Gratitude is something you can completely miss if you're not paying attention. It takes practice. The first time you experience it, you don’t see it coming, but living a more grateful life takes a little work. It doesn’t have to be hard - no heavy lifting required- but in order to make gratitude a consistent part of your life - to make the shift from appreciative to truly grateful - you need to make time every day to practice it. Everything here takes less than five minutes.
In our current pace, often the detail of our steps and surroundings blur past us. Rather than focusing forward on what’s coming, where you’re headed or what you’re creating… actually stop yourself and get fully present in the moment right where you are physically, mentally and emotionally.
- Take 5 slow, deep breaths (inhale for a count of 3, exhale for a count a 5).
- Notice what you might otherwise skip right over- put down your phone as you’re doing other things. Look up and around you and listen to the sounds- the big blatant and nuanced little things.
- Try taking 5 minutes to focus your attention looking for or listening for specifics- the kindness on people’s faces, a particular color all around you, or the sounds of laughter in a public space.
- Reset a not-so-great day by interrupting it with the exercise in #4.
2. See the contrast.
Get the huge difference between what is and what could easily otherwise be with a different person next to you or a different moment, circumstance, time.
- Ask yourself, “What opposite thing could be happening instead (and likely is for someone else)?”
- What elements of this moment/situation are making ease, connection, progress possible right now?
3. Get the bigness.
Give yourself a minute to to feel the significance of it- how it fills you up in some way, makes you see or appreciate differently, and soak in it. That’s way different than analyzing it or explaining it or taking action on it… just allow yourself to truly appreciate it and get the impact it has on you.
- What’s awesome about this moment/thing/person/situation? What’s possible because of it? How would your life be different without it?
- What can you see, understand or feel because of it?
4. Set Yourself Up.
There are so many days when life doesn’t get our attention to force a pause. Those are actually the harder ones. This is why the people who actually experience the most joy are ones who set themselves up with a practice to find it. While I’m not 100% daily, every day I start with the following morning practice is a noticeably better day- I’m more grounded, my orientation to the world is bigger, and I get it. This was created by the brilliant trainer Alan Walter in 2008...
Write down the answers to the following:
Beginning of the day:
Make a daily goal.
What am I willing to give to others today?
What 10 things do I value that I am grateful for now?
What do I value that another does for me that I am grateful for right now?
What am I happy about right now?
End of the day:
How well did I do on accomplishing my goal for today?
What have I done well, increased in value or got better at today?
If I wanted to be happier — what additional things would I be happy about?
Inspired or set up, I now understand this elusive word, and the secret inside it.
Gratitude = Fully Present+getting Perspective+feeling Significance = Fulfillment
…Not Lost On Me.