As Thanksgiving approaches, it is a time regardless of religion, political participation, gender, race or any other difference that might set us apart at any given time, we come together in thanks. Conditioning yourself to focus on gratitude daily will support you in managing your energy. You may have heard me say before, 80% of our time management comes from managing HOW we show up for the time we have.
Gratitude is powerful and productive. Gratitude is one of the secret time management tips. Believe it or not, gratitude helps you increase focus, enhance resiliency, be more value-oriented, build confidence. Gratitude is a best practice of highly successful, productive people.
I would like to share with you how it impacted me by putting gratitude into practice at one of the hardest times of my life.
One day unexpectedly my husband of 15 years tells me he doesn’t love me anymore. This was like an arrow to my heart. How do you stop loving? What did this mean? What about the kids, who were one and three? What impact with this have on them? Regardless of all these questions and emotions circling around me, I felt numb.
Skipping through a few of the details that are not relevant to the story, we decided on divorce. I had shared the details of the situation with a close friend and their advice was that I should get a journal and write down everything that he did me wrong. Really? Is that healing?
That didn’t feel right to me, although those bad things might be true those are not the things that I wanted to focus on. That would leave me focused on only the bad things and put me in an aggressive state towards him. That would certainly reflect well upon my children. I owed them more than that, and in reality, after 15 years of loving my husband, I owed him more than that as well.
After listening to an Oprah Super Soul Sunday with Sara Breathnach, Author of Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy, I was moved by what was being discussed about the power of gratitude in creating emotional abundance in our lives, so I decided to use that journal to focus on gratitude. Every day, morning and night, I would write down 3 things I am grateful for. The reality is, some days it was very hard to find things that I was grateful for. At first, I really had to stretch to define three things to write about. The good thing is it got easier as I started to practice focusing on my gratitude. Soon, I could find gratitude in the little things that are all around me and they made me happy.
I also realized that I could focus on the gratitude that I had for my soon to be ex-husband for all the good that came out of our relationship. If you really stretch yourself you’ll see in those difficult situations there are also many more positive influences that have come out of a relationship or situation and all you need to do is to recognize and focus on it. If you don’t allow yourself to see the good side, you won’t. If you need to start with the bad, just make sure you make a list of all the good that came from the situation too. How did you change for the better as a result? Who did you become? What new relationships were formed? What is now important to you? Stretch yourself to really see the good too.
Our divorce process went smoothly and quickly (as possible) and we supported the kids by being respectful, friendly and amicable. It means I focused on what I was grateful for out of the relationship and was able to respect him for those things and in-tern never spoke badly about him in front of the kids. Most importantly I kept myself away from a large part of the stress of such a situation. I’m not saying I didn’t have any stress, but gratitude supported me like a best friend along the way. I actually often felt at peace in the eye of the storm. I surprised myself at times and others couldn’t understand it.
So my point that I’m sharing with you today is that it is wonderful to have days that represent Thanksgiving, and at the same time we need to appreciate that gratitude and collaboration are an everyday necessity for success and happiness. Even more so with the political divide we have in the country today after the Election of Donald Trump and the unproductive emotion that has proceeded.
Gratitude can transform your energy in an instant. Productivity in all meanings of the word is a byproduct of your state of mind as it affects how you show up for your time. With gratitude, you can eliminate the time wasters of stress, doubt, worry, fear, sadness, shame and more.
Think about it for yourself for a moment. When you are in a grateful state of mind think about how you interact with others even in difficult situations? How do you behave when you’re stuck in traffic? How do you behave when your children act up? How do you behave when the economy turns down or money is tight? How do you behave when there is a conflict in your team or relationship?
Gratitude sets you free from stress and increases resiliency. Just like my story in the beginning of this article, we can always find something to be grateful for and by shifting our focus into gratitude we open ourselves up to all that is good in ourselves and others. Gratitude makes us forgiving, courageous, respectful, confident, loving, and among other things inner peace. Gratitude magnifies the good and blocks the toxic.
It may also be true that there are things in your life that are not good, you can’t control your conditions all the time, but you can control how you respond to it . Rise above. It is your choice which one you want to focus on and how you want to feel. I know that is easier said than done. Dig down to the best part of yourself and just do it.
In my story, it wasn’t as much for me as it was for my children. Who would benefit when you live in a state of gratitude versus stress? Whose lives do you touch on a daily basis that would be influenced, inspired, motivated by you and the way you show up?
This holiday season make a commitment to focus on gratitude
not just for the holidays, but for every day.
Here’s how you can integrate it into your everyday life-style.
- Gratitude Journal: Get a journal and allocate just 2-5 minutes to write down before you go to bed or when you wake up every day what you are grateful for that day.
- Tell Someone: Tell others how grateful you are to have them in your life and why. Send a letter or make a call once a week for no other reason other than to tell someone what a difference thy make/made in your life. This can create a major boost of happiness to you and the receiver.
- Dinner Grace and Gratitude: At dinner time with your family go around the table and say what you’re grateful for that day. Celebrate gratitude.
- Bedtime Stories: Before bed, when you’re talking your kids and have them tell you a story that represents your gratitude for a situation or person or you tell them one.
- Meditation: Do a gratitude meditation when you wake up in the morning. For Example: Hold your hand on your heart and say “Thank You, Thank You, Thank You”. feel your physiology shift and then say out loud a few of the things that you’re grateful for and in the session with “Thank You, Thank You, Thank You”. Tony Robbins has a beautiful priming exercise that includes gratitude, click here to download.
- Create a Gratitude Jar: Create strips of paper in it with topics such as the economy, nature, goods and services, food, and other categories that could represent areas that you’re grateful for. At the table with your family, pick out a category and go around the table to say what you’re grateful for out of that category.
By implementing any of these or any other ideas you have around expressing gratitude on a daily basis, you are conditioning yourself to focus on gratitude. It will make it that much easier when times get tough because you already have that muscle and mentality.
It has made a difference in how I live my life, where and how I focus my energy. Increased my confidence, gives me greater strength, courage and dedication as well as reduces distraction, increase focus and makes me more creative. I am sure I could give you more ways the regular practice of gratitude has helped me, but you will have to see for yourself.
Please share this article if you believe that gratitude has power and you want to help others to create a daily practice.