Here’s what my client said to me today…
“Gratitude… that’s important… I want to live in gratitude”…
At 30-years old she has earned her graduate degree, researched, pursued and got hired doing her dream job and feels overjoyed about the new house she and her fiance just bought.
I’m thrilled with her. Her journey has been difficult and often overwhelming yet today she’s celebrating, smiling and doing what she has always done… striving to improve… willing and able to accept new challenges, ready to apply new strategies. Today for her, it’s taking on her tendency for perfectionism.
Living in gratitude is her chosen strategy–excellent!
What’s so wonderful about living and practicing gratitude?
In this article…
We’ll explore how living and practicing gratitude is both a business and personal growth strategy.
So, what’s in the name G R A T I T U D E?
Plenty… let’s have some fun.
1— Giving evokes gratitude and is contagious. It’s true. Check it out.
When you express your gratitude in words or actions, you not only boost your own positivity but [other people’s] as well writes Barbara Fredrickson, researcher, in her book Positivity. Kindness is reinforced as a result and a connection or bond is forged as well.
Have you experienced giving from others like this too?
Beaming, she exclaims as I enter the building… Mary, you’re here! I’m so glad you’re here!
Many years later Judy’s infectious joy, energy and loving hugs still brings me good feelings and a smile.
At another job, there was Diane and today, Michelle. People who exude positivity and appreciation… it’s contagious.
They live and practice the message of gratitude… for being… for having the day… for you.
Other things you can give away include… the scarf around your neck because your friend likes it–here, it’s yours!; your can do-ism–I love to proofread and edit…give it to me; a few blocks of dryness by sharing your umbrella, your secret short-cut across town, a book you leave in the pocket for the next person who has your plane seat, gushing over a very ordinary dog (there really aren’t any “ordinary” dogs!) in the park, a jar of an instant coffee made by a German company that tastes absolutely great to an office buddy who’s out of coffee, and offering your place at the front of the line in the grocery store.
How will you express your gratitude today in words or action?
2— Receiving isn’t easy. It’s requires a level of vulnerability. Our ability to receive is a window into our beliefs about what we deserve and what’s possible to create, have and achieve.
Have you noticed that it’s sometimes hard for some people to receive gifts, a compliment or a simple thanks?
Yet, receiving is the connection which invites more…
You begin to feel the ache in your hands and stop. Massage over.
Imagine giving the same neck massage and getting the feedback, “This is marvelous… you’re really helping…”
Wouldn’t you want to keep giving more? Aching hands wouldn’t matter.
And the lucky recipient enjoys a longer neck massage. Nice.
In a very real way being able to graciously receive is letting the giver know they have made a difference in our lives. Receiving well invites more. To graciously receive is also an inner act of self-worth and a deserving mindset.
- requires some openness and a willingness to be vulnerable.
- is about expanding and growing which isn’t always comfortable.
- may seem selfish or challenge some unwritten contract you have signed long ago that says you don’t deserve, can’t achieve or have happiness like others.
The next time someone compliments you, offers you a gift, looks lovingly into your eyes, notice how you feel. Notice your body. Are you feeling open and accepting? Is there tension? What are you telling yourself?
Take the next step and observe your willingness and ability to remain open and accepting of feedback and comments which tickle personal/professional flaws, weaknesses or areas for growth. Are you able to receive and learn and feel gratitude? It’s not about agreeing with all the feedback, but growing in understanding about yourself and the other.
3— Asking these questions in the face of adversity invites gratitude.
It’s not hard to live in gratitude when things are going your way. Right? When adversity comes, the willingness to remain open and receive the possible good and/or expanded understanding is available too. You can be both uncomfortable and grateful at the same time.
These are three good questions to ask…
- What’s good about this?
- What can I learn from this?
- How can I benefit from this?
Did you know that during the aftermath of the 911 terrorist attacks, gratitude was the second most common emotion expressed after sympathy?
Traumatic memories are less frequent and severe in people who practice gratitude.
Acknowledge and practice gratitude in the face of adversity.
4— Taking charge of your health and well-being includes cultivating “a practice of gratitude”.
Take charge and practice gratitude as a conscious, planned activity because health and well-being is so positively impacted. Practicing gratitude according to Sonja Lyubomirsky and others…
- promotes getting the most from positive life experiences.
- heightens quality of life with less depression and stress, increased health benefits too.
- helps you get out of the self-pity mode into the what’s possible or “well, things could be worse” mode.
- encourages kindness and caring for self and the wider community.
- brings more joy.
- makes it harder to stay in negative emotions like greed, envy, anger and bitterness.
- prevents taking the good things in life for granted.
Decide to practice gratitude and start a gratitude journal today. In the morning or at the end of the day, make a list of 5 things where you have gratefulness. Write a gratitude letter to someone. Make sharing gratefulness a family ritual every evening at dinner.
The takeaway is…
Living and practicing gratitude is a meaningful growth strategy for business and personal life.
Practice giving, receiving, asking and taking.