A few months ago, I noticed one of the tomato plants in my little urban garden had grown past the small wire structure I had built for it. The branch started to drag, the stem was bent, and the tomato on the end of the branch began to whither. I immediately ran to the garden store to create a larger, stronger structure – taped the stem back together – and voila! Soon, more tomatoes began appearing. Small green beads at first quickly grew into nourishing red plumps of deliciousness!
Surprised at how well the plant responded to my harried repair, I realized how similar life is to my little tomato plant. Our stems are growing fast, and it’s hard to keep up. But when we take the time to notice the things supporting us in our life and acknowledge our thanks, we too can blossom and thrive. The benefits of gratitude create a foundation from which great things grow.
But how do we create habits of gratitude?
Recently, I was mentoring someone who lamented about not getting the level of support that she felt like she “should” have from her family. Yet, there were incredible support systems she was surrounded with, people all around her cheering for her, meetings she was invited to but not attending. People were literally throwing themselves at her in support – all of which she could barely see the benefits of because she was so busy worrying about what she wasn’t getting.
It reminded me of so many times when I couldn’t see what all that was right about something going on in my business, and could only hyper-focus on the pieces that weren’t working. Which in turn created more energy around what wasn’t working, and in turn generated more negative outcomes. Because in life we steer where we stare. Once I learned how to be appreciative for all that was positive, mainly through a disciplined gratitude practice, abundance began to flow.
Studies show that a daily gratitude practice is the single easiest and quickest way to shift our overall level of happiness and produce the greatest results in our business. Being grateful for what we have, instead of focusing in what we do not, enhances our relationships, businesses, and level of life satisfaction. Nothing, absolutely nothing, takes us from grim to joyful as quickly as gratitude.
In our busy lives – how to we make room for gratitude? Here are a few ways:
1. Make it a habit: I write my three most grateful moments in this journal every night which takes all of about three minutes. And once you do something for 30 days, it becomes habit.
2. Schedule time: In the last few years I realized I not only need to schedule blocks of time with other people when I would like to discuss a topic, but I needed to do it with myself as well! I use my ideal week calendar to determine which days and times I’ll spend journaling about gratitude.
3. Focus on the positive: Choosing in each moment what to focus on is also an incredible way to shift your gratitude.
Are you upset that you must endure a hardship, or are you optimistic about what that challenge teaches you?
Are you thankful for someone’s gift to you (time, money, support), or are you resentful that the gift wasn’t delivered in the exact way you had hoped?
Are you grateful for a situation that pushes towards a new idea, or new truth about yourself, or upset about how uncomfortable that makes you?
Are you upset that someone let you down, or are you grateful that they were honest with you about their feelings?
Gratitude makes everything and anything possible. There might be some days that it’s hard to find something to be grateful for, but if you can find one small thing… even if it’s a pretty leaf you saw on your way to your car, your mind shifts into a part of your brain that immediately induces joy. Make this a daily habit, and suddenly joyfulness goes from being elusive to every-present in your life.
Question: What ways do you introduce more gratitude into your daily life? You can leave a comment by clicking here.