My Gratitude practice began with a classic Oprah Winfrey A-Ha Moment! Taking time out of each day to focus on all the good parts of my life has brought an entirely new perspective to the world around me. There is a calm that has settled over me and it has replaced the chaos that I believed was the only way.
Through the power of a gratitude practice, you can wire your brain to be optimistic and compassionate, making you feel good. The more you look, the more you can find to be grateful for. This positivity can extend to those around you, creating a virtuous cycle.
If you are anything like me, you struggle most days to find anything good. It is so much easier to see all the crap and focus on that. In Chapter 6, we will look more into how the brain works, but for now, I need you to understand that you have the power and the ability to shift your focus and this shift will also create a new perspective for you.
You see, everything you focus on becomes more abundant. If you focus your attention on drama, chaos, sorrow, or heartbreak, you will always create more of these in your life. This is the point of a Gratitude Practice.
I used to be a chaos junkie. I thrived (or thought I did) in the extreme busyness and chaos of other people’s lives. If I could just help them, then I would in turn help myself. Friends would come to me with their stories of pain, frustration, disappointment or really anything they wanted to bitch about, and I was all in! I would sit and listen and provide sound advise. I would absorb their issues as if they were my own. I got very invested in their lives, their sorrows. I ran with this for years. I truly thought this was my life calling.
I was so invested in their lives; I would actually get quite pissed off when they didn’t follow my advice! As if I was some kind of magician or guru that held all the answers. I just couldn’t understand why they would come to me, dump all their crap and then carry on without making any changes. It just didn’t make any sense to me.
Time for Gratitude Practice
Then one day, I was the one in the bitchy seat. I was talking to my girlfriend about all the crap going on in my life and she threw my advice back at me. I instantly came up with 101 excuses why that didn’t apply to me. As these excuses flowed out of my mouth I almost had an out of body experience. It was like I was sitting there, watching myself justify the behaviour of others, explain why I deserved to be treated poorly or apologise for things that were completely out of my control.
And there it was.
My A-Ha moment. I was no different than my friends. I needed to start taking my own advice. I needed to start working on me! I could clearly see that all I ever focused on was what was going wrong in my life. I needed to find a way to appreciate everything that was good, solid and whole. I needed to find value in my truth.
This is where I truly found Gratitude. I had to make it a habit to see the good in the world. If you’d like to learn more about the Benefits of Gratitude, you can read this post.
Every morning I get up, pour a cup of coffee and do my Daily Gratitude Brain Dump. I sit down and type out all the things I am grateful for. It looks something like this:
|food||clean water||a home|
|100 acres||money||bank account|
|healthy body||healthy mind||coffee|
|green space||a story||time|
|access to money||ability to earn money||working husband|
|ability to learn||peace of mind||ability to teach|
When I ask my clients to do this, they tell me that they do not have anything to be grateful for. I simply remind them that we have access to things that not everybody does. Think about life 100 years ago. Begin by listing everything we have that they did not: electricity, grocery stores, light bulbs, indoor plumbing, online shopping, cars and public transportation. Also list the people that bring you joy, your spouse, children, family or friends.
Task – Daily Gratitude Brain Dump
Don’t spend too much time on this exercise. This should be a quick 5 – 10 minutes, rambling off all that is good in your world. If on day 1 you come up with 5, that’s great!! Try again tomorrow and set a goal to find 10 and then 20. Work your way up to 100, it is not nearly as difficult as you think. The more you do this the easier it gets. Soon you will realize that you are traveling through out your day, looking for things to be grateful for!! This transition will sneak up on you.
Work this into your morning routine. Do it everyday, no matter where you are or what you are doing. Take 10 minutes at the start of each day to focus on everything that is right in your world.
Don’t forget to join us at The ME Factor to share you journey & support others’ on their journey.
Download Chapter 2 – Gratitude