Fridays with Franky: Practicing Gratitude
Franky, the Camp WeHaKee dog here to share a few more words with you! First of all, I just want to thank you for taking the time to read my post this week. It may seem like no big deal, but to be someone taking their time to read what I have taken the time to write is a big deal to me. I am most grateful for your sharing of your time!
Gratitude can be simply viewed as a social skill that we have been taught to use to show others that we care about them and what they have done for us. However, when we acknowledge our gratitude (even if just internally) we receive a seldom recognized bonus – we feel better! But wait… there’s more! The more we embrace gratitude in our life a ‘snowball’ effect occurs in that we experience more joy and contentment with each expression of thankfulness!
So, what is this thing called gratitude? Let’s begin with the dictionary definition; Gratitude, the quality or feeling of being grateful or thankful. Yup, its that simple! But yet, so many of us have great difficulty expressing our gratitude, even to ourselves. Because it is such a basic concept, it is highly underrated and under utilized.
Many people (as well as this dog!) believe that we are given the ability choose our feelings in nearly every situation. However, over time many of us develop fairly sophisticated habits that put our feeling choices on auto-pilot. It seems like we are not choosing to get mad when someone cuts in line in front of us or takes the last dessert – they (or their choice) made us mad! But with a little thought and practice (and a bit of patience!), we can easily begin to see that there may be several feeling choices we could select in reacting to the situation before us.
Make the Choice to be Grateful
Gratitude is a feeling and therefore it is a choice we can make throughout each day. But it might take a bit of practice at first. The motivational speaker, Jack Canfield* (you know, ‘Chicken Soup for The Soul’, etc.) offers six steps – or habits as he refers to them – to help us become more grateful and thus lead us to better health and greater happiness (6 Daily Gratitude Habits That Will Attract More Abundance and Joy into Your Life):
1. Take 7 minutes each morning to write down everything you appreciate in life
Starting your day this way primes you to be receptive and grateful for everything your day will bring. It also helps you cultivate an air of positivity that makes you naturally more attractive to other positive people – and inspires them to want to help you achieve your goals.
2. Make a conscious effort to appreciate at least 3 people every day
By letting people know how much you appreciate them, you increase their own sense of appreciation and self-worth, and encourage them to pay this positive energy forward to other people. While most people enjoy receiving verbal appreciation, written notes are also nice because they can be saved and re-read.
3. Play the Appreciation Game
Set a specific time each day to consciously appreciate everything you encounter. An ideal time to do this is on your way to or from work. Appreciate the people you pass, the road you walk on, the cars that let you merge into a different lane, the street signs that make it easy for you to know where you’re going, the rain that’s nourishing the plants and trees, and so on.
Look for the good in all situations – even those you would normally view as negative. As the saying goes, “Every cloud has a silver lining.” For example, when my wife was in a car accident a few years ago, she could have chosen to berate herself or question her judgment. Instead, she focused on her gratitude for suffering only minor injuries and for the help she received from other drivers.
4. Carry a physical token of gratitude in your pocket, such as a heart-shaped stone, crystal, or some other small item
A physical reminder can bring you back to your practice of gratitude when your mind has drifted elsewhere. As you reach into your pocket throughout the day and feel the token, use it as a reminder to stop, breathe and take a moment to fully experience the emotion of gratitude. The more conscious effort you put into seeking it out, the easier it will be to find it – and the more powerful your experience will be.
5. Remember to appreciate the smallest blessings
The best way to activate your gratitude is by acknowledging the gifts most people take for granted. If you have food in your refrigerator, clothes in your closet and a roof over your head, you are better off than 75 percent of the world’s population. If you eat three meals a day, you are far better off than the 1 billion people on the planet who eat once a day at most.
Do you have a phone? How about a car that allows you to travel to work or to explore the country? Is your family healthy? Do you have a computer and Internet access to stay in touch with the world, get access to education, and perform work for which you are paid? Do you have clean water to drink? Celebrate these simple blessings. These daily conveniences are gifts that most people in the world do not enjoy.
6. Appreciate yourself
Finally, don’t forget to appreciate your OWN positive qualities and accomplishments. In addition to celebrating your big successes, acknowledge your small daily successes too. We all need acknowledgement, but the most important acknowledgement is that which we give ourselves.
One of the most powerful ways to acknowledge and appreciate yourself is by doing the Mirror Exercise. This powerful exercise requires you to appreciate yourself for the day’s accomplishments while talking to yourself in a mirror. It may not feel natural at first to focus on appreciating what you already have, but by faithfully practicing the Daily Appreciation Habits outlined in this article, you’ll begin to change your conditioning.
* (Jack Canfield, America’s #1 Success Coach, is founder of the billion-dollar book brand Chicken Soup for the Soul® and a leading authority on Peak Performance and Life Success. If you’re ready to jump-start your life, make more money, and have more fun and joy in all that you do, get FREE success tips from Jack Canfield now at: www.FreeSuccessStrategies.com – See more at: http://jackcanfield.com/6-daily-gratitude-habits-that-will-attract-more-abundance-and-joy-into-your-life/#sthash.Vms3saVu.dpuf)
Start Small – Make Gratitude a Habit
I would suggest that you start small and try one or two of these steps until you feel they have become ‘habits’, then go on to add one or two at a time until you have incorporated all six into your daily life. My personal suggestion is to start first with #6 – when you can begin to genuinely appreciate yourself, it will be come much easier to appreciate those around you!
Thank you again for spending some time with me this week. Have a great weekend and be grateful for all that life provides!