Gratitude is a Powerful Force!

Gratitude helps you growMany people are in a gratitude mode during the days of November leading up to Thanksgiving. The real challenge for some of us is to carry it beyond that day as so much around us switches to Christmas and beyond. The pressure increases to purchase, produce events, perform in many ways, and it is easy to lose our attitude of gratitude! I invite you to pledge to yourself to carry that attitude through the entire holiday season and into the new year. I believe it can have benefits for you during this busy, demanding time of year.

So often these days, the negative is sensationalized and the positive is ignored. You see it in the news, in magazines and newspapers. You hear it in the grocery store, at work and even from family and friends. All this negativity can be overwhelming to the point of wearing a person down.

It can be really difficult to avoid feeding into all of it. If you’re focusing on the negative rather than the positive, you are doing yourself a serious disservice. You are harming your emotional wellbeing as well as your physical body. You could be straining your relationships, hurting your career and much more.

Use this FREE 30-Day Gratitude Journal to get your started with this practice. http://carolbrusegar.com/30daygratitudejournal

Each day there will be a reflection on a particular topic and an invitation for you to write about it – brief or extensive, it’s up to you. This format will take you deeper on 30 topics, and you of course can add other things that come to mind. There are blank pages at the back of the journal for that purpose. It’s your journal to use as you wish! Print it out and decide on a time of day to use it for the next 30 days.

DOES THIS WORK?

Maybe you are skeptical about the hype you hear about the positive effects of gratitude. By incorporating gratitude you will find a new or renewed balance and energy. Gratitude is an emotion that comes from appreciation. It’s an awareness, a thankfulness for the good things in your life, in you and in the world around you. Gratitude is a powerful thing. It can turn a negative into a positive. It can be the fuel for taking on things that are important to you with renewed energy. It can change how you feel inside. It can bring hope and happiness. It can improve your health, your relationships, your career and your ability to make a difference in the world. It can literally transform your life.
When you express gratitude, it diminishes the negativity in a powerful way. Studies show that practicing gratitude leads to:

• A feeling of optimism, joy and satisfaction.
• Less stress, anxiety and depression.
• A strengthened immune system.
• Lower blood pressure.
• The ability to bounce back quicker after a traumatic event.
• Stronger relationships.
• A feeling of being connected to your community.
• Feeling less victimized by others or by life.
• Being able to recognize and appreciate what you have rather than what you don’t.
• Becoming more compassionate and empathetic.
• A better quality and more rewarding life.

Access your FREE 30-Day Gratitude Journal here: http://carolbrusegar.com/30daygratitudejournal

Practicing gratitude changes your perspective on life. Whether you choose to journal in the morning, or at night, or both, is up to you. Choose a time and be consistent. Spend a few minutes thinking and writing about the topic of the day. May this become a habit that goes far beyond the 30 days! I believe you will see some great results.

Gratitude: Beyond Lists to In-The-Moment

gratitudeFar too often in our striving to improve, to stretch, to reinvent parts of our lives, we forget to be grateful for who we are and what surrounds us. In our focus on the future, we neglect the present.

Many of the gratitude exercises and practices I have heard of and practiced are of the reflecting and listing type. For example, at the end of each day, write down 5 things for which you are grateful. In fact, I encourage such practices, as in this blog post: Gratitude as the Overriding Tone of Your Life. I recognize the value of them and also am glad to learn of another way of having a sense of gratitude infuse the day and form the foundation of all we do.

David Cain, in “Gratitude Comes From Noticing Your Life, Not From Thinking About It” provides inspiration for this practice.

Gratitude, when we do genuinely feel it, arises from experiences we are currently having, not from evaluating our lives in our heads. When you feel lonely, for example, simply remembering that you have friends is a dull, nominal comfort compared to how wonderful it feels when one of those friends calls you out of the blue. Reflecting on the good fortune of having a fixed address is nice, but stepping inside your front door after a cold and rainy walk home is sublime.

 

The experience, not the idea, is what matters. So if you want to feel grateful, forget the thinking exercises. Look for your good fortune not in some abstract assessment of your life situation, but in your experience right in this moment. What can you see, feel, hear, or sense, right here in the present, that’s helpful, pleasant, or beautiful?

Often our push toward change we are acting out of dissatisfaction, which can be a powerful motivator. If, however, we are at the same time acknowledging and feeling gratitude for things in our present moment, it is a much more powerful position from which to move forward. It also calms us and reduces the stress caused by dissatisfaction, thus freeing up energy for moving forward into our intended future. I am not quite ready to “forget the thinking exercises” as David suggests, but I will add this practice to my days and encourage you to try it too.

In addition to this simple and profound practice, I invite you to check out this extremely helpful book, Unlock Your Ideal Self, Transformation From Within by Dennis Becker. Gratitude is among the topics covered. This is indeed a handbook that you can refer to again and again.

Transforming Your Years After 50: What if Gratitude Were the Overriding Tone of Your Life?

Daily Gratitude Practice
If you are not already doing this, start a daily practice of writing a Gratitude List and really monitor how it changes your attitude. It’s very simple and most effective it you use a journal (a simple notebook is fine, or a folder in your computer) rather than scattered pieces of paper. That’s because looking back over a month, or a quarter, or a year can take you to a whole new level of gratitude. And if you don’t make it easy for yourself to do it, guess what? It likely won’t be done.

Write down 5-10 things every day for which you are grateful. If you’re not used to doing this, you may start with 5 per day; expand from there to 10 as you get into the rhythm of it. They don’t have to be huge things; in fact if you get into the habit of expressing gratitude for small things, it’s even more powerful.

Include things that you are grateful about in yourself. They may be attributes or attitudes; they may be things you did or didn’t do. As you make the change from employed to retired, measures of accomplishment and self-worth inevitably change. This is a way to acknowledge yourself in this new stage of transforming your years after 50.

Writing these down at the end of the day is most beneficial as you more easily remember the day. It puts you in a positive state of mind that will lead to sleep. It just wraps up the day in a lovely package.

Gratitude as a Tool for Specific Situations

What I’ve just described is a Daily Gratitude Practice. You can also use the technique any time you are facing a situation about which you are ambivalent or conflicted. For example, list all of the things for which you’re grateful related to the change in this new state of life: I have time for myself and my interests; I can do things more spontaneously; I can explore new hobbies and interests; and so on. You will note that these are all stated as positive statements, not the lack of the negative (I don’t have to be available for taxiing kids around all the time). This can change your feelings about a situation, or perhaps identify an aspect of it that you do want to change in some way.