With Thanksgiving approaching, the word "gratitude" becomes a buzzword, and everyone begins to reflect on what they are grateful for this year.
What if I were to tell you that gratitude is a daily practice?
With Rhonda Byrne’s “The Secret” becoming a global phenomenon, many people have become acquainted with the concept of gratitude. But why practice gratitude? And what is practicing gratitude all about?
In this blog series, I'll talk about 'Gratitude as a Practice,' followed by 'Action Boards,' which are not to be confused with the ever-popular vision boards!
When Arianna Huffington, Tony Robbins, and Oprah Winfrey all use gratitude as a strategy for success, both personally and professionally, you know there must be science behind it.
So why is gratitude such a powerful tool?
Throughout history, scholars, scientists, and spiritual leaders have consciously deliberated gratitude, with some scientific validations for the benefits of practicing it.
A continuous gratitude practice will:
Develop humility, wisdom, and patience
Improve your physical and mental health
Reduce the likelihood of burnout
Promote better sleep
Encourage a positive outlook on life
Help organize your thoughts
Wouldn't it be wonderful to become your best self – a goal that, sadly, only you are capable of accomplishing?
It's not about trying to attract more good into your life, though having good things in your life isn't all that bad either, because ‘like attracts like’! So, if you are grateful for something, it is possible to attract more of it!
Being grateful has the unintended consequence of focusing on things that are meaningful and important, giving them power over the thoughts and situations that irk you. A shift in focus corresponds to a shift in attitude and perspective, which reduces anxiety, burnout, and other toxic and negative emotions.
Practicing gratitude trains your brain – Yes, it trains your brain to recognize things to be grateful for. This change may not be noticeable right away; but over time, you will notice that your entire personality and outlook on life has changed.
A gratitude ritual
Oprah is a strong believer in the power and sheer pleasure that comes from practicing gratitude. She has been doing this for over a decade and has developed her own ritual around it.
You will need:
Consistency – The more you practice, the better you will get and the more noticeable the change will be.
Time – Choose a quiet moment in your day; some people find it relaxing to think of things they are grateful for early in the morning or at the end of the day.
Write it (type it) – There is power in written words – you can think, "Yeah, you're grateful for..." but writing or typing it out gives it true power, possibly due to the deliberation that goes into writing it down.
A journal or digital journal – I use OneNote, which I can access on the go, which is convenient because I never know when I will be inspired to feel grateful. A physical journal can also be kept at your bedside table, breakfast nook, or workstation. You're looking for ease and comfort. It should not be difficult or time-consuming to complete.
Begin by writing down five things you are grateful for each day. It could be a thing, a person, a scenario, an outcome, or simply the fact that you are breathing. Write down how grateful you are for the tree outside your window. When Oprah finds it difficult to focus on anything pleasant that day, she concentrates on her breath. Then it's 'breathe' five times – and we've all been there before. Simply put, don't give up.
Start your sentences with…
I am thankful for…
I am grateful for…
I am thankful and grateful for…
I am joyful for…
Taking it across to work:
Unless you work from home, you spend more time interacting with your coworkers than you do with your family. It becomes critical to create a healthy working environment. While you may not be able to practice 'gratitude journaling' at work, you can express yourself about what colleagues did and situations that arose.
Being specific creates meaningful appreciation and engagement among your coworkers, motivating them to do more (“like attracts like”)! It's also a great way to improve your leadership skills by encouraging communication, a feedback and growth culture, as well as a recognition and perhaps even rewards culture, such as the one we have at Assistants4Hire, where we recognize and award the "Badass Assistant of the Week."
Try it with your family:
Sure, you're grateful for your family, but actually communicating your gratitude contributes to a truly wonderful family dynamic. Your child folds the laundry, "I am grateful for your assistance," while your spouse does the dishes, "I am grateful for the responsibility you take on to keep the home neat and tidy." If you need more assistance, remember that like attracts like, so the more gratitude you express, the more assistance you can expect.
Give more to receive more... Gratefulness bridges the gap between what you have and what you want! Harvest your success by cultivating gratitude!
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Written by Tatum De Souza