Gratitude is not an emotion our brain naturally finds useful. Our brains purpose is to seek out comfort and joy and watch for any danger or trouble that might get in the way of those feelings. The ironic part is because it is so focused on looking for what is wrong it misses so many of the amazing and good things in our world. You give energy to the things you focus on, and when you boost your attitude with gratitude you attract more goodness in your life. To help redirect your brain’s focus there are three things you can do today to allow you to experience the world in a fresh new way.
Writing is Wisdom
We’ve talked about the process and benefits of writing in a gratitude journal. Research continues to back up the powerful process of what writing does to your brain. Have you considered how writing can help others? Sharing your written words of appreciation in a note or text message can have an even bigger impact than journaling has for you personally. I love little surprises in my mailbox! It really brightens my day and the positive vibes are far-reaching.
A personal note or message goes a long way to show you care. Words have meaning, but it’s often said that actions speak louder. The recipient of your note will be surprised to receive it. A positive surprise almost always improves someone’s day and mood. This can be especially impactful if you intentionally send your message to someone you know is going through a rough patch. Regardless, this small gesture will go far to strengthen existing bonds because it’s such a customized act. When people feel a personal attachment, they tend to experience feelings of closeness and meaning. Your written acknowledgment of their importance in your life will surely affect your relationship in a positive way.
Here are some Ideas to Get You Started:
♥ Drop a post-it note of love in your child’s lunchbox
♥ Slip a little love letter into your significant other’s coat pocket
♥ Send your colleague an email thanking them for their assistance
♥ Mail your best friend a funny card with a personal note of appreciation just because
♥ Text a note of support to a friend on a difficult day
♥ Give your doctor or other professional a written message of thanks for their service
♥ Write a letter to a loved one expressing your indebtedness
This is just a short list to get your creative juices flowing. Think about someone from your past, older relatives, neighbors, kids’ teachers and other meaningful people in your life as recipients for your words of gratitude.
Power of Prayer
The process of praying helps us slow down, be quiet, and focus our thoughts. Prayer redirects our brain to be quiet, to think about specifics in your life, and evaluate the good and the bad. It involves time for silent reflection focusing your thoughts on being grateful for the particulars in your life, even the ones seeming not so positive.
I’ve not only found answers as I’ve prayed but discovered blessings amid the trials in my life. Not everything is meant to make us happy 100% of the time. If we never knew sadness we wouldn’t recognize joy. And even the hardest lessons have a silver lining – growth, learning, and wisdom. The more we use prayer to focus on the good amid the bad the smaller and more insignificant the hard times seem to become.
Short, concise and positive sentences meant to purposefully affect the way you think and feel about yourself are considered affirmations. Our thoughts have a powerful influence on our emotions and actions. Introducing positive messages into our thought process on a regular basis helps us internalize them and begin living accordingly. When we pair our affirmations with appreciation we dramatically improve their effectiveness. Don’t get me wrong — these are not thoughts of pride and vanity — these are thoughts about how you appreciate the way God created you.
‣I’m smart ‣I’m easy going ‣My body is exactly the way it is meant to be ‣I don’t get easily stressed ‣I’m healthy ‣I am a good organizer
Create affirmations to help you feel good about yourself while at the same time giving the credit to God and the way he created you. Just like a piece of property that increases in value with time, as we appreciate our self, our perceived value also increases.
You can also appreciate things other people do for you. It will feel good and give the credit to the person who provided the service to you. You can appreciate anything in your life or your world. It’s a good practice, but even more powerful when you appreciate YOU and all the good about you.
There are so many ways to boost your attitude with gratitude. Using your words, practicing the power of prayer and using appreciative affirmations are just a few. The more we focus on the good around us the more we seem to discover.
I was reminded the other day of the old adage “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” I have heard it for years, but my friend Melanie of Melanie’s Library had a great way of explaining it.
Practicing gratitude is like adding sugar to our lemons. Together they become a sweet and refreshing treat creating a more positive attitude and perspective on life.
How are you doing with our gratitude challenge? Tell us about some of the lessons you’re learning in the comments below.
It’s not too late to join our Month of Gratitude Challenge. If you would like weekly encouragement to invite more gratitude into your life sign up below. You can also join our Facebook group and get a daily dose in your news feed.