Gratitude, as you know by now, actually changes your brain. The regular practice, as with meditation, calms the amygdala and strengthens your executive functioning, decision making, ability to see people as individuals and not the enemy, thus enhancing wisdom and insight.
I hope you were able to at least use the calendar I sent you in January as a guide to stretch yourself a bit and expand your thoughts about different ways to experience gratitude. Often, once we develop a practice, it becomes rote and we think the same things over and over again, thinking we are doing something good for ourselves.
Yes, any practice of gratitude is better that none. However it’s important to not get stuck in a thanksgiving rut, like we were taught as children when we pray, “God bless mommy and daddy and brother and sister and grandma and grandpa….” We can do that in our sleep and it becomes a habit rather than a life changing ritual. Again, it’s better that nothing. Just like telling people you love them can become a rote saying that rolls off your tongue as you run out the door, but really has no genuine thought or emotion behind it.
We need to slow ourselves down and become connected to the thoughts we choose to have and the emotions we mean to convey to others. We need to be diligent about our connection to our Creator and the practice of gratitude, never allowing it to become stale.
One way to do that with a Gratitude Practice (Principle #6 in a life of Zentivity™) is to slow down and pick apart what we are saying. Instead of “Thank you for my children,” stretch it out. Specify. Thank you for Greg, Heather, David, Rob, Drew, Ben, Bethany, Becca. Then stretch it out further: Thank you for that note from Greg, that time spent with Heather, the surprise visit from David. Stretch it out further, by including the loving way they communicate with their families: thank you for the way Drew takes his kids out on individual dates, thank you for how thoughtful David is with the way he includes everyone when he is talking.
We could even move on by just sitting where you are and thanking God for everything you see and why. I am sitting in the kitchen at my computer and just being here, could take me a week to get to everything: My computer and how it enables me to communicate with you or how it helps me market my business, or helps me encourage others. How it helps me keep up with my kid’s activities when they are busy, reminds me how precious my grandchildren are, pings me when I have an appointment…etc. And I haven’t even start with the actual kitchen gadgets: A faucet that brings me hot and cold water, a Keurig that makes me a cup of coffee in an instant…ahhhh…coffee. Thank you for coffee and the way the smell is so comforting…and I haven’t even gotten to bacon!
If we each became more conscious of HOW we are grateful, we would create a lifestyle the digs deep into our souls and keeps us aware of what a blessed life we lead, which in turn focuses our thoughts away from our obsession with guilt and blame and problems.
You have the power to change your life through the principles we teach, to a life of power and peace and joy bringing you more productivity and a happier disposition, constantly moving toward your dreams, choosing only thoughts that move you closer and dispelling thoughts that drag you down.
Let me know how it goes! Share your thoughts and experiences below.