We often hear the phrase “have an attitude of gratitude”. It is a catchy phrase, but not something that came naturally for me.
I see so much of this word gratitude popping up in my social media feed, and it’s something that is so easy to talk about but much harder to actually pick up off the screen and put into practice in my own life. But over the last few years, I’ve been on a personal drive to develop this “attitude of gratitude” in my own life and I’m here to share my insights on how and why I will never go back!
First, let’s dig in to the WHY.
Why is it a good idea to become a more grateful person? What does science tell us? And what does the Word tell us about the benefit of cultivating more gratitude in our lives?
Oprah talks about a ‘gratitude journal’. She says in an interview with Dr. Brené Brown that over the years she found that the cultivation of gratitude and joy is the key to course correction. According to her research over 12 years, Dr. Brown says the following: “I have never found a single person who has the capacity to experience and soften into joy that did not actively practice gratitude. There is no joy without gratitude”.
According to Dr. Caroline Leaf, gratitude is essential to success. In her research of the brain, she found that gratitude changes the brain and body for the better. Being thankful increases longevity, the ability to use our imagination and our ability to solve problems. Gratitude leads to more resilience and is therefore essential to overcoming difficult circumstances and achieving success in all areas of life (YES, even building self-esteem and confidence!) It literally infuses hope throughout the whole of our psycho-neurobiology (the mind-brain-body connection) by balancing our brainwaves across the left and right side of the brain, allowing for the optimal flow of the feel-good-hormones.
It does not mean that if you deal with pain and say 10 generic gratitude statements a day, that it will magically fix everything. Dealing with pain needs self-study, mindfulness and courage. Remember to give yourself grace throughout this process.
To me gratitude becomes the gathering of evidence of what is good in your life and what is great about and within YOU! Gratitude leads to joy – that deep inner joy that is not so easily shaken by life’s happenings. It says in Isaiah 51:11 “They shall obtain joy and sorrow and sighing shall flee away”. Obtaining means to earnestly seek / to acquire / to secure; in other words, it is an intentional practice.
Gratitude enlarges your spirit and creates the space for you to get TO, THROUGH & PAST the things that hinders you from being wholeheartedly you.
You can NOT be busy with two opposing things at the same time – you can’t be complaining & criticizing while simultaneously be celebrating something. You cannot be angry and grateful at the same time. As I am writing this blog, something happened that threatened to derail me, my mood and my work. Well, I guess I needed to practice what I preach, haha and the beauty of it is… what happened, happened and it is what it is. But with practicing some gratitude, the turn-around-time is shortened visibly and quite quickly I was back in my ‘happy zone’.
Gratitude is rejoicing and it’s one of the surest ways to renew your mind about you, life and people.
If we are grateful for what we do have, we create more of what we want, because it creates a loving energy that will attract more positives into our lives.
Now, let me get into the HOW part.
There is no one way to cultivate an attitude of gratitude. It is a process. But here are some things that I have found useful in my own journey when it comes to renewing my mind.
So if you want more confidence, self-love and self-awareness, what if you started actively becoming aware and searching for traits, achievements, victories, however small, and start cultivating a practice of gratitude? The more I read and listened to what high achieving people had to say, it became clear to me that gratitude was more of a consistent, conscious practice!
What if you start by writing down 3 things every day? You know what happens? It’s gathering evidence! We all have days that we are inundated with negative thoughts or beliefs or find ourselves in a negative spiral that creates self-doubt. When you have a gratitude journal you have accumulated evidence of the positive things in your life. And thoughts accumulate to become beliefs!
It is for this reason that I have incorporated a ‘gratitude corner’ in the journals I created for our Live Brave course. According to Dr Caroline Leaf, building a gratitude mindset, takes about 3 months (3 cycles of 21 days). Since the course is 3 months, this will be an ideal time to build that mindset, don’t you think? If you want to have a fabulous practical tool to renew you mind about you, don’t miss out – We will also actively work with this 21-day neurocycle to renew our minds to ensure sustainable change by growing new healthy beliefs.
Another easy way to cultivate gratitude, is to just change one letter in your vocabulary:
Change the “o” in got to an “e”. Instead of saying “I’ve got to make dinner”, what if it becomes “I get to make dinner”? Or “I’ve got to go to work” becomes “I get to go to work”! Try it out for a few days and see how it can change your mindset about you and life as well as your inner motivation.
If you’re reading this, you might be interested in or prone to personal growth. And if it’s confidence, self-esteem or self awareness you are after, then I really want to encourage you to join my next Live Brave course intake. You will learn so much more about the importance of celebrating, rejoicing and gratitude and how they are a fantastic way to help imprint new tools, beliefs and habits in your life.
So now that I’ve shared my own life learning, I would love to hear from you! Please comment below and and share with us your gratitude practice, if you have one. And if you don’t, this might just give you a great idea to get you started.