As last week saw the arrival of the US holiday season with the turkey-fest that is thanksgiving, it seemed only appropriate that this week I should focus on gratitude.
Now, I might be a Brit, but I have to say that the idea of a day which is all about giving thanks for everything that you have seems like an incredibly good idea to me.There is so much in our lives which we take for granted on a daily basis that I think that having a day with the sole purpose of reminding us to take some time to appreciate it all is something that we should all adopt.
You see gratitude isn’t just a good because it makes our day a little brighter…it’s far more than that! Gratitude is something that can be used to neutralise negative emotions virtually instantly. It is physically impossible to feel fear and gratitude simultaneously. Likewise, it’s impossible to feel anger and gratitude at the same time. The same goes for unhappiness.
Gratitude is a powerful tool that we all need to introduce into our daily routines!
People can suck up so many precious hours of their lives focusing on what isn’t working, what could be better or what they aren’t happy with…and where does this leave us? Miserable. What benefit does it bring us? Nothing. Nada. Zip.
When we change our focus and choose instead to be grateful for what IS working, what IS great just the way it is or what we ARE happy with…things change drastically. Our brains have a rather nifty little function which takes something that we are focusing on and actively seeks out other things of the same nature.
If you’ve ever bought a new car, you know that as soon as you’ve made the decision to buy a particular make, model or colour (or all three!) that you start seeing them EVERYWHERE! There aren’t any more of them on the roads; it’s just that the funky little Reticular Activating System (the technical name for this part of our brain, otherwise known as the RAS) springs into action and actively looks for what it is that we’re focusing on. So if you make the decision to buy a black Ford Focus…all of a sudden the RAS starts noticing them all around you…where previously you wouldn’t have even noticed that they were there.
The same is true when a woman finds out that she’s pregnant. All of a sudden everywhere she goes there seem to be pregnant women popping up all over the place. Are there any more pregnant women than there were before she found out? Of course not, it’s just that the RAS has been fired up and is on the lookout for other pregnant ladies.
Gratitude is no different. If you choose to focus on all of the great things in your life, all the reasons you have to be happy and grateful, your RAS will be on the lookout for even more of them. The more you become aware of the aspects of your life to be grateful for and the more they feature in your conscious thoughts…the more you will notice.
Before you know it you won’t be able to do anything without seeing SOMETHING to be grateful for. How amazing would that be? If every day your brain was actively seeking out and bringing to your attention all the fabulous things around you?
Then EVERY day could be thanksgiving…no matter where you are in the world!
There are so many ways that you can choose to acknowledge the things in your life that you appreciate, for example in the book / DVD “The Secret” (Rhonda Byrne) they suggest the concept of a gratitude journal where every evening you document things that you have been grateful for that day.
Today I want to share with you a concept that I saw in a recent blog post which I thought was a fantastic idea. The idea is a “Girlfriend Gratitude Party”. You can see the full post here, but the concept is for you to host an evening to appreciate and show your gratitude for your closest girlfriends. You can cook an extravagant meal or make gifts for your guests…anything to celebrate and acknowledge how much you appreciate each other. Even better, if you only have one or two close friends, you can get them to each invite someone and widen your circle of fabulous female friends even further.
Just imagine how much it will mean to your girlfriends to have a gratitude party thrown just for them…and who knows, maybe the next one will be thrown for you?
I think that it would be great if we could choose to find more ways to acknowledge and recognise the many aspects of our lives which are great…and even better find a way to express gratitude to the people who make life even more special.