Can Gratitude Fix Your Life?
5 Simple Ways to Incorporate Gratitude Into Your Life and Amplify Your Results
A study of forty-five adults at the Institute of HeartMath, and the U.S. Naval Post Graduate School, found that a program designed specifically to increase gratitude, and ‘cut-off’ negative thinking had a significant effect on increasing the anti-aging hormone, DHEA, and lowering the stress hormone, cortisol. Numerous books, and teachers, have for millennia suggested that we have a grateful heart; however, it is one thing to hear it and it is another thing to actually put it into practice. People tell me all of the time that they are grateful for something, yet when I ask them how they express it, they often look at me blankly, as if the notion that there was a way to convey gratitude was indeed foreign.
Gratitude is much easier to express when things are going well. It is tough to focus on during the hard times. People who are genuinely grateful often appear to be lucky, which garners the question – are they grateful because their lives are easier? I would counter that their lives appear easier because they are grateful.
A mentor of mine once told me that what we focus on expands. In books, from Wallace D. Waddles’, The Science of Getting Rich, to The Bible, we are counseled to be grateful and cherish what we have if we are ever to receive more. What if the expression of gratitude was all it took to decrease stress, age more gracefully and even become wealthier – why wouldn’t everyone do it? The simple truth is that it comes down to consistency. We can begin to be grateful, but we have that one off day and suddenly we stop. The most challenging days are when gratitude matters the most because our stress is higher; the simple act of being more grateful can lower our stress which can, in turn, offer us greater perspective.
With this in mind, here are five ways to incorporate gratitude into your daily life now:
- Make Family Meal Times Count
At our home, we have several ways in which we express our gratitude. One primary way we do this occurs at dinnertime, where we take turns sharing our high points of the day. I recall years ago watching the Bruce Willis, Michelle Pfeiffer film, The Story of Us. A couple on the verge of divorce worked hard at maintaining their family traditions, one of which was going around the table and sharing both the high and low point of the day. That simple act resonated with me, and although we do not focus on the low point, we do share our high points.
Make meal times count by asking everyone to share one thing they are grateful for. It may be challenging at first, but after a few days, even the most resistant of family members will eventually come into line.
- Have a Gratitude Partner
Find a friend with whom you can be gratitude partners. Make a commitment to send one or more items every day via text that you are grateful for.
- Write ‘Love Notes’
Send a lunchtime love note to your child, or partner, so that they can see how much they are appreciated. At our company, we also send weekly love notes to our champions – people whom we see are going above and beyond in our classes.
- Keep a Gratitude Journal
Personally, I have been writing out ten items of gratitude every night for the last decade. I believe wholeheartedly that it is one of the reasons that I am enjoying the life I have today. Although it isn’t always easy, it is always excellent for perspective.
- Use Powerful Language
When people ask you how you are, you can say things like, “I am grateful,” or “I feel truly blessed.” At first this may feel inauthentic; however, when we really see how beautiful our lives are, especially in comparison to many others, we begin to say these words in truth. Our words are powerful, and one of the simplest ways to increase our gratitude is to speak it out loud.
The question is – can gratitude really change our lives? Can it help us feel healthier and even create greater prosperity? The answer is a resounding ‘yes.’ If you are looking to take gratitude to the next level and create results, I recommend my Shift Meditation, available online for $3.97. Check it out today.
Susan Sly is a best selling author, speaker and entrepreneur. She has appeared on CNN, CNBC, Fox, Lifetime Television and the CBN. Susan is the mother of five children and resides in Scottsdale, Arizona.
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