Practicing the Practical Power of Gratitude

Practicing the Practical Power of Gratitude

By Jerry Posner www.jerryposner.com

Thanksgiving, 2009

I like easy ways to make life better … and I prefer “the specific” as opposed to “the vague.”

I like “cliché-like wisdom.” and I prefer stuff that works. That’s why I practice the practical power of gratitude!

“Practicing” strongly suggests “doing something” – not just once or twice, but repeatedly.

What to practice?

  1. FEELING GRATEFUL for the good things, the love, the laughs, the lessons, the people, the opportunities, the help, the stuff, the miracles, the food, the music, the technology, etc.
  2. EXPRESSING GRATITUDE for the good things, the love, the laughs, the lessons, the people, the opportunities, the help,    the stuff, the miracles, the food, the music, the technology, etc.

How do you FEEL when you feel grateful?

Happy? Peaceful? Blessed? Centered? Generous? Secure? Calm?

This year, when you have holiday dinner with family or friends, suggest that “we go around the table and everyone say one thing that we’re really, really thankful for.” It will invariably make everyone smile, and voila – a little more harmony, less bickering, better digestion, perhaps!

This works in business meetings as well. Start your meeting by going around the room and have everyone share one thing they love (or like) about their work. One technique I use is to ask the attendees to name the thing they would miss the most if they left. Often, the answer is “the people.”  And that makes “the people” feel good!

Thinking and expressing thankful thoughts, and amplifying feelings of gratitude can reduce stress … improve relationships … and minimize pettiness!

You can’t lose with gratitude!

Thank your customers, coworkers, friends, and family. Thank your vendors, suppliers, supporters and fans! Be liberal and generous with your gratitude.  Do it all year round.

Write yourself some gratitude-oriented “focus phrases” (reminders) on cards and sticky-notes, and put them where you’ll see them every day.

For example:

I CHOOSE TO EXPRESS GRATITUDE GENEROUSLY AND LIBERALLY.

I EASILY AND REGULARLY GIVE THANKS.

I FEEL GRATEFUL FOR ALL OF MY GIFTS AND BLESSINGS.

EXPRESSING GRATITUDE MAKES ME FEEL GOOD.

Because of others, we are where we are today. We’ve had LOTS of assistance. Do we remember? Are we thankful for them? Here’s a fun and enlightening “grati-tool” –- make a list of 15 people who have helped you get to where you are right now.

We might be reminded of that kind childhood neighbor, or high school guidance counselor whose caring changed the course of our life. When we remember how kind and generous people have been in our lives, we might be inspired to pass it on, or “pay it forward.”  We might even reclaim some memories of our personal history that we’d forgotten.

So, thank the people! Show some appreciation for them. Send thank-you notes. Tell the people you love, that you love them. Don’t wait until it’s too late.

If you want to better manage your moods and attitudes … if you want to be less cranky, less petty, and more openhearted … or if you want to experience your own point-of-view transformation, experiment with THE GRATITUDE BREAK. First, select something specific about your life that you are truly, deeply thankful for (person, condition, or thing). Then … close your eyes (not while you’re driving, please) and spend just one minute thinking about, and vividly imagining, that person, condition or thing. FEEL the gratitude as you visualize!

Try a gratitude break once a day, and see what happens! Twice a day would be an interesting experiment.

A favorite “grati-tool” is THE GRATITUDE JOURNAL (a.k.a. “Five Good Things”). Here’s what to do: every day (that would be DAILY), write down five things you are grateful for. They can be deep … shallow … serious … funny … spiritual … material.

Just list five things you’re grateful for on paper or computer. Not in your head. Write them down.

Over time, when you write your “daily five,” you’ll inevitably experience some awareness and behavior changes (and probably feel more happiness, too). Focusing attention on “your good stuff” every day, builds a habit of NOTICING MORE “good stuff” — and making choices RESULTING in more “good stuff!”

During challenging times, regular focus on gratitude can restore much needed balance. Not to deny the adversity, but to remember that there are wonderful things and opportunities available as well.

Make every day, a day of Thanksgiving. So many benefits … so small a cost!

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