This is my first official blog post for 2019. I personally feel that everyone is overwhelmed in January with new year content. Therefore, I decided to wait a month, until all the virtual and social media “noise” was tuned down before offering up my insights and empowering messaging. Besides, if you are like me, February is the “hump” month of winter and you need some inspiration to get you through to the promise of spring in March.
My topic for this month is gratitude. As a career and life clarification coach, I serve as a guide and support for individuals on a journey towards professional fulfillment. When I work with a client, I want to be sure that they understand that at the beginning of any journey, gratitude is a good place to start. But this is not just my personal perspective. There is a lot of focus on gratitude these days as a pathway to improve overall well-being.
Merriam-Webster defines gratitude as a “state of being grateful and expressing thankfulness.” A February 2017 blog post from the Positive Psychology Program webpage takes it one step further. “Positive psychologists contend that gratitude is more than feeling thankful for something, it is more like a deeper appreciation for someone (or something,) which produces longer lasting positivity.”1 In his book, Authentic Happiness, Martin E.P. Seligman, Ph.D. explains that “gratitude amplifies the savoring and appreciation of the good events gone by…” However you define it, having a sense of it and bringing a practice of it into your own life is important. If you want to assess where you are presently are with regards to your personal level of gratitude, you can find a copy of the best documented gratitude test developed by Michael McCullough and Robert Emmons here: http://local.psy.miami.edu/faculty/mmccullough/gratitude/GQ-6-scoring-interp.pdf
One of the most popular methods for establishing a practice of gratitude is to keep a gratitude journal. This practice requires that you document four to five things that you are grateful for in your daily life experience at least two-three times per week. You can go to Amazon and purchase journals that were specifically designed to inspire and guide you through this writing process. There are even apps for your phone to help you systematize the practice.
While gratitude journals are a good place to start (I have personally done it and have had my clients engage in it as well), there is another practice that I recently discovered that for me, took the experience to a whole new level.
When I would personally sit to document my three things/experiences that I was grateful for during my designated writing time, I would find myself really stretching and challenging myself to come up with something worthwhile, something new, something interesting, etc. Instead of being a positive and motivational experience, it became a mundane and almost dreaded task. Then one day, while listening to a podcast by the fabulous master coach, Brooke Castillo, I was introduced to a new way of writing what I was grateful for in my life and recognize the abundance that my life truly provided. The process was simple. Using the following sentence frame, “I want __ (fill in the blank) ___ and I already have that,” you create a list of 10-12 things that you want in your life and that you already have. For example, here are some of mine: “I want a healthy daughter and I already have that”, “I want to be my own boss and I already have that,” “I want a loving husband and I already have that,” etc. I was able to knock out 25 things that “I want” and that I “already have” in about 12 minutes. I am not exaggerating when I share that at the end of this writing experience there were tears of joy and gratitude for all that I had in this wonderful life that is mine. I just sat there, and in Seligman’s words, truly savored how delicious and amazing my life was. If there was an apparatus that could measure my positive energy at that moment, it would have been off the charts. And as you know, when you are a beacon of positive energy, all kinds of amazing things can be manifested in your life! But if you didn’t know that, check out my June 2019 blog post to learn more.
Till then, challenge yourself to identify ten things that you want in your life that you already have to elevate your gratitude and abundance energy levels.