When was the last time you felt truly grateful for everything you have in your life? The big things. The small things. All of it. And took the time to express your gratitude? Chances are you haven’t taken a moment to really express gratitude for all that you have. We tend to move so fast through life, that we don’t appreciate what we have.
Did you know that having an attitude of gratitude is a powerful self-care practice? There is emerging research that shows that expressing gratitude can re-wire our brains for increased happiness and better physical health. By dwelling on what we do not have and feeling negative about our situations, we are only attracting more negativity. Expressing gratitude changes our perspective and allows us to focus on the more important things in life and forget about the petty day-to-day annoyances that we can sometimes get stuck dwelling on. People who regularly and genuinely express gratitude have a sense of abundance in their lives and recognize life’s small gifts.
This concept became mainstream through the work of Rhonda Byrne in her 2006 best-selling book, “The Secret.” There is also a documentary-style movie version of the book on Netflix. I will warn you the movie is great, but it is a little cheesy. Also, there is a new feature film based on the concepts called, Dare to Dream. I just received the DVD and I am looking forward to watching it. I expect it to be just as cheesy if not more so than the documentary, however, these concepts are truly worth exploring.
We must take a moment to feel grateful for what we have. It is simple to do, and it can have a dramatic impact on our well-being.
Here is how to get started:
- Make a Gratitude List – write down 3-5 things, people, possessions, abilities or any combination of those items every day that you are grateful for and be specific!
- This can be done in a journal designed as a gratitude journal (Amazon has some for less than $10), but any journal or even the note function on your phone will do.
- Create a Gratitude Jar – get a jar and decorate it how you want with stickers, paint, glitter, whatever suits you and everyday (or week) add a scrap of paper to it with something you are grateful for written on it. Make it as simple or fancy as you want it to be.
- This is a great activity to do as a family or with a group of friends. You can set a time in the future to read all the things you are grateful for and reflect on it as a family. Perhaps a new New Years Day tradition? Imagine on January 1st kicking off a new year looking back at the previous year and all you are grateful for. I think that would be very cool to do.
- Talk about what you are grateful for with others.
- Give someone a sincere compliment.
- Say Thank you!
- If you have a meditation practice, add a thankfulness component to it by reflecting on all that you are grateful for including specific people and experiences.
- Write someone a note or letter of gratitude. Did you have a teacher or coach that helped you? Did you ever say thank you to them for their lasting impression? Maybe now is the time to do so.
- Shift your thinking if you catch yourself with an ungrateful thought in the moment. When you catch yourself having an ungrateful thought, try to reframe it and get to the core of the thought by focusing on what your are grateful for instead. It might take some practice to do this, but it is worth it.
- If you need help remembering to practice gratitude, schedule a 5 minute break in your day. Set an alarm and make it happen!
Warning – gratitude is highly contagious! So, spread it around freely and openly.
I will get us started, today I am grateful for…
- A job that allows me downtime and time to re-charge.
- My adoring and supportive husband who endorses all my wild ideas.
- My inspirational and loving mother whose unwavering encouragement has allowed me to achieve my goals and continue to do so.
- My health and well-being.
- My wonderful “Dr. MC’s Self-Care Cabaret” subscribers and followers who are helping me make my dream a reality.
Now it is your turn!
Comment below and tell me something that you are grateful for…