We've heard it a million times, but that doesn't mean it's not worth saying again. There's a ton of research out there about gratitude and having some type of gratitude practice.
But one thing I would like to touch on is that when we are grateful, we feel it in our heart, mind and body. Feeling grateful in a moment is a way to turn on happiness. When we feel happiness in the present moment, we literally turn on different parts of our brain to function at a higher level.
Shawn Achor of Harvard University said "If you can raise somebody's level of positivity in the present, then their brain experiences what we now call a happiness advantage, which is your brain at positive performs significantly better than at negative, neutral or stressed. Your intelligence rises, your creativity rises, your energy levels rise. In fact, we've found that every single business outcome improves." If that isn't reason enough to find solid reasons to feel positive emotions on a daily basis, I don't know what is.
In Brene Brown's book The Gifts of Imperfection, she talks about how important it is to cultivate gratitude and joy by letting go of the scarcity mentality that often takes over us before we even get out of bed in the morning. We have an underlying belief in almost everything we do that we don't have enough, enough time, money, power, profits etc. and this belief just makes us feel like we need more of everything before we can feel better. She says that “We’re a nation hungry for more joy: Because we’re starving from a lack of gratitude.” The way to feel more joy in our lives isn't to get more of any of these things, it's pausing for a moment to see the sufficiency we already have.
We truly do have the capacity to shift into a mind-set of sufficiency in any moment if we choose to. We can feel the power of this change as we look for things in our everyday lives to be grateful for. We will be able to access ourselves at a higher level as we take time to realize the things we are grateful for.
This is why we are going to take one minute every day during this challenge to write down three things you are grateful for that day. They can be silly and small, or bigger things, but try to be creative and not write down the same few things every day.
This is one of my favorite things to do right before getting into bed, but you can choose any anchor moment in your day. What will your anchor moment be to practice gratitude?
I could share tons of actual scientific research on this topic, but I'll spare you, the only thing you need to know is that as you start to practice gratitude, you will get better at looking for things to be grateful for. The more little moments of joy you will experience and the more likely you will be to share that joy with the people around you.
How will you celebrate your habit of taking a moment to practice gratitude? I love just taking a deep breath and thinking, I am following through with this commitment to myself.
Good luck as you think about how you will cultivate this tiny habit into your day during this challenge.