“Give yourself a gift of five minutes of contemplation in awe of everything you see around you. Go outside and turn your attention to the many miracles around you. This five-minute-a-day regimen of appreciation and gratitude will help you to focus your life in awe”. Wayne Dyer
The challenge of living in today’s fast pace world, is that you forget to stop and give yourself the gift of contemplating what you are grateful for and counting your blessings.
Gratitude means being thankful for the small and big things you receive, being appreciative of the things that you take for granted and taking time to notice simple yet memorable and uplifting moments.
Every day as you work through your ‘to do list’, go from one meeting to another, deal with challenging situations and juggle your work life with meeting personal obligations, it’s easy to overlook the blessings that each day bestows upon you.
Whether you are self employed or work for an organisation, everyday challenges and problems can keep you focused on what’s not working, what’s missing, what you are lacking and what you don’t have. This inevitably can put you in a state of survival or stress where feelings of gratitude, appreciation and thankfulness can feel illusive and difficult to reach.
Gratitude Improves Your Quality of Life
Many studies have proven that practicing daily gratitude can make you more resilient, feel more optimistic, creative, happier, determined, enthusiastic, energised, less stressed and build stronger relationships.
Robert A. Emmons a psychology professor and a world leading scientific expert on gratitude, found that cultivating gratitude had a positive impact on our bodies, our minds, and our relationships. He says, “most of our waking hours are spent on the job, and gratitude, in all its forms, is a basic human requirement”.
He has studied more than one thousand people, from ages eight to 80, and found that people who practice gratitude consistently report a host of benefits:
- Stronger immune systems
- Less bothered by aches and pains
- Lower blood pressure
- Exercise more and take better care of their health
- Sleep longer and feel more refreshed upon waking
- Higher levels of positive emotions
- More alert, alive, and awake
- More joy and pleasure
- More optimism and happiness
- More helpful, generous, and compassionate
- More forgiving
- More outgoing
- Feel less lonely and isolated.
It’s important to cultivate a culture of gratitude in the workplace as well as making it a personal practice. The opposite of living in survival is living in creation or being in a thrive state, which increases productivity, employee retention, well-being and engagement. A survey completed by Glassdoor stated that four in five (81%) employees report they’re motivated to work harder when their boss shows appreciation for their work.
I have to admit, practicing gratitude was not something I did on a regular basis. Since making it a daily habit I have personally found that when I consciously practice feeling gratitude throughout the day, I feel less stressed as it allows me to keep things in perspective. I feel a sense of calmness and self-control. I also keep a gratitude journal which I complete at the end of the day.
There are many ways to cultivate gratitude:
1.0 Keep a gratitude journal.
2.0 Practice Heart Focused Breathing.
3.0 Set yourself visual reminders.
4.0 Remember the hard times, not just the easy times in your life.
5.0 Take time to meditate and practice mindfulness.
6.0 Send a handwritten ‘thank you’ note.
7.0 Reflect on the days blessings before you go to sleep.
8.0 Say ‘thank you’ for a new day when you wake up in the morning.
9.0 Be grateful for what you can give as well as for what you receive.
10.0 Read this poem called I Choose, written by Claire Morabito (Reference Gratitude Works by Robert A. Emmons) daily.
I choose to be happy,
I choose to be grateful,
I choose to be caring and always be thoughtful.
I choose to be well,
I choose to be fine,
I choose to be healthy, all the time.
I choose to be patience,
I choose to be strong,
I choose to be calm, all day long.
- The Power of Thanks: How Social Recognition Empowers Employees and Creates a Best Place to Work by Eric Mosley and Derek Irvine
- Gratitude Works!: A 21-Day Program for Creating Emotional Prosperity by Robert A. Emmons
Over To You
I would love to hear your thoughts on cultivating gratitude and any tips you can offer based on your experience.