Maybe you've heard this, maybe you haven't...
Gratitude can shift your whole day. The research on gratitude has been rolling into the mainstream for years. A quick search on your favorite search engine for "gratitude research" will yield numerous articles about the benefits of being grateful.
If you don't have time to read all those articles, here's a quickie highlight reel:
1. Gratitude activates that neural pathway that makes us feel happy.
2. You can benefit quickly by starting now and it works even if you keep it short & simple. Example: I feel grateful for my______ (friend, parent, child, partner, health, ability, opportunities, bed).
3. The benefits of practicing gratitude are like compounding interest.
Ways to do it...
1. Say "Thank you for ______." to someone for what they did or said that made your world slightly brighter or better. Example to the kiddo or partner: Thank you for putting your dishes in the dishwasher. Example to a colleague: Thank you for your time.
2. Do #1 with more considered thought.
Example: I appreciate the time you took to chat with me about career opportunities. I have better understanding now than I would have had without this conversation. Thank you.
3. You say you like to journal? Take a few minutes each day to write down three things you are grateful for and why. Example: 1. I am grateful for my health because it's the foundation for doing all the things I want to do.
2. I appreciate my colleagues because they make me laugh when I feel frustrated with leadership.
3. I am thankful for my dog because she loves me.
There is some research that indicates adding why we are grateful increases gratitude's benefits.
4. You say you don't like to journal? Try a quickie gratitude mantra or simple statement to yourself. Examples: Thank you for a sunny day - say it a few times throughout the day. Or something like: I am so grateful I found this parking spot.
5. Techie? There are good apps out there to help you get into the gratitude groove. My favorite: The Five-Minute Journal. But there are others, too, so check out your app store.
After practicing gratitude on a regular basis, I have discovered that someone cutting me off in traffic no longer sends me into a rage fest for the rest of my commute.
I feel like my emotions are more even-keeled overall. I feel more patient with my family members. I feel less judgemental. I feel more open-minded and accepting.
My gratitude practice has become the time best spent during the day because it has the greatest returns. So, I encourage you to give it a try and see what changes in your world.