This time of year it can be challenging not to get caught up in the buying, doing, and consuming frenzy. In a culture where more is more we can easily get lured in and become fixated on what we want, what we don’t have, or what we feel is lacking rather than what we do have. This feeling of scarcity can leave us feeling exhausted, overwhelmed, obsessed and depressed. It drains our energy & resilience and robs us of our relationship with a larger life. However, if we can turn our attention to what we do have and let our gifts and blessings begin to create fullness in our lives it can elevate us, energize us, inspire us, and transform us.
A gratitude practice is a simple and powerful practice to remember, recharge, and reframe our everyday life. Here are two practices, one for everyday and one that you may want to put on your list to do at least once in 2019.
START THE DAY WITH A GRATEFUL HEART
Gratitude researcher Shawn Anchor says that he's found if you practice waking up every morning and start the day naming 3 things you are grateful for, it brings a total mind and heart shift.
His research shows that after 21 days, even people testing as low level pessimists pre-practice were testing as low level optimists. The good news is that this is possible no matter your age, location, or status. 2 minutes a day can change your genes and your environment!!
Shawn says it is important to name 3 new things and not just repeat the same things day after day and to keep it up, the benefits accumulate and snowball the longer you practice.
Whether you write it in a journal, or on slips of paper that you collect in a big box or jar, or you just internally name them for yourself, this practice is a game changer!
THE GRATITUDE VISIT
Martin Seligman, father of Positive Psychology, developed this exercise, in which you think of someone who has made a powerful impact on your life and write them a letter of gratitude. With letter in hand you pay them a in person visit and read it to them.
The letter should be concrete and about three hundred words: be specific about what they did for you and how it affected your life. Let them know what you are doing now, and mention how you often remember what they did. Make it meaningful! Once you have written the testimonial, call the person and tell them you’d like to visit, but be vague about the purpose of the meeting; this exercise is much more fun when it is a surprise. When you meet them, take your time reading your letter.
Can visit in person? You could Skype or call them. If those are not even available you could mail it too, but actually doing it in person is one of the most powerful gratitude practices you can do and literally life-changing for many people!