Gratitude Now More Than Ever
Next Thursday in the United States we celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday. This is a time to gather with friends and family, share a traditional meal, and express gratitude for all that is good in life.
Gratitude is an emotional response to what you appreciate and is a choice you make. You can choose to be grateful…or not. That’s why a holiday to pause and be grateful is so essential.
While gratitude is an emotional response focusing on what you have, thankfulness is its outward expression. You may express thanks in words, gestures, a gift, or a warm embrace. The ritual of giving thanks further expands the feeling of gratitude.
Why is this so essential? Because gratitude is a light energy that softens your darker emotions, it becomes active when your heart is full of appreciation. It is the warmth that melts the ice that can rise from a heavy heart. With a softer heart, joy is let in through the gratitude door, generating energy that heals almost any drama and trauma.
How many times did you allow yourself to feel gratitude or joy in the last few days? You might be surprised that you are more grateful than you realize. Because the world news and social media are full of war, hate, violence, and scarcity, you may not appreciate how often you already feel gratitude. If you track how often you feel these lighter feelings, you will become more aware of them. As you become more aware of gratitude, it expands and has a stronger influence on your psyche.
Simply notice through your day when you smile at another, help someone in the grocery line, or are awed by the wonders of nature. When you emphasize and cultivate these moments, you are restoring your energy and literally changing the DNA structure throughout your body.
When you rest in the vibration of gratitude, you are shaping your mind to help keep your heart open and humble. Without gratitude, the grasping mind focuses on lack and limitation, which can lead to self-centeredness and feeling victimized by even the most mundane situations.
The late 19th century psychologist, Williams James, said: “My experience is what I agree to attend to. Only those items which I notice shape my mind.”
Researchers have found that increasing your awareness and focus on what you are grateful for, plus using fewer negative words when you speak and write, has the strongest positive impact on the brain.
In their study, they followed up six months later and found that the people who used words of gratitude—and caught and redirected their negative thoughts—had a lasting positive impact on their brain function. This lasting effect on the brain allows you to make better decisions and engage in more positive conversations.
Gratitude unlocks your joy, lightens your heart, and changes your brain for the good!
At work and home, become an advocate for focusing on what is working, rather than on what is not working. Consider starting your business meetings with a “gratitude practice.” This might be a moment to acknowledge a job well done or ask what has worked well since the last meeting. Clients report the mood of the meeting is more positive, people work better together, and conversations are more productive when meetings begin with a gratitude practice.
Choosing gratitude and letting go of negative words cultivates the shift from Victim to Creator. You will soon feel the joy rise within you and you will change your relationship with yourself, and seed more positive personal and working relationships.
Happy Thanksgiving! We are grateful for you.