Sat, 28 March 2015
It’s all very well knowing gratitude is the best attitude but how do we actually do it – how do we do gratitude? Because we’re not talking about noticing a lot of nice things today that make us feel all warm and fuzzy and then forgetting it all for the next month. That’s not going to help us much.
And the evidence tells us that gratitude and appreciation are helpful to us.
They make us feel happier right now, and in our lives in the future, they put us in a good place from which to make the changes we want.
As we mentioned last week, by deliberately seeking out gratitude filled moments you train your mind to be on the look out for more.
An article by Eric Barker in TIME Magazine this week ‘Here’s How to Scientifically Train Your Mind to Be Happy’ talked about the very same thing.
He wrote that training your mind to look for errors and problems (as happens in careers like accounting and law) can lead to a pervasive pessimism that carries over into your personal life.
Yet these negative ways of thinking can be overcome by training your brain to seek out the good things in life. Primarily through counting your blessings day by day, i.e. practicing gratitude and appreciation. Alongside using retrospective judgement, basically putting a positive spin on negative past events to remember the good, and expecting things to get better because optimism can make you happier.
Cultivating the habit of gratitude
And the key to getting the benefits of gratitude and appreciation is to make a habit of our gratitude.
So how do we do that? Well how do we make any habit? We practice it (either intentionally or not) by doing it over and over again, until with repetition it becomes ingrained in our mind.
But how do you practice gratitude and doesn’t that sound a bit like hard work?
OK so like most things worth doing in life it might take a little effort. And we’re certainly not saying we have this perfected ourselves by any means. But we’re trying it – we think it’s worth the effort and we invite you to try it out for yourself too.
After all what have you got to lose? Feeling better about your life and the world, enjoying and making the most of your life, and having a positive impact on those around you as you’re happier in yourself.
The appreciation list
The most simple straightforward way to kick start your gratitude habit is to write down 3 new things you are grateful for and appreciate each day.
And if you want to really supercharge the launch of your gratitude habit then start your appreciation list with 10 new things you appreciate every day.
Do this every day for 30 days and by the end of a month you’ll have a list of the 300 items, people, experiences, and sensations you’ve appreciated on purpose. And reading through this is sure to make you feel good.
Hear us talk about all of this and more on ways to turn gratitude from a few nice thoughts every once in a while to a mind management technique that works. Listen to episode 34 of The Changeability Podcast.
Resources and links mentioned in this post and podcast episode 34:
Sat, 21 March 2015
If you want to jump out of bed in the morning shouting ‘I love my life’ at the top of your voice (and mean it) - the time and place to start is here and now.
It’s brilliant to have a vision of how you want life to look – and goals to get you there.
It’s great to use tools like affirmations and visualization to put you in the right frame of mind to achieve those goals.
But it’s not just about looking forward to happiness in some future time.
It’s about where you are now, being happy with who you are and what you have now.
And this is where gratitude is the best attitude kicks in.
Gratitude and appreciation give you a simple yet amazing mind management tool with the power to change how you feel right now and carry you forward towards your goals.
Gratitude is one of the universal themes from our shared experience of what it means to be human.
It crosses cultures, gender and age, and features in the world’s great religious traditions.
Every language in the world has a way of saying ‘thank you’.
But despite the fact it’s easy to say, and we throw out cursory ‘thank you’s everyday, it’s not so easy to feel and experience.
To make gratitude a deliberate part of our daily lives takes practice.
So is it worth it?
Psychologists have quantified benefits in the well-being of those who carry out simple but regular gratitude practices like writing down 3 good things that happened to them a day.
Writing down 5 things they were grateful for once a week for ten weeks, had a measurable positive impact on the happiness and health levels of a group studied by Robert Emmons and Michael McCullough of the University of California.
And if when it comes to managing your mind, gratitude is the best attitude to focus you on the good things in your life and train your mind to look for more of the same.
Gratitude and appreciation act as a bridge from the here and now to where you want to be. They put you in a good place by realising and feeling great about all the marvellous things in your present life.
This doesn’t mean you don’t want to make changes but that you’ll be in a better place from which to start making those changes whilst experiencing present life to the full.
Episode 34 of the Changeability Podcast
We talk about all this and more in episode 34 of the Changeability Podcast – where we ask if gratitude is the best attitude.
Links and resources
Emmons, R. A. (2007). THANKS! How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company.
Episode 33 - The Time of Your Life
Appreciate to Accumulate – a guided gratitude MP3 to kick-start the appreciation habit
Sat, 14 March 2015
You think you have time
Does this apply to you?
The answer, if you’re being honest, is probably - yes it does.
We all think we will always have more time.
We know on an intellectual level we wont. We understand the concept that our time here is limited. We see the evidence all around us.
And yet we often don’t accept it on an emotional level, and don’t act in accordance with it.
We carry on living our lives as if there will always be a tomorrow. Another time for us to make the changes we want to make and live the lives we want to live.
Maybe even another time somewhere in the future when we’ll be happy. With that happiness depending on changes we have yet to make.
So we find ourselves saying I’ll be happy when…(fill in the blank).
Time as a Present
If this all sounds a bit depressing, what about this then?
This is the flip side.
We can only ever really know the here and now – the present. Which is more reason to make the most of each day.
This saying also captures the essence of mindfulness – of living in the present moment and being mindful of the here and now.
Time as a concept
Time is an odd concept.
We take it for granted but what is it?
Is it a conceptual construct or convenient unit for us to measure changes and progress?
And how do we relate to it in our personal lives.
The Changeability Podcast Episode 33
These are some of the questions we’re asking in episode 33 of The Changeability Podcast – where we’re talking about The Time of Your Life.
We get a bit philosophical in this episode as we talk about time and how we relate to it, based on 3 things that happened this week to bring the subject of time to the front of our minds.
Specifically in episode 33 you find out about:
Sat, 7 March 2015
What is it that stops us doing what we want to do? We’re not talking about the things we think we should be doing but those things we think we truly want to do. Yet even though we want to do them, something gets in the way of us actually doing them.
It might be starting that new business, or the novel you know is inside of you. Maybe it’s shedding the excess pounds getting you down, or eating the healthy food that’ll give you more energy.
Whenever you want to do something but you don’t see it through, you are resisting it on some level.
You are experiencing resistance to your goals, desires or dreams.
And we all experience it, that’s not the issue. The issue is what we do about it.
Do we let resistance win out and sabotage our intentions, or do we recognise it and deal with it.
That’s what we’re talking about in episode 32 of the Changeability Podcast with guest Tony L Brown.
Tony is a coach, consultant, speaker, trainer, digital marketer, and host of the 3Vs Podcast, who helps people transition from employee to entrepreneur.
Tony’s also a man who knows all about resistance in his own life and with those he works with.
Tony believes in battling resistance and shares with us 5 steps to overcoming resistance.
In episode 32 you’ll find out about: