When we’re overworked and overwhelmed by climbing the corporate ladder or starting a new company, it’s counterintuitive to pause and consider what we are grateful for. As a matter of fact, much of our wiring is to solve problems, avoid uncertainty and get back to a homeostatic place as quickly as possible. In simple terms, my Italian grandmother would remind us that the other shoe was always going to drop, so don’t get too comfortable. Does that sound familiar?
Adopting an attitude of gratitude has so many benefits, that it’s worth considering gratitude as something you practice with intention and purpose each and every day, not just at the holidays. The benefits are logical, the following being just a few of them:
- It feels good to be grateful, which improves our mood. That translates into better responses from others and increased productivity.
- It’s good for our health. Studies have shown that when we give thanks, we lower our blood pressure and reduce our risk for depression and anxiety. We tend to sleep better and be more focused.
- Others seem to like us more when we have an attitude of gratitude, which strengthens relationships and helps us network more effectively. Think about those people you are drawn to who are positive, optimistic and thankful. They tend to be easier to be with, as opposed to those who are more pessimistic and critical.
So if we are wired to problem-solve and stay in the lane of doing more, striving and avoiding uncertainty, adopting an attitude of gratitude takes some work. However, it also can be a very rewarding practice. (By the way, if you haven’t realized it by now, all of life is a series of practices, and we become what we practice… just saying. Choosing what you want to practice will increase your success in having the life that you want.)
Now is a great time to begin your practice of adopting an intention to be grateful. Here are a few tips to get you started, and the body of work around gratitude is large and rich. Google it.
- Journaling is a powerful tool for any new practice. Making time each morning to write down one thing that you are grateful for can shift the way you think about your day. Journaling about all of the things that you are grateful for will begin to open up ideas for creating new areas of gratitude in your life.
- Simply noticing what you are grateful for throughout the day can help shift your mood and increase your productivity. I’m grateful for those mornings when the sun is coming up as I’m pouring a cup of coffee. I’m super grateful when the coffee is ready when I wake! I’m grateful for those days when the Weimaraner sleeps later than I do. See the snowball effect here? Gratitude doesn’t have to be big – it all feels good and works to improve your outlook and energy.
- If it feels awkward to tell someone how grateful you are for them, begin with writing them a note or letter. Be specific and be sincere. Think about how you feel when you are being thanked for something. It feels good when it’s specific and sincere.
Gratitude as a daily practice, as a way of being, helps us overcome the daily annoyances, which sometimes seem tougher to manage than a single catastrophic event. Gratitude as a way of being generates more good in our work, at home and in the world.
Each day I’m grateful for my team who helps me bring my thoughts and experiences to you each week. I’m grateful for my family and friends who love me in spite of my shortcomings and support the journey that I’m on. I’m grateful for my clients who bring so much to their work each and every day, and inspire me to continue to learn and grow in my work. At this time of year, and always, I’m grateful that you have taken the time to read what I’ve written. I’m grateful for your critique and for your thoughtful responses. Without you, this wouldn’t be as much fun. Happy Thanksgiving to you and those important to you in your life! Much happiness to you ~ Terry