Episode 20:  The Power of Gratitude

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Today, we’re taking a moment to slow down and talk about an everyday habit that will change your life. It will make you feel happier and healthier. It will help you reduce stress and feel good in your everyday life, which in turn will help you be a better, more confident person for yourself and those around you. 

So what is this amazing habit that will help improve your life in such a way?

Gratitude. Giving thanks every day in the form of a daily gratitude practice will change your life!

There’s even scientific research that says gratitude can improve your psychological well-being. It can make people happier, improve their relationships, and potentially even counteract depression. Research even shows that gratitude may even have PHYSICAL health benefits too – like better sleep, fewer aches and pains and even better heart health. 

So wait, the act of being GRATEFUL can help your mind and body to feel their best? 

Yes!

Just over a year ago, I started a daily gratitude practice… and it has changed my life! 

I committed to taking the Last 90 Days challenge as part of Rachel and Dave Hollis’ Last 90 Days challenge – Rachel Hollis is a motivational speaker and author, and Dave is her husband and business partner.  The Last 90 Days challenge is a commitment to spend the last 90 days of the year (October 1 through December 31) eating well, exercising, and cultivating good habits by making an “end of the year” resolution, instead of just having a “New Year’s resolution.”

Part of the challenge is that you commit to writing down 10 things that you are grateful for every day. Not like “a job” or “a house” or “my family” or big things like that… Obviously, those are wonderful things to be grateful for, but that’s not the point… It’s about looking around in your DAY, every day, and finding the little things that you are grateful for. 

For example, I was really grateful this morning that I cut open the PERFECT avocado to put on my toast. My dog was really cute and snuggly and excited to see me when I got out of bed. I had a really great time doing yoga today. I had 10 extra minutes so I got to sit on the couch snuggled up in a blanket and drink coffee. It’s clean sheet day. I had an amazing walk with my dog in the sunshine.

You get the idea. It’s all about looking around in your day to day life and recognizing 10 little things you are grateful for. 

By recognizing and then actually WRITING these things down, you start to realize, “Oh my gosh, my life IS SO FULL OF BLESSINGS. I have even MORE to be grateful for than I thought!”

So, I kept going with it – and I still keep doing it every day!

Even on days in the past year where things have been difficult, or challenging, or some days I just don’t feel like being grateful, because I have made this practice part of my day, I still sit down, write down my 10 things, and as soon as I see those 10 things I’m grateful for on a piece of paper in front of me, I think, “Oh, you know what, I don’t have it as bad as I thought I did.” Or “Gee, you know what? Even when things are really challenging, I still have so much to be grateful for.” 

Practicing being grateful has helped me appreciate things I used to overlook. For example, this morning, my husband went outside and started my car for me - it’s super cold, it snowed last night, and the windshield was frozen and covered in snow. Recognizing his kind actions makes me stop my morning madness of trying to get work done and think, “WOW, he really loves me to do that for me!” 

The power of gratitude can enrich your relationships – when you start to recognize all the things the person you are in a relationship with does for you. It can make you a better leader at work when you recognize the value in the little things the people you work with are doing. It can make you a better friend, a better sibling, a better child to your parents. Gratitude can positively affect every single relationship you have in your life!

Four things to help you start a daily gratitude practice – and stick to it:

  1. Get a journal or a notebook and a pen. Get a style that you WANT to write in, and a pen you like to write with. If you actually like the physical act of writing down your 10 things you’re grateful for every day, you’re more likely to keep doing it. Make sure you have something that you LIKE so you will WANT to write in it every day.
  2. Stick to the same time every day. For me, I like to make my list in the morning while I drink my coffee. I usually have a handful of things by that time that I’m already thankful for that day, but sometimes I also look back at the day before and reflect on anything that happened then, too. You might find that you like making your gratitude list in the evening so you can look back at your whole 12 hour day at once. Maybe you want to reset your mind and your mood during your lunch break. The point is, if you carve out 10 minutes or so to devote to your gratitude list at the same time every day, it becomes part of your routine. If it’s part of your routine – if it’s a habit that you have in your everyday life, you’re going to stick to it, just like brushing your teeth or drinking coffee.
  3. If you’re busy, do it anyway! If you’re traveling, or crazy busy, or you’re having a day where you DO NOT have 10 minutes to spare… Be grateful anyway. Find a way to think of 10 things you’re grateful for. That might mean you wake up 10 minutes early or jot it down before bed or find a couple minutes and make a list in your head. Find 100 seconds to yourself – that’s 10 seconds to think of each thing you’re thankful for. 
  4. Make it extra meaningful. If you want to take your daily gratitude practice deeper, consider adding a few minutes of reading, or prayer to it.  For me, all of my gratitude is centered on giving thanks to God, so prayer and my daily practice of giving thanks to God go hand-and-hand. 
  5. And after you get your habit of gratitude going…and you have extra minutes, you can write down things that you’ve accomplished…It might be as simple as, “I got out of bed without hitting snooze this morning.” Or “I listened to my friend when they needed support.” Celebrate your wins every day!  

SO, there you have it. A daily gratitude practice can change your life, it can better your relationships, it can improve your mental health, and make you a happier, more confident person.

Commit to taking a little bit of time out of your day to recognize your blessings and before you know it, you’ll have an entire year’s worth of evidence in your hands.

Links I mentioned in this episode:

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