When I entered the Fearless Living Institute to begin my life coaching certification, I was introduced to the concept of "gratitudes". I knew what gratitude was and my parents had instilled in me and my brother a strong value of being grateful for what we have. However, A gratitude was a foreign concept to me. Rhonda Britten, founder of the Fearless Living Institute, says this about gratitudes, "Gratitudes shift your focus so that you are aware of what you have instead of what you don’t have." That was a new perspective for me because I too often lived in the space of what I did NOT have, versus the space of being grateful for what I did have. As I began to practice writing down 5 gratitudes each day, I began to see my life and perspective transform. Over the years, I have learned more about the practice of gratitudes and how that practice can transform each of us. Here are 3 ways gratitude will transform your life along with some links to more wisdom on this essential topic.
1. Gratitude is the most powerful proactive way we can access freedom from our emotional and physical fears. I have seen this work again and again in my life. When I am locked into the "what ifs" and the "shoulds" of life, if I step into gratitude, my fears begin to subside. Read more about Rhonda Britten's annual practice of writing out 100 gratitudes during the Thanksgiving holiday and how that opens her life up to freedom.
2. Gratitude has the power to change our brain chemistry! Really, it does! I think back to 2006 and prior, and I am almost shocked at how different my life has become and it has to have something to do with gratitude re-wiring my brain. Prior to my journey into gratitude, I was often stuck in the "I don't have this, so I am not happy" type of thinking. Now, my default when that type of thinking arises seems to be, "Okay, what do I have?" Sue Krautkramer is new on my horizon, and she has already taught me so much without even knowing it! Check out Sue's brilliant words on the interaction of gratitude and our brain chemistry.
3. Gratitude opens us up to contentment. One of my very favorite bloggers out there is Joshua Becker. I love his take on meditation leading us into gratitude which leads us into contentment. I have certainly found this progression to be true in my own life!
I invite you to spend the next month practicing gratitude. Take 5-10 minutes each morning or evening to quietly reflect upon what you are grateful for. Write these down in a concrete format beginning with "I am grateful for….because…." Be specific about why you are grateful. For example, I am grateful for the golden sunshine that popped out at the end of the foggy day yesterday because it reminded me of warmth and light and that there is always a silver lining in every seemingly gloomy situation. Try it! You will never regret practicing gratitude!