1. Practicing Gratitude Sets the Tone for Your Day
Did you know that how you spend the first hour of your day sets the tone for the rest of the day? Have you woken up on the "wrong side of the bed"before? Have you noticed how hard it is to shake off a day that begins in a negative way? Did you know that the same applies for a day that starts with a positive beginning?
You have a choice here. You get to determine the tone for the day. When you start your day intentionally mindful of something or someone you are grateful for, you feel a whoosh of thanksgiving. Real gratitude is felt on the inside, it's heartfelt. You're not just checking something off a list, it's being still, quiet and genuinely thankful.
2. Practicing Gratitude Has Real Life Benefits
Research shows that practicing gratitude is consistently and firmly linked with greater personal satisfaction, increased happiness and joy in life. Gratitude also has far reaching health benefits including decreased depression, increased resilience, improved sleep, decreased risk of cardiovascular disease, and healthier, stronger relationships. Additionally, grateful people are more positive, feel more hopeful and are more likely to successfully handle challenges.
3. Practicing Gratitude Works in Your Favor
Years ago one of my favorite coaches said it this way, "When you're not practicing good posture, you're practicing slouching." He was right. We are all practicing something whether we are aware of it or not. What are you doing when you're NOT practicing gratitude?
When we're not aware, we are often practicing the opposite of gratitude - practicing what I call "The oh, woe is me" attitude which is highly ineffective and undermines progress. This takes you away from your goals. We are all practicing something, so why not do what works, supports you in living well and enhances your experience of living?
Practicing Gratitude works in your favor and it's a choice. You know what it's like when you don't do it, right? Why would you want more of that? We have a choice to practice what we know lifts us up and moves us in a positive direction.
The practice of gratitude includes noticing, appreciating and being thankful for the good in our lives. It enhances our outlook, our relationships, our well-being and our ability to handle challenges.
Here are a few ways you can incorporate a gratitude practice into your life:
• Before getting out of bed in the morning (or as you're savoring that first cup of coffee) think of one thing you are grateful for and let yourself feel it. Select something different each day and intentionally sit with it.
• Look for opportunities to say “thank you” every day. Think about someone who has a positive influence in your life and express your appreciation by writing an email or handwritten note to them that shares how they impact your life in a meaningful way.
• Go for a walk and notice the beauty of nature all around you; use your senses to tune into what you see, hear, smell, and feel.
•At the end of each day write something good that happened in your journal. For example, you could write about moving through a challenge successfully that day, accomplishing some tasks that helped you move closer to a goal, enjoying a delicious meal, listening to great music, or spending time with a special person.
Adding a gratitude practice to your day is like exercise, the more you do it the better you feel. It becomes a regular part of your day. Eventually it becomes second nature like brushing your teeth or taking a shower. Going without it would feel wrong.
Success Tip: Avoid comparing yourself to others. It’s not about who has it worse or better. Rather, it’s about finding what’s available in the here and now that you can appreciate.
Practicing gratitude can be a welcome addition to your life. It can be a great resource especially when you’re tired of being in the same place and it seems like you're not moving forward and yet you know it's time to act. Reach out to me, and together we can talk about how you can start creating more of what you want in your life.
• Beginning your day with gratitude sets the tone for your day
• Practicing gratitude has real life benefits
• Being grateful works in your favor
Dawn Nelson, MSW, CPC
Professional Coaching Services