So what, then, is gratitude? Lets look at this question and why is important, and by the way, check out Episode 12 of the "You Can Make It So Podcast" for more on Gratitude.
Simply put, gratitude is a habit. It’s a way of looking at the world and all the good things in it with a feeling of appreciation, regardless of whether or not your current situation is to your liking.
Gratitude is a heart-centered approach to being at peace with yourself and with all you have.
When you practice this feeling of gratitude, it attracts even MORE things into your life for which to be grateful.
Gratitude is an excellent path to psychological well-being
Psychologists have highly researched gratitude and find it to be among the main focuses of positive psychology. Evidence suggests that people who consciously count their blessings tend to be happier and less depressed. But how?
Gratitude changes our brains. Research has found that people who tend to be more grateful have more brain activity in the medial prefrontal cortex, the area associated with learning and decision making. This brain activity persisted a month later, suggesting that gratitude has long-lasting effects.
Gratitude can overpower negative emotions. Feeling grateful boosts positive emotions like joy and compassion while encouraging us to look for and connect with what’s good in life. This helps us switch our attention from toxic emotions, such as resentment and envy.
Gratitude builds over time. A continued gratitude practice starts having long-lasting effects on mood and behavior, which can snowball over time.
Gratitude can help combat depression. A study showed that a single thoughtful appreciation leads to an immediate 10 percent increase in happiness and a 35 percent reduction in depressive symptoms. When it becomes a habit, it can help prevent anxiety and depression.
So I want to share with you 3 Simple Ways to Practice Gratitude – these are great to write down in your #Makeitso Journal – a wonderful tool I encourage you to get and to make a part of your daily habits – again see our website for how to get a copy.
3 Simple Ways to Practice Gratitude
1. Make it a ritual
Set up a time to be by yourself. It could be as little as five to 15 minutes. Just enough time for you to pause and reflect about anything and everything in your life that you are grateful for.
Do this by reflecting on daily activities, and then write down at least 5 things for which you are grateful. It can be as easy as a bullet point list. It will amaze you when you look back over your wealth of goodness, especially when you are having a bad day.
This ritual is rooted in something we teach to our Phoenix Men – the Wins, Woes and Wants…. I am going to speak on that more in our next episode and how it can be part of the Daily Fire we teach as part of our #Makeitso Journal
2. Be open to the truly amazing simple goodness in your life
The key here is to be open to even the small things in your world that make it a better place. You will be surprised at what shows up in your life. Take for instance, the smiles you exchange with family members, the water you drink, or the beautiful stroll you took in the park. Once you give yourself permission to take inventory of the (literally) hundreds of miracles that greet you daily, your energy for life can’t help but blossom. Be Open to Truly Amazing Moments
3. Spread the word
Once you have had a chance to open the door to gratitude you can amplify it by sharing the idea with others. You will acknowledge small acts of generosity that fill your life, like being grateful for your partner for taking out the garbage. When you start sharing your gratitude daily you’ll experience more acts of kindness that are being directed your way. When this happens the miracle starts to explode and you see the energy of gratitude coming back from all corners of your life.
One Habit that I have is that I commit every day to “four thank yous”! :
I write a thank you note every day to someone
I saw thank you to at least one stranger daily
I pause and say thank you to someone serving me daily – restaurant, police officer, doctor, cleaning staff
I say thank you to my God in a prayer
If you live in gratitude you become aware of moments, opportunities and you live in a state of abudance not a state of seek every day more…
Your work become not about more but service
Your family life becomes not about more but serenity
Your desire to success becomes not about accumulation but thriving
And thriving is about become who you are meant to be – without excuses
Once you start using this powerful, energizing tool, you can lift yourself from the doldrums to a place of endless enthusiasm for life and boundless joy every day
The hardest thing about tapping into this quiet secret of gratitude is just getting started. Go ahead, try it out right now. What or who do you have in your life to be thankful for?