How practicing gratitude can change your life.
With Thanksgiving coming up, it seems to be the time that people start to reflect on what they are thankful for at the current moment. Although I do believe it’s important to think about what we are thankful for on Thanksgiving, I think it’s even more important to reflect on gratitude every single day.
Yes, I said it. Everyday! Over the past year or so, I’ve really obsessed over the idea of practicing gratitude. Most of this concept I learned from successful and motivational people like Tony Robbins, Lewis Howes, and many other greats (check out my self-help book review post). Most of these influential people note gratitude as one the most important factors that sets their life apart from others. This is one of the major components to their success in all aspects of life: business, finance, relationships, health, and happiness.
It’s so easy and normal for us to complain. I mean think about how many times you complain in a day over even the smallest of things. My waiter got the order wrong…there was so much traffic today… that meeting was pointless…and the list could go on and on. I almost think it’s become part of a human routine to complain and just talk about a small incident that is now over and done with. Why though? What good do we get out of focusing on small, negative aspects that are going to happen in life whether we like it or not.
“It’s your decisions, not your conditions that determine your destiny.” – Tony Robbins
Okay, so now that we have gotten over the fact that bad and annoying parts are inevitable in life, let’s talk about how we can improve our reactions to those parts of our life. It starts with gratitude. When you can step back and put things into perspective, you are able to realize that whatever you are about to blow up about actually is minuscule. Think about all that you have instead of what you lack in life. Divert your attention away from that incident that honestly will not even matter in a year (hey, it probably won’t even matter in a week).
I know you might be thinking, “well, Loretta, you’re just naturally a positive person.” And guys, I’m here to tell you that although I have generally been a positive person, that was mainly just on the surface. I’m good at hiding a lot of feelings internally around people except those I’m really close to in my life. The old me would have held on to something small that upset me or frustrated me for so long. It would eat up any positivity and made me feel as though things were less than great in my life.
Now, I’m totally different. Do I still complain? Yes, of course; I’m human, so it’s going to happen every once in a while! However, now I’m able to refocus my thinking toward what I am thankful for whether I say it aloud, think about it, or write it down. Then I am able completely change my attitude. Instead of letting one minor negative incident ruin my thoughts or day, I can quickly let it go just by refocusing my attention.
I often feel as though people think gratitude has to be something major like: I have a career, I have a great relationship, I have a car I love, etc. For myself, I almost always say “thank you” under my breath when I pull into my garage because my house is my safe place. I will even have a sigh of relief when I come in and have to type the alarm code to my house.
Although it’s great to be happy about major things, it can be something as simple as being grateful for a beautiful sunrise on your drive to work or the fact that a stain came out of your favorite shirt. These are all things we end up unintentionally taking for granted because we are so consumed by the hustle and bustle of life or wrapped up in answering the “what’s wrong with my life?” question.
“When you are grateful, fear disappears and abundance appears.” -Tony Robbins
So I challenge you this week. Each day come up with at least one thing you are grateful for in your life. You could just intentionally think about it throughout the day, write it down in a journal, put it in a gratitude jar, or share it with your family at a meal. You’ll be amazed at how your view on life, your overall attitude, your resilience, and your interactions with people will be positively influenced. My hope is this won’t just become a one week thing, but a lifelong positive habit you carry throughout your entire life.
Oh, and thanks for reading my blog. I am grateful for you and your support. 🙂