Monday Motivation - April 30, 2018



Good Morning! I hope you had a GREAT weekend. I hope you were able to find time to enjoy some activities that give you joy.

Last week I wrote about stress and shared some practices you could consider establishing in your life to help alleviate it. One of the suggestions was to cultivate a gratitude practice in your life. So, this week I want to focus on gratitude and how incorporating this practice in your life can have a profound impact. While it may seem too good to be true, the research clearly demonstrates that you would be happier if you cultivated an “attitude of gratitude”. In fact, there is scientific evidence that practicing gratitude can change your life and change your brain.

What is gratitude? It is a thankful appreciation for what you receive whether tangible or intangible. It is acknowledging the goodness in your life and focusing on the source of that goodness. Instead of lamenting over what you do not have and searching for the next thing that will bring fulfillment, happiness or satisfaction; gratitude will help you focus on and appreciate what you have. Practicing gratitude also helps you connect with something larger than yourself.

If you make the choice to be present, take notice and take the time to be grateful, you will undoubtedly find things for which you can be thankful. You can be grateful for things like, “I am thankful for this new day of life”, “I am thankful that the trees are blooming”, “I am thankful for the fresh spring air and warmth of the sun etc.” If practicing gratitude does not come naturally to you; do not dismay. Research shows that paying attention to the positives in your life can train you to see more of them.

Gratitude does not cost you anything; you can access it every day; it is simple and easy to do, and it can benefit you greatly. Developing an “attitude of gratitude” is a very simple way to increase satisfaction in your life.

In an article on leadership in Forbes, Amy Morin, shares 7 scientifically proven benefits of practicing gratitude in your life:

  1. Gratitude opens the door to more relationships. Showing appreciation can help you win new friends and solidify current relationships.

  2. Gratitude improves physical health. Studies show that grateful people experience fewer aches and pains and report feeling healthier than other people.

  3. Gratitude improves psychological health. Multiple studies show a link between gratitude and well-being, increased happiness and reduced depression.

  4. Gratitude enhances empathy and reduces aggression. Studies show that grateful people experience more sensitivity and empathy toward other people and a decreased desire to seek revenge.

  5. Grateful people sleep better. Studies show that spending 15 minutes writing in a gratitude journal before bed improves sleep quality and quantity.

  6. Gratitude improves self-esteem. Gratitude reduces social comparisons. Grateful people appreciate other people’s accomplishments.

  7. Gratitude increases mental strength. Studies show that practicing gratitude is a major contributor to increasing resiliency.

So, if you are interested in reducing stress, feeling more content, increasing feelings of happiness, satisfaction and well-being in your life, improving your health, sleep, and decision making, etc. just to name a few; here are some practices you can implement to begin or boost your gratitude practice:

  1. Write a thank you note. Express your appreciation of that person and their impact on your life. You can send it or deliver it in person. Make a habit of sending one gratitude thank you each month. Every now and then; send one to yourself.

  2. Thank someone mentally. It may help just to think about someone who has done something nice for you and mentally thank the individual.

  3. Keep a gratitude journal. Make it a habit to write down daily the things for which you are grateful. Make it a practice to share one of your thoughts with a loved one.

  4. Count your blessings. Schedule time to sit down once a week and write about your blessings. Reflect on what went right. Pick a number (say 3 to 5) blessings that you want to identify each week. When you are doing this, be present, aware of your emotions and the sensations those emotions bring when something good happened to you.

  5. Create a gratitude jar. Once a day (at a minimum) write something you are grateful for on a slip of paper and place in the gratitude jar. At the end of each week/month pull out each slip of paper and reflect on the positive experiences in your life.

  6. Don’t get mad; be grateful. If someone irritates you, bite your tongue; don’t react in anger. Instead, take some deep breaths, calm down and think of reasons you are grateful for that individual.

By no means am I suggesting that gratitude is a “cure-all tool” for everything that ails you, but it is one of the tools that is very underutilized for improving life satisfaction and happiness. So, begin today cultivating an “attitude of gratitude.” It is my hope that you found at least one nugget of information within that you can use to help you begin or boost your gratitude practice.

This week connect more to yourself, to others, and to the world around you. See your life and experiences through the eyes of gratitude and experience the fullness of your life and the gifts you are receiving every moment.

I am grateful that you have chosen to give me the gift of your precious time in reading this article. Thank you so much. Have a GREAT week!

Take Care.

#mondaymotivation #gratitude #destress #happiness #beingpresent #grateful #selfappreciation #givethanks

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