Here’s something you might know but keep in the back of your mind… way way back there where you rarely visit:
When you spend too much time thinking about what you don’t have, you close yourself off, isn’t as open with people and miss opportunities.
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.
We talk a lot about building energy (physical and emotional), so we can get life and goals done, well, having a grateful heart, as it turns out, is the single best thing we can do to generate more energy.
Being grateful for the things and situations we have, even if they’re not perfect, make us feel more hopeful and have the energy to make what’s not perfect better
Being grateful is tuning out the critical “Not Enough” station that plays in most people’s heads and unconsciously leads to self-doubt, fears, anxieties, and worse, depression and stress.
By providing positive emotions, like contentment and joy, gratitude helps to drive out bitchiness, fear and lack, which we can all do without don’t we?
Try feeling bad when you’re grateful. You can’t. Ha!
Gratitude changes your luck
This lucky more hopeful spirit makes us more proactive and productive. But, we first need to acknowledge what we have, not just think positive…
That’s where having a practice comes in. Without a practice, it’s easy to forget and go back to our old thought process. Without a gratitude practice, we may forget that we’re part of a great big universe and that the little things we get hung up on, are 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.
Gratitude has been found to help us live in the moment more and improve our mental 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 going wrong in your life, you might question the value of your practice.
The practice doesn’t eliminate bad experiences and bad feelings. It makes it easier to deal with them. Stressful situations and days are part of everyone’s life, but those who ride the wave calmly, make their journeys easier.
How to start your practice
There’s an app for that
Entrepreneur, health coach and model Miranda Kerr use the Gratitude Journal app every day, and I’m sure you can find other apps if technological assist is something you like, or if for you, that is an easy place for you to start.
If you suffer from anxiety or have sleep problems, you may NOT want to use an app. The low-tech approach of writing (journaling) or gratitude meditation will be more beneficial for you.
A great time to schedule your practice is right before you go to bed. Just don’t wait until you’re SO tired and ready to pass out to do it. You should have enough presence for your practice to be effective.
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 for it.
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 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 necessarily help you become fearless, but it will help you fear less.
- More social
- More friendships
- Deeper relationships
- Healthier marriage
- More good feelings
- More relaxed
- More resilient
- Less Envious
- Happier memories
- Less materialistic
- Less self-centered
- More optimistic
- Increased self-esteem
- More spiritual
- Better management
- Improved networking
- Improved decision-making
- Increased productivity
- Goal achievement