We hear about the importance of gratitude everywhere...online, on social media, on podcasts, from friends...but what does it really mean, exactly? And why should we care?
The practice of gratitude has been around forever, but it only started resonating with me in the last few years. So often we focus on the negative in life because it's 1) easier and 2) our brain tends to focus on that more. In doing so we miss the small, lovely, important things in life!
I've never felt so much gratitude in my life as I have this year. First, being laid off my six figure job seemed like a huge slap in the face, but it turned into something beautiful! Of course I was stressed about being laid off, but rather than focus on the negative, I allowed myself one day to freak out, then I got moving.
I had been toying with the idea of starting my own business for awhile, and I took this as a major sign that now was the time! I repeated the mantra "Obstacles are detours in the right direction" and I moved on from there! Being laid off seemed like a HUGE obstacle, but once I re-framed my mind and recognized it as an opportunity, I no longer saw it as a negative.
Once I started to focus on starting my own business, my life completely changed. I feel happy and fulfilled every day because I'm waking up and working towards my OWN goals and my own future. Even though I'm in the beginning stages, every penny I make carries so much MORE meaning. I'm SO thankful for every $40 client call that comes my way, for every coin I find and any opportunity that comes my way .
Right now, I'm currently traveling in England. I planned this trip at the beginning of the year, before being laid off my job. I had a momentary freak out about the money I would spend on the trip, until I realized that I'm creating my dream job that will allow me to travel whenever I want and still be able to make money! So rather than try to cancel everything, I went ahead by myself and I've never felt better!
Something about this trip being the first one in the start of my new life makes me SO grateful for the fact that I can travel and stay and see beautiful places like this! Every silent walk, stumble on a path, a missed bus or getting lost all makes me so thankful for this beautiful life I live. I walk with gratitude, I feel gratitude and this feeling extends to how I act and carry myself. I speak with more kindness, I walk with more confidence and I feel so hopeful for the future. The people I've met and the connections I've made is just the beginning of my new life.
At the Cliffs of Beer on the Jurassic Coast, one of the most peaceful places in England!
Even the money I'm spending (it is England, after all) makes me SO GRATEFUL that I have money to spend on doing things I love! I know more money is coming my way and this is only a start to living my dream life!
Of course, creating a business and a life you love comes with hardships and frustrations, but I'd much rather be frustrated building a life and goals for myself, than dealing with frustration and hardship building someone else's life and working towards their goals.
Research shows that having a gratitude practice literally changes our brain activity and improves our mental health. Speaking from experience, I can 100% agree with this! It may seem trivial at first, but I highly recommend you try starting your own gratitude practice.
Two steps to a simple gratitude practice
If you're just starting out with a gratitude practice, you may not know where to begin.
Many people advise you to write out 5 to 10 things you are thankful for, either at the beginning of end of day. While this is a great practice, it can also get a bit monotonous and robotic. Yes, you're thankful for your car. Yes, you're thankful for a roof over your head and food to eat 🤷♀️🤷♂️.
What I like to do is take the typical gratitude writing practice up a notch, and here's how:
⭐ Every night, write down 3 things you're thankful for and why. Just 3! ⭐️ Next, write down three things that happened today which either made you laugh or smile. And write down why.
That's it! Just doing these 6 steps each night will not only help your gratitude practice, but it will help you be more present for every moment each day and more aware of small moments in our lives. 💏
It's so easy to forget the many small good things that happen and focus on the one negative. Doing this practice will help you focus on tiny things you may have forgotten and help you realize how grateful you are for the tiniest moments in our lives that bring a smile to our face, and help us focus on those rather than the negative. 😊
Try it for a week and watch your life change! 😃