We all know how good it feels to be thanked for the things we do. Getting that thank you email from a friend is often enough to lift us up and energize us for the whole day! The irony in this magic formula is that it is actually the person doing the thanking that is getting the most out of this simple act. Being grateful changes how you feel about life.
Think of what you could do for yourself if you turned into a gratitude machine, pouring out your gratefulness 10 or 20 times a day. Now you might be thinking that sending out 20 thank you emails every day might be overkill. The thing is, it is not actually the physical sending of the thank you that generates the personal motivational jolt. This bump of energy comes from the self-reflective process and daily notetaking about the people, activities, and situations for which you are grateful.
Even though "counting your blessings" on a daily basis may sound simple enough, the power of it can escape us. We fail to capitalize on this free source of self-motivation and revitalized enthusiasm for life. To stay connected to your gratitude comes down to three simple things:
- Make it a ritual Set up a time to be by yourself. We're not talking about hours here because it could be as little as five to 15 minutes. Just enough time for you to pause and reflect about anything and everything in your life that you are grateful for. Do this by reflecting on a daily inventory and then write down at least 10 things for which you are grateful. It can be as easy as a bullet point list. Chances are, after the first few times of making this effort you will feel inspired to start a gratitude journal. It is always surprising to look back over your wealth of goodness, especially when you are having a down day. It reminds you of what you have to be grateful for in your life!
- Be open to the truly amazing simple goodness in your life The key here is to be open to even the small things in your world that make it a better place. You will find amazement at what shows up in your life. I started this process by remembering that I have comfy slippers to wear on cold winter mornings. Then I remembered the smile on my daughter's face when I pick her up from dance class. Next, I was grateful for the delicious soup that my partner whipped up last night. Once you give yourself permission to take inventory of the literally hundreds of miracles that greet you daily, your energy for life can't help but blossom.
- Spread the word Once you have had a chance to open the door to the energy of gratitude you can amplify it by sharing the idea with others. You will thank people for large physical acts such as throwing your 30th birthday party and you will acknowledge those small acts of generosity that fill your life, like being grateful for your partner for taking out the garbage or your colleague bringing you a morning tea. When we start sharing our gratitude daily we experience more acts of kindness directed our way. When this happens the miracle starts to explode and we see energy of gratitude coming back at us from everywhere. The hardest thing about tapping into this quiet secret of self-motivation is just getting started. Once you start using this powerful, energizing tool, you can lift yourself from the doldrums to a place of endless enthusiasm for life and boundless joy every day.