With Thanksgiving just around the corner, I’ve been thinking about gratitude. We hear the word thrown around a lot but what does it really mean? What is gratitude?
According to Merriam-Websters’ dictionary, gratitude is a feeling of appreciation or thanks.
Now, I don’t know about you but I find that it’s easy to appreciate something when things are going your way. But what happens when they aren’t going your way? What happens when things are in flux? I really believe that is when you need gratitude more than ever.
Earlier this year, I tried an experiment. Mr. Brown (my hubby) and I were really at odds. It seemed like anything and everything he did drove me crazy. I mean from leaving his socks in the middle of the floor, to what he was watching on TV at the time. EVERYTHING seemed to have me on edge.
Have you been there before? If you’ve been following me for a while, you know I believe in with all my core that “What you focus on expands.” The fact that I was “focusing” on every nitpicky irritating thing that he did meant—yup you guessed it— the universe would send more things for me to take issue with.
So back to my experiment—I decided to try a gratitude experiment. Every day for two weeks, I found something specific that Mr. Brown did that I could be really grateful for.
I would leave notes in different places in our home for him to find: taped to the back door, in his workbag, tucked inside his wallet, on his car windshield. Each note was a loving message focused on my point of gratitude.
“Thank you so much for washing the dishes last night. It really made me smile.”
“Thank you for working so hard today to provide for our family.”
“I appreciate that you cooked a delicious meal. I love a man who cooks”
An amazing transformation happened in two short weeks. All the things that drove me crazy before seemed to disappear. Even better yet, Mr. Brown started to cook more, clean more, and bring me gifts. All the things that I showed appreciation for began to show up in a bigger way!
So, how can you apply this?
- Start a Gratitude Journal
I’ve been keeping a gratitude journal for years. I’ve received some amazing benefits from them. Find a notebook and pen that you love. Nice paper and sleek pens always help me write more. Find one thing every day that you can appreciate. Write it down. Sometimes it will be easy—other days more challenging. Get into the habit. Stretch yourself and try not to repeat any of the items from the previous days. Download the Gratitude Guide that I created to help you if you get stuck.
- Commit To Being Grateful
Start looking for reasons to be grateful. It’s easy to find flaws or things that you don’t care about. When you reach for gratitude, your frame of reference changes. More reasons for you to be grateful show up. Try it for 30 days. Amazing results will follow.
- Thank You Cards
A simple handwritten thank you note goes a long way. Send thank you notes to your clients, family or friends. The key is to personalize it. The mere act of writing what you appreciate or are thankful for sends vibes that bring things to you to that will give the same feeling. It creates a connection and sentiment that e-mail simply can’t complete with.
- Pay It Forward
Some people call it a “Random Act of Kindness”. This is one of my favorite things to do. Pay for a stranger’s coffee at Starbucks or the lunch of the lady standing behind you at Chipotle. When you give, you really receive. I’d love to hear about what you do to show gratitude. Leave your comments below.