How To Harness Gratitude As A Powerful Life Force
When things are messed up in our lives, that is when we need gratitude the most. It sets the stage for creating calmness and helping us focus. Of all the things that fuel your life, the force of gratitude is one of the most powerful. Consider gratitude a lifestyle choice. A choice to be thankful, regardless of your circumstances, and in doing so, you will start to benefit immediately in a more positive mental and physical state. Gratitude is what lowers your blood pressure, eases your depression and helps you sleep soundly at night. It gives you resiliency to deal with the challenges of life.
Mentally, it keeps you motivated and happier. You see the parts of your life that are good and sustaining, and refrain from continual focus on the negative and depleting. The problem is that it is easy to be grateful when you are experiencing abundance and prosperity. You can easily find it in your heart to spread your good spirit around. But when your spirit is challenged, and things are going wrong in all directions, it is immensely difficult to open up your heart and feel grateful.
But that is when you most need to do that. You need to look up and feel the warm sun on your face and be grateful. You need to see the smile on a child’s face and feel thankful for the experience. You need to remember all the love in your life and know that if you let it, it will sustain you. Expressions of gratitude bring with them a sense of calmness and renewed focus. We are reminded that our world is a good place and we can find our way in it.
Here are six ways to harness gratitude and uses its forcefulness to power you on the road to awesomeness:
- Keep a gratitude journal. I had a client once who told me that at 3 p.m. every day, no matter where he is, he makes a note in his electronic diary of something he feels grateful for at precisely that moment. Not only does it give him fresh fuel for the rest of the day, but taken over a 365-day period, it gave him incredible insight into what inspires him throughout the course of a year. Still others prefer to keep a more traditional pen and notebook journal and start their mornings or end their evenings with little notations of what prompted them to be thankful within the last 24 hours. Journaling makes you even more conscious of gratitude and helps you to see opportunities to practice it throughout your days
- Engage in moments of mindfulness using prayer and meditation. For me this is a preferred way to get in touch with the force of gratitude in my own life. A quiet minute of contemplation and prayer in the midst of chaos allows me to reset my thankfulness clock and remember all the blessings I have received in my life. I can find these moments in a crowded airport as I set off on another speaking engagement, or in the elevator on my way up to visit a client. I don’t need to be sitting cross-legged on a rug or even close my eyes. I just need to open up my mind and think quietly for a few minutes and the good thoughts of gratitude fill my head and change my heart. I emerge for the next challenge with a happier expectation and fresh energy.
- Write a letter or e-mail of thanks. It only takes 30 seconds to tell someone special that they are amazing, to praise a client for an extraordinary outcome, or to let someone in your life know you are grateful for their presence. In the process, you will lift their spirits and your own. We don’t do that nearly enough, and yet this small gesture can compound your feelings of gratitude immensely.
- Draw those things for which you are grateful. This is a wonderful way to teach the youngsters in your life the joys of gratitude. When you stop off at the frozen yogurt shop, make sure you have pens for everyone. Have them draw two things on their napkin that they are grateful for in the midst of their fun adventure. It is absolutely charming what they come up with and how they capture the real spirit of the exercise.
- Consult your gratitude photo journal. I keep three treasured photos where they can be easily accessed on my iPhone and when I need a quick fix from the force of gratitude, I look at them and am reminded of all that I have to be so thankful of in my life. Sometimes we know in our hearts that there is a reason for an attitude of gratitude, but in the chaos of the day we forget and we start to feel self-pity or a sense of being overwhelmed. A visual reminder of our blessings is the trigger we need to get back on track.
- Just say thank-you. I read once of a person who was trying to develop a more grateful attitude. He decided to make it a measurable smart goal, so he set himself a target of just saying: “Thank-you, I am grateful for your efforts,” at least 10 times a day. He didn’t confine himself to his home or office, but rather used his remark in every place from his morning coffee shop to his evening bus ride. Before long he noticed how much nicer people were to him as he about his daily routines. He also realized how much better he felt, because instead of succumbing to things to criticize, he had to consciously look for ways to use up his 10 “thank-yous” in a different way every day. Try it. It is really quite a fascinating game to play. When you start it seems easy, but when you have used up the people you normally interact with daily, it gets increasingly challenging.
Paula Morand, CSP is a leadership building, revenue boosting, strategy expanding keynote speaker, author and visionary. This dreaming big and being bold expert brings her vibrant energy, humor and wisdom to ignite individuals, organizations and communities to lead change, growth and bold impact. 23 years, 25,000 clients, 19 countries, 11 books, former radio personality, 10x award winning entrepreneur and humorous emcee.
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