Transformation Comes With How You Practice Gratitude (it’s in the details!!)
This time of year you start to hear more and more about gratitude. Expressing gratitude is one of the best things that you can do for yourself – it will literally help you transform your life. BUT how you practice gratitude has a lot to do with the level of personal empowerment and rewards that you reap.
A common exercise in gratitude goes like this: keep a gratitude journal by your bedside table and each night write down 5 things that you are most grateful for. My example would go like this: I am grateful for my cats (especially Sophie), my daughter, my Josh, my friends, my family…
This is a very generalized list and, though I am expressing gratitude, the way that I am expressing it (in a generalized way) may not help me really get the type of transformation in my life that I am looking for. So, let’s put some emotion into this and really get down and dirty with the DETAILS.
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A recent 10 week study done at the University of Southern California divided people into three groups:
Group One: wrote generalized things that they were grateful for
Group Two: got specific – they picked one thing that they were grateful for and then wrote five detailed sentences about WHY they were grateful for this one thing
Group Three: listed out ways in which they felt that they were better off than the next person
What were the results? Group Two – who got specific, was found the be more alert, excited and elated AND less tired, sad and lethargic than the other two groups.
The proof is in the pudding (or at least WHY you like the pudding so much).
Here is my detailed gratitude list:
I am grateful for my cat Sophie….
1. Because she has been with me for 14 years, through my schooling and through building my businesses
2. Because she once sat on my chest while I was in bed sleeping, and started to growl in the direction of the front door (an ex was making an unannounced visit to my door at 2AM and she wasn’t having it – I didn’t answer it).
3. Because when she looks at me, her eyes look like the Puss in Boots character when he is being mesmerizingly adorable
4. Because right here, right now, she is curled up next to me on my desk on her special blanket (it is how we spend our day together)
5. Because at night, she waits for me on my pillow and massages (kneads) my neck to put me to sleep each night
What’s the difference? As I sit here writing out these answers, I am smiling, my heart and stomach are warm and I am thinking about all the pleasure in life that this animal has brought to me. The same is true for my partner and daughter and family… but I’ll write those details out on another day.
What are you grateful for?
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