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  • Writer's pictureErika Sardinha

Healing in the Present Moment: Gratitude (and how to practice it)

When I started my healing journey, I was so focused on forgetting about the past and creating a new future that I was completely missing out on the wonders of living in the present moment. I felt constantly torn between the pain of the past and the anxious hope for the future. Then one day, I stopped myself and asked: "What the hell am I doing?". Am I living life if I spend half of the day fighting ghosts and another half daydreaming? My body and soul answered with a big No-no.

I am a great student of life, so I immediately started digging and learning how to live in the present moment. Most of it I've learned from my favorite personal growth book, "The Power of Now" by Eckhart Tolle, then the yoga philosophy and meditation just kept adding to it. Now, I'm not perfect at it, I'm still a proud human, but it is way easier to 'bring myself back online' nowadays. Interestingly enough, I discovered in this journey that living in the present moment was healing, more healing than keep going back to the past, looking for answers that only the present can answer.

I mean, I'm up to talk about the past and feel whatever you need to feel, but there comes a time when you have to leave the past behind, and living in the present moment gives you a healthy place to go: The now. So, how do we access this place?

There are several ways, but today I want to talk about gratitude and how to practice it.

Gratitude is one of the best ways I know to bring yourself back to the present moment. When you sit down and think about the things you are grateful for, you realize that there is plenty, even if you are nowhere near achieving your life goals. Gratitude shows you that you already have everything you need because it is from this place (the now) that you will get all you want.

When you are grateful, you feel thankful for all you have in the present moment, and the past fades away as the reality of today takes over. That is the beauty of gratitude.

This beautiful practice is also a perspective changer. When you are in gratitude, everything gets put in a different perspective. How many times have you spent an entire day focusing on what you don't have, on what you lack? Well, gratitude helps you see what you have, blurring everything else for a moment.

What is more real? What you have, or what you have not? I'll let your heart answer that question.

Gratitude helps you see the good in life. It gives you proof of all the good things surrounding you right now. And for someone who has been through trauma, it is crucial to bring ourselves to the present moment, where hopefully, we are safe.

I could go on and on about the benefits of gratitude, but I prefer to give you practical advice on how to practice it, so you can start bettering your life today. Below you will find five tips to practice gratitude, starting today.

  1. Journaling

Journaling is one of my favorite personal development tools, and I use it to work on any personal growth or healing matter. You can have a daily gratitude journal to take notes of all the things you are grateful for, for the day. If you haven't already, click here to download my 21 days to Presence Workbook, it contains a printable journal!

You can also create a gratitude calendar where every day you write one thing you are thankful for. Imagine, at the end of the month, you will have a sheet full of gratitude moments!

2. Gratitude before falling asleep

I love this one. It is simple, effective and it helps you sleep well. Tonight, when you go to bed, mentally or out loud, go through everything positive that happened to you today and say thank you. That's it. Keep repeating it every night, and you will see yourself tapping into gratitude more often.

3. Say thank you

Another way to tap into gratitude is to say "thank you." Say thank you more often, not only to people but for what you have. Have you got food on your table? Say thank you before you eat. Have you got money to pay for something you need? Be grateful. It will help you become more present, plus you will attract more abundance.

4. Express gratitude

Have you told the people you love how much you appreciate them? It is time to do so. Expressing your gratitude will do wonders to your soul and the people around you. Leave thank you notes, share with your friends the love and appreciation you feel for them, be vocal about it. Sometimes it's easy to forget how much love you have around you, right? If you express your gratitude to other people, you will remind yourself and others of that love.

5. Appreciate the little things

If you practice the tips above, you will see that your heart and soul will open to the value of little things. Appreciating the little things, in reality, is not difficult. It's a matter of being able to de-clutter our minds and focus on what is important. We all know by now that the little things eventually become the big things. That's what everybody talks about when they get old(er) or even on their deathbeds. Even though death is saddening, for me, it's a motivation to do better, to live life now and enjoy the details, the simple things, the so-called little things.

And if you are reading me, if you got to me, you probably already had a fair share of pain, and it is now time to move on. Gratitude is the place to start. Be grateful for what you have now, for what you have achieved so far, for being able to survive.

Be thankful for who you are in this moment and heal from this place.

Thank you for reading me today.

Love and light,



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