Hey there, Easy Agers! Today, we are talking about gratitude. I'm going to be telling you a little bit about the wonderful and amazing benefits of having a daily gratitude practice. And then I'm going to give you five simple ways to incorporate this into your daily life. You ready to go? Let's get this party started... Alright!
Hey there, before I get started today, I wanted to remind you to go pick up your free gift at TheEasyAgingShow.com. You're going to get it. You're going to then have the opportunity to get a free call with me so we can do a little roadmap of what is next for you over the next month or two. So go ahead and pick it up at TheEasyAgingShow.com, okay?
I admit it. I've got a confession. I have been off my schedule lately. It has made me very, very cranky. I have been staying up too late. I have been working weird hours. I wake up always feeling behind, you know, like I can never catch up. It's like, "Oh my gosh, when is this going to end? When will I feel that moment of 'ahhhhh' that something's completed?"
So because of all that, because of being off my schedule, I became cranky. And when I became cranky, I realized I was not thinking of anything but myself...
I became a very self-centered, self-involved little girl. Yes, waa, waa, waa.
Now, I have a daily meditation practice and a big chunk of this is gratitude and appreciation. And when I get off my schedule, a lot of that gratitude and appreciation just goes flying out the window.
I don't know about you but boy, get me off my schedule and things are not good. So now that I'm back on my schedule, life is looking a lot brighter and I'm a lot happier person...and I'm not just being happy with myself. I'm being happy with other people around me. Thank heavens!
After going through all this, I thought it would be nice to share five simple ways to rev up your gratitude this holiday season. Now, I'm talking about the holiday season because I'm recording this Thanksgiving week and that seemed like an appropriate topic.
But honestly, if you want to rev up your gratitude, you can use these tips to help you at any time of the year. Finding gratitude is pretty straightforward once you know what to do and what to look for.
So before I get into the details of what these five simple ways are, I wanted to give you some of the benefits of gratitude. Physical benefits...Oh my goodness, I was so surprised to learn how many physical benefits can be attributed directly to gratitude. Because let me tell you, when I discovered that gratitude can help me strengthen my immune system, help me sleep better and help me have fewer aches and pains, I was all in. I mean, I didn't even blink. I said, "Okay, if that's what I can get from gratitude, then absolutely. I will be grateful every single day."
Those are just three of the physical benefits...
There are significantly more than what I just said.
Socially, gratitude can improve your social interactions. It'll can help you have better communication. It will give you more empathy which, during COVID, don't you think it's really important that we have more empathy than normal?
I was in the store the other day, and there was a woman who was just triggered by something. It just seemed so minor to me, but apparently she was just on edge. And when she started yelling and screaming at this other woman, I just sat there and I did have empathy for her. I had such compassion because we're all trying to get back to "normal," right? We're all trying to live our lives like they were before COVID and sometimes, normal can feel a little overwhelming right now. And I think that's exactly where she was.
I mean, she stormed out of the store and I just felt bad for her.
Another couple of things about gratitude: they increase your likeability and they help you have stronger relationships.
Gratitude can also help you be happier, more positive and experience increased self-satisfaction. And it also helps you be more aware and awake.
Now, you know I love this part. I talk about awareness so much because it's the first step in my three-part proprietary process, The ACE Approach, which stands for awareness, clarity, and ease. Awareness is first for a reason. It's not an accident that I talk about awareness so much. It's no accident that it's first. That's why you'll always hear me saying, "Alright, be aware, pay attention, be present, be aware of what's going on outside you and inside of you." I mean, it's so important for us to be aware.
I get into this more in my coaching sessions, but I've got to tell you: awareness is one of the key things that can make every single day feel more enriching and more fulfilling. And when you feel happy and content, gratitude will naturally well up inside of you. It's kind of like a loop.
If you express gratitude on a regular basis, you become more aware. But then if you're more aware, it's just going to make life better and that's going to create gratitude.
Now here's a really interesting fact: practicing gratitude daily can be a "natural antidepressant," and it can have the same effects as medication.
So those are some of the benefits of gratitude, but let's talk about the how: how do we find more gratitude in moments of our lives? Here are five simple ways to help you rev up your gratitude.
1. A gratitude journal. This is a fantastic way to remind yourself of things that you're grateful for. All you do is write down three things you're thankful for every morning or every night before bed. It's pretty simple.
2. Tell a friend, a family member or a colleague how much you appreciate them. The greatest thing about this is you're not just expressing gratitude and finding things to be grateful for. You're including somebody else and making them feel like a million bucks, don't you think? You can tell this person face-to-face, you can use the phone, you can text, you can email them but let me tell you — the best way to express appreciation to somebody is to send a handwritten note. And why is that? Because they're so rare. I mean, first of all, you're complimenting someone and making them feel good, but you're doing it in your own handwriting...
And you took the time to get a stamp. That may sound silly, but it is so amazing to receive this, this sweet note of maybe a sentence or two, maybe three sentences max, with someone telling you that they were thinking of you and that they really appreciate you.
3. Give yourself a big ol' pat on the back for something you did well or for something that you appreciate about yourself. Now I did this a lot when I got my braces off a few years ago. Yes, as an adult, I had the joy of going through braces... again. And it's just as exciting the second time as it was the first. ;)
So when I got my braces off, I was looking in the mirror every two to five minutes. I mean, I was just so fascinated with my smile and how straight it was and how pretty it was...
And I was like, "Oh my goodness, this is great!"
You know, I'd grin. I'd blow kisses at myself. I'd make faces in the mirror. And while that may sound ridiculous, there was also this other part of me that was saying, "You know what, Michelle? Well-done. You made the commitment."
It was a financial commitment as well as just a general commitment of my time and effort and you know, honestly, a little pain involved there. And I was proud of myself because I said, "I'm not going to do this halfway. I am going to get in there. I'm going to do everything the orthodontist tells me to do. And then I'm going to be done." And I did get out of my braces a couple of months early, thank you, thank you very much.
But I think whenever you do something well, you should just look at yourself in the mirror and just blow yourself a big ol' kiss because you deserve a pat on the back when you do something well, or when there's something amazing about yourself that you really appreciate.
Don't ever hold back with that, okay?
4. Find a gratitude buddy. Now you can design this however you want. Maybe you could send each other a daily text for 30 days. And in the text, all you're going to put is "I'm grateful for..." and then you fill in the blanks. This is a great way to get started, especially if you're doing it for 30 days. If you're going back and forth, there's some accountability there too. So it's a really fantastic way to get started if you've never done the gratitude practice before.
5. Create a gratitude jar. Now you can do this alone or with other family members. The way that I did it was: Every day, at the end of the day, I would write down at least one thing — I tried to get to three — but at least one thing I was grateful for that day, and I would date it and I would throw it in the jar.
And this jar was just one of those big wide mouth jars. It was fairly huge, probably like something you would buy peanuts in at Costco or something. And I just put a little strip of paper or a little card in there every single day, and I dated it.
If you are doing this with family members, make sure everyone dates and initials it so you'll know who was doing what. You don't have to do this every single day like I did. You could just say, "I'm going to do this three times a week."
But here's the coolest thing of all. It's not just taking the action of being grateful. At the end of the year — specifically on New Year's Eve — you're going to dump everything in that gratitude jar out on the table and just start reading. And let me tell you, this is such a gratifying experience in and of itself because it helps you remember what a great year it was.
It's fascinating how much we forget the little, small, sweet, mundane things of life that we can be grateful for. Even if it wasn't your best year, just pat yourself on the back for making the effort to find something good. You actively were out there finding the good, finding something to be grateful for, finding a way to express your gratitude in even the tiniest things.
So the main thing with all of these is to just keep it simple. And just as importantly, keep it consistent. The more consistent you are with this gratitude practice, the more you're going to appreciate it as it grows and grows. And then you're going to be finding more opportunities to weave this practice into your daily routine, because gratitude is one of the most refreshing things you can do for yourself throughout the entire year. To recap, here are the five simple ways to rev up your gratitude...
Number one is the gratitude journal. Number two is expressing appreciation to a friend, a family member or a colleague. Number three, giving yourself a pat on the back for something you did well or something you appreciate about yourself. Number four, find a gratitude buddy. And number five, create a gratitude jar.
I do hope you'll try at least one of these to see what's going to work best for you. Keep it simple. Don't make it too hard. Try one for 60 to 90 days. See how that feels; if you don't like it, try one of the other ideas.
So anyway, that's it for me today. Don't forget to pick up your free gift at TheEasyAgingShow.com and until next time, peace, love and blessings to you and yours. Take care. Bye-bye!