Here’s something for you to think about:
When we spend too much time thinking about what we don’t have, we miss those doors and windows of opportunity that come our way every day.
As you’re out in the world walking around looking burdened, and as you lay holed up in your cubicle trying to do the bare minimum (because “these mofos ain’t paying you enough!”), consider that the energy you’re sending out, could be costing you a contact, a potential relationship or a promotion.
I talk a lot about building energy (physical and emotional) and the importance of practicing good emotional hygiene. Having a grateful heart is the single best and simplest thing you can do to generate more energy.
Being grateful for the things and situations we have, even when not ideal, doesn’t mean we can’t work for and aspire to better situations. The energy we get from practicing gratitude will help to better our situations as we attract more opportunities with our good vibes.
By providing positive emotions, like contentment and joy, gratitude helps to drive out bitchiness, fear and lack. And you really don’t need those, do you? Try feeling bad when you’re grateful. You can’t!
Why have a gratitude practice?
Gratitude can change your luck, make you more proactive, and it can transform your life, but you need to practice, not just think positive. Without a practice, it’s easy to forget and pretty soon, we’re back to our old thought process. Without a gratitude practice, we may forget that we’re part of a great big universe and the little things we get hung up on, are just not that important in the big scheme of things.
Scientifically proven benefits:
In two studies with 243 total participants, those who were 10% more grateful than average had 17.5% more social capital. It will help you live more in the moment and improve your mental health and emotional health.
Your practice won’t always feel “right”
Some people report that when they first started their practice, it felt weird and inauthentic; not quite them! By sticking to it though and making it their own, they were able to minimize or eliminate a variety of complaints such as anxiety and insomnia. And when everything is just going wrong, you might question the value in your practice. That’s natural.
I do it as part of my bedtime routine: I do a 5-minute gratitude meditation and when I have the time, follow it with reading. It’s one of my favorite ways to end the day. Instead of focusing on what didn’t go right with my day, I think more on what did and feel better about myself.
There’s an app for that! Entrepreneur, health coach and model Miranda Kerr uses the Gratitude Journal app everyday, and I’m sure you can find others if that’s your preference.
If you suffer from anxiety or have sleep problems, you many NOT want to use an app but use the low-tech approach instead, that is, writing it down (journaling) or meditating. It’s a great practice for right before you go to sleep. Just don’t wake until you’re SO tired that you’re not going to be present for it.
To test drive a gratitude practice, take Vurb’s Gratitude Challenge
And let me leave you with a few of my favorite quotes on gratitude:
Gratitude is the recognition that life owes me nothing and all the good I have is a gift. ― Robert A. Emmons
Opportunities, relationships, even money flowed my way when I learned to be grateful no matter what happened in my life. — Oprah Winfrey
Often people ask how I manage to be happy despite having no arms and no legs. The quick answer is that I have a choice. I can be angry about not having limbs, or I can be thankful that I have a purpose. I chose gratitude. ― Nick Vujicic
Every day, I like to wake up and remind myself to be grateful of the simple things. — Miranda Kerr
Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings. ― William Arthur Ward
In ordinary life, we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich. ― Dietrich Bonhoeffe
Learn to be thankful for what you already have, while you pursue all that you want.” — Jim Rohn
One last note
While practicing gratitude is highly beneficial, pretending you’re not hurting when you are, isn’t. There’s a difference between making a big deal about normal and manageable situations and ignoring important feelings, gut instincts and the need to change or speak up for ourselves.
Practices like gratitude will help you develop the emotional energy to stay clear and present during stressful times. It won’t help you become fearless, but it will help you fear less.