🙏 How to practice gratitude

.lifestyle Dec 5, 2020

The first Thanksgiving was only eaten with spoons and knives. The pilgrims haven’t brought their forks and weren’t introduced until ten years later. I’m not a carnivore myself and can’t recall if I ever had oven-roasted turkey in my life. Now I’ll just go for the tofurky, thank you very much.

As the US recently celebrated Thanksgiving, it made me think about gratitude. Whether I believe it makes sense to be grateful by butchering turkeys and then the next day wake up to waste the money you don’t have, is irrelevant. I’ll merely focus on the gratitude part.

In itself, it’s a very noble idea. We all have something to be grateful for, and if you’re reading this, then chances are, you are more fortunate than 90% of the world’s population.

The more I study about intentional leadership and growth, the more I learned to appreciate the power and magic of gratitude. When you’re grateful for all your blessings, you also become humble, and with that, more empathic about the world around you. This fuels emotional intelligence, which is one of the core leadership skills.

Gratitude is sometimes represented as something occasional, something you are either born with (or not), but — practicing the growth mindset — it’s learnable.

I started learning to be more grateful through yoga and coaching. Vid, our yoga teacher, always finishes the practice with “Let’s say Thanks for everything we've got.” When you do that in a comfortable seated pose, after Shavasana, with your hands in front of your heart, eyes closed, mind calm; it’s so powerful. It goes deep into your conscience and - in a way — demonstrates respect for those who aren’t as fortunate.

During my sessions with coach Fabian, we discussed gratitude a lot. I felt that I could be more appreciative of the people around me, so he advised me to start a gratitude journal.

A simple daily practice with three bullet points about what I’m grateful for, what went well, and what to improve.

Some people like to opt for a specific template, an app, or a notebook. For me, it’s digital, and in the past, it used to be an Evernote template, nowadays it’s a Notion entry. You could also keep it in an email, Apple Notes, or Google Keep on your phone. Tools don’t even matter; it’s about consistency. They say it takes 21 days to form a habit, but my advice is to go after the Minimal Viable Commitment (MVC): one week.

Create a recurring reminder in your calendar, with seven repetitions, and stick to it. It’s not going to take you more than fifteen minutes to think about your day and write down a couple of short points.

Some people like to do it in the evenings, to reflect and have this as part of the wind-down routine. Combine it with a hot cup of herbal tea to turn it into your evening ritual.

Morning is also good because you get to start your day with gratitude and positivity. Find what works for you, Find Your Enough.

Don’t pressure yourself to do big things because — as I say in my book — life isn’t about the big milestones; life is all the days and weeks in between. And each day is about all the little things. The smiles, winks, nods, deep breaths, and yes — you should be grateful for your daily gratitude practice too.

Later, you mihgt want to add things to improve; fuckups if you want to call them like that. Listing the negatives has to come with ideas for improvement. And then following those ideas.

The positive side effect of this practice is getting it out. To release the pressure and motivate yourself to act and become more intentional about designing your life. Then just keep practicing kaizen —  small incremental continuous improvements —  and you’ll be on the right trend line.

I hope you’ll Find Your Enough.
Peter

Brene Brown's 2:53 on Empathy. 

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