strengthening gratitude - woman looking at roses

Strengthening Gratitude Brings an Abundance of Benefits – PS 81

Introduction

Today’s show is the second in my new series focussing on boosting Positivity.  I introduced this new effort last week.  In a nutshell I’ve created 5 short episodes which will be aired weekly with the specific focus on deepening positivity.  My hope is that  you’ll find these short episodes great reminders of what is to be appreciated in life.  What provokes you to feel alive and engaged and connected with your world.  I’m not sharing anything ground-breaking or new.  I offer what you know already:  simple day to day actions  that with practice become habits; and the more you practice, the more you will become competent and these positive practices will be more deeply integrated into your being.  

The goal is that you’ll build your ability to increase positive feelings in your immediate situation. All you have to do is try them out and trust yourself to experience something so easy and natural that can change your life.

Strengthening Gratitude

The habit I invite you to focus on in this episode is strengthening gratitude.

I use also the word gratefulness along side gratitude.  I was inspired after listening to my favorite podcast On Being with Krista Tippet.   The Benedictine monk,  Bros David Steindl-Rast was a guest. Gratefulness/ gratitude has been a major focus of  his  life’s work.   His 2013 TED talk, on the subject has had over 6 million view.  He stands with other spiritual teachers, and scientists that provide evidence that gratitude is  a key to human well-being and flourishing.

Quoting from the website Gratefulness.org:

“Grateful living is a way of life which asks us to notice all that is already present and abundant – from the tiniest things of beauty to the grandest of our blessings – and in so doing, to take nothing for granted. We can learn to focus our attention on, and acknowledge, that life is a gift.”

Why gratitude as one of the positive emotions to strengthen?

Showing gratefulness is right up there when it comes to boosting your positivity, because when you experience gratefulness from the heart, it comes out of genuine appreciation.  You feel you have been given a gift or recognition of some kind.  And you respond with gratefulness.

I share the story of a phone conversation with a dear friend.  During the call she said some wonderful things about my work, which brought out deep gratitude in me.  In that feeling of gratefulness, I was deeply touched and felt so appreciated and heard.  I felt I had been given a gift and recognition. It’s not that such acknowledgement was needed or asked for, but it came from my friend who  cared to say such kinds things to me from her heart. She didn’t have to say such profoundly kind things, and  I know how she means it.

And the gratitude was reciprocated.  After she had shared with me that she has just finished writin a book, with Cathy, I was delighted and commented that from my experience of her she was right on topic with her book, and all that she was doing was so authentically her.  She expressed her gratitude for the recognition that came from my heart.  

strengthening gratitude - fruits at market

We also reflected on a number of  challenges and pains we had individually experienced throughout the year, yet with hindsight, we saw the gift in those challenges and expressed our gratitude for the lessons and the growth.

In those shared moments, the gratefulness is like a warm wash of feelings akin to a quiet joy that comes from feeling valued by another – and that could be just being heard, or acknowledged in some way.  It could be “she gets me.””

My story is just one example of experienceing gratitude.  This kind is about feeling connected to someone or something beyond yourself that prompted you to feel the gratitude.

And, of course gratitude is also about you alone and what you give gratitude for in your daily life.

How might we show our gratitude?

  • A great start is to just reflect on the small stuff.  What are you grateful for?  Stop to smell the roses, as they say.  I know I am grateful for a good night’s sleep.  I am grateful for my morning walks.  I am grateful for my first cup of tea.  It’s as simple as that.  I don’t take those things for granted.  
  • I’ve had hard things happen in my life.  I was ill with stage 4 cancer.  I experienced a painful divorce.  I’ve had up and downs, like all of you.  It isn’t a prerequisite that you have to have had a whole bunch of adverse events in your life to make you grateful.  
  • People who lose their homes through floods or fires or hurricanes, express gratitude for their lives. You might express gratitude if you haven’t had any real disasters in your life up to this point.  

What’s the practice?

  •  Start to notice the small things that you value and appreciate in life.  
  • It’s almost like the sweet, little things that also put a smile on your face.
  • A great practice many people adopt is to start a gratitude journal.  You write down the things you are grateful for on a day to day basis.  One way is overnight before you sleep, you reflect back over your day and jot down the things you are grateful for that day.  
  • The more you start to notice and record, the more you’ll find.  
  • Develop the practice to strengthen the state of gratitude. A favorite saying is “What you focus on grows.”  
  • When you focus on what you’re grateful for, you’ll notice how much there really is to be grateful for.

Thrugh the coming week, hone your focus on the words on gratefulness.org to

take nothing for granted. You can learn to focus your attention on, and acknowledge, that life is a gift.”

Link with Robyn

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