful.

• Practice present-moment awareness. When talking to a friend, try not to think about other things, like making dinner or your to-do lists. When you are playing with your kids, for example, watch their expressions. Feel their love.

• Write "thank you" notes to friends, family members or co-workers.

• Do one (or more) random act of kindness to a stranger each day.

• Keep a gratitude journal. List 10 (or more) things you’re grateful for in your journal each day. Focus on people, situations or events.

• Take someone out of lunch or dinner as a gesture of gratitude. Buy someone coffee.

• Practice "beauty appreciation." While on a walk or driving, look for the beauty around you. Allow yourself to absorb and connect with that beauty.

• Establish a regular prayer or meditation practice.

• Make time for yoga, tai-chi or other "mind-body" practices.

• Keep a "gratitude rock" in your pocket as a reminder of the magic of life.

A gratitude practice can really open up our heart and make us aware of the many riches we’ve already created in our life that might be taken for granted. This practice increases our realization of prosperity and abundance on every level, and thus our ability to manifest a better life and more happiness.

As Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, "It is only with gratitude that life becomes rich!"

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