Cultivate an attitude of gratitude and lead a more enriching life

Throughout the first half of 2013, Healthy Living Made Simple will be partnering with the
Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) to explore a variety of paths to living the fullest life possible. For this issue, we were inspired by several lessons from Oprah’s Life class, a series on OWN. But one lesson from Oprah and her guest Deepak Chopra, a world-renowned expert on mind, body and spiritual wellness, resonated above all others: One of the most powerful life-shifting tools available is gratitude.

How can you make your life happier, healthier and more fulfilling? Oprah’s Lifeclass is exploring the answer to this question. After 25 seasons of The Oprah Winfrey Show, the media icon felt there were important lessons she could look back on and share. I always knew there was a calling in my life that was bigger than a television show that my purpose was not just being on TV but using TV for a greater purpose, Oprah explains. My goal for Oprah’s Life class was to gather the most helpful and life shifting lessons and insights from the thousands of interviews I’ve done and to share them. I wanted people to hear teachings from our great thought leaders, to see how telling your truth will set you free and to discover how something magical can happen when you least expect it.

By sharing these insights, Oprah wants to inspire viewers to see themselves, connect with themselves and own themselves more fully. Whether its finding strength in a tough situation, changing an outlook or gaining clarity on ones own life’s purpose, the series has a message for everyone. It is my greatest hope that everybody who experiences these lessons starts to understand even if its just a glimpse that there is a greater power guiding the universe, she says. When you tap into it, you have that power. And it is your real responsibility in life nobody else’s to change your life and make it better.

Living a grateful life

The single greatest thing you can do to change your life today is to start being grateful for what you have right now. No gesture is too small when done with gratitude, Oprah says. Gratitude can be practiced no matter what is going on in life, and everyone has something to be grateful for. By concentrating on whats good and giving it your energy, you attract abundance. But if you focus on whats lacking: money, time, resources you will never have enough.

Gratitude opens the door to abundance consciousness because it gets you to the source, which is the source of all things, says Deepak Chopra, world-renowned mind-body healing pioneer, author of more than 65 books and co-founder of the Chopra Foundation. The power, the wisdom, the creativity of the universe? You open the door to all that through gratitude.

Chopra has been a guest on Oprah’s Life class twice, speaking about topics like
consciousness, mindfulness and accomplishing your life’s purpose. A medical doctor who taught at Tufts University, Boston University and Harvard University, Chopra founded the Chopra Center to help others reach a state of peace, health and well-being. Many of his teachings and meditations focus on cultivating gratitude, which he says can impact more than emotions, it can benefit physical health, too. In fact, scientific studies have shown that people who have a grateful outlook on life get sick less often, exercise more, sleep better and have more energy.

Both Oprah and Chopra believe that life can get better, and the first step is becoming grateful. Luckily, living a grateful life is just a few thoughtful moments away. How to become grateful:

If you want to lead a life of gratitude, try these tips from Oprah and the Chopra Center:

Write it down. Sixteen years ago, I started a gratitude journal, Oprah says. I have to say it is the single most important thing I’ve ever done. So, every day for years now, I’ve written down five things to be grateful for because there’s power in the words even simple things like fresh flowers or somebody holding the door open for me. Writing moments of gratitude down helps you focus on the good in your life, rather than what you don’t have and, in turn, makes life brighter and more fulfilling.

Take a gratitude walk. Set aside 20 minutes (or longer if you can) and walk in your neighborhood, through a park, around your office or somewhere in nature, advises the Chopra Center. Pay attention to your senses everything you’re seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling and maybe even tasting and see how many things you can find to feel grateful for. Doing so can improve your mood and make you open to the abundance around you.

Be intentional. If you wake up in the morning and consciously look for things to be thankful for, you’re more alive and receptive to the goodness that comes in your life, Oprah explains. When you allow yourself to feel gratitude in the present moment, in the now, what I promise you is that the spiritual dimension of your life begins to change. It opens up. It expands. And you just grow with it.

Visit oprah.com for more information about Oprah’s Life class, including weekly questions, life tools, live tapings of episodes and show times.