6 tips to grow Gratitude
Happy New Year.
I wanted to start the year with “Gratitude”.
Gratitude is the vehicle or doorway toAbundance.
If Abundance is an artery then Gratitude will be the blood running through it. If Abundance was a plant then “Gratitude” will be the nutrients needed for that plant to grow
I start my day with Gratitude, I think about some if not all the things I am grateful for. We take so many things for granted, like breathing, smiling, even waking up in the morning.
When I start my day with Gratitude, I put my mind in the right frame for the rest of my day
Every single day I feel so blessed and through that feeling I see things I didn’t realize were there.
That doesn’t mean that I settle just because I appreciate my many blessings, I still go after my dreams while being grateful for every step. The two do not contradict each other; rather run parallel.
“An ounce of gratitude is worth a pound of cure” confirms a growing body of research. Dr. Robert Emmons professor of psychology at UC Davis and a leading scientific expert on the science of gratitude states that “The practice of gratitude can have dramatic and lasting effects in a person’s life,”
When we cultivate an attitude of Gratitude we can create or increase our levels of Happiness, we can go through adversity in an easier way as our look on life is different.
We no longer look at setbacks, obstacles and challenges as being disastrous but we look for the lesson that we need to learn from them- to take us to the next level in life no matter how hard that lesson is.
It is very easy to fall into the trap of thinking about the loss we suffered, or what didn’t turn out the way we wanted, or what we don’t have, or even compare ourselves to others.
Our brain is wired in a way to protect us, so it will advance the negative picture to keep us in our comfort zone, because it is what it knows best. Its first function is to defend us against anything out of our “status quo”.
It is a lot easier to blame everything and everyone for what we do not have. Human being have a tendency to look at 5% that they do not have and forget the 95% that they have and get stuck
I have met people asking for 10 things at a time, 9 things will materialize and one will not, they get stuck about their bad fortune and their bad luck that this ONE thing out of 10 didn’t happen, forgetting to be appreciative for what they received
Being grateful for the good, bad and ugly as I always say is not easy and we are born with it, it is a skill or a habit that we need to practice and grow till it becomes part of who we are.
Gratitude looks at life as a continuum not focusing on present situations so it doesn’t blind us to the negative rather facilitates a solution – it helps reduce negative feelings as envy, frustration, resentment and greed by finding more meaning and positive in life
It is an antidote to depression. A 2008 study by psychologist Alex Wood in the Journal of Research in Personality showed that gratitude can reduce the frequency and duration of episodes of depression
It has the power to heal and move us forward. But it must come from the heart. We build an inventory of positive-ness realizing that everything good in our life is a gift
Some people spend a lot of money to feel happy, either through therapy or try the self-help programs or even find their escape in alcohol or drugs
The biggest mistake they make is that they miss the point that Happiness is an internal process not an external one. Happiness is generated inside of our hearts and souls then projected outside not the other way around
The proof is that we can set the goals that we think can make us happy – once we achieve them we get a sense of Euphoria or happiness that soon enough goes away because we based our state of happiness on external props
It took many years in my life to learn the shift which is actually simple. I needed to learn the base of the shift to make it happen and now; not all the money in the world can bring me back where I was
Being grateful makes me patient. I am not in a rush for things to happen as I continuously feel that I have a good inventory to carry me on
Gratitude is one of the reasons of my success in business because of the patience it creates in me, I wait longer to get more money rather than take less money immediately.
I know some can say this is great and easier said than done or even some will say “you haven’t been where I am” and to those I say “You haven’t been where I am”. It is a choice that we make
We need to awaken our gratitude and being present both are not easy as we have many distractions around us we are either:
1- Stuck in the past
2- Anticipate the future
Our wrong beliefs block Gratitude:
We look at the dark side of life and say there is nothing to be grateful for
Entitlement: We believe that we deserve all kinds of rewards, If we interpret the positive aspects of our lives as what we deserve than there is no reason to be thankful
When we meet obstacles with gratitude, our perceptions start to shift, our resistance loses its power and grace finds a way within us.
Reality is our perception which is very personal. Every experience gets filtered through our core beliefs and attitudes and produces Bias
Our mood affects how reality looks, emotions are always responding even hidden out of sight therefore not two people exist on the same reality; we are unique on how we see the world
So let us discuss the scientific base of Gratitude and its effects to disprove the Nay Sayers “hocus pocus”:
Many researches have been done about Gratitude by great organizations like UC Davis, Berkley. Etc.
Taking time to reflect on the good in our life improves our mood as it decreases “Cortisol” the main stress hormone cortisol by 23%
Our Human Brain never evolved from the “Cave Man” days, it is still programmed on the Fight, Freeze or Flight responses the minute it registers any kind of threat and releases chemicals or hormones as a result. These chemicals once released- the actions are hard to control.
That is why we need to work on the front end to avoid the release of the stress hormones like Cortisol and Amphetamine
The more we express gratitude the more it connects us with others, this social connectivity releases OXYTOCIN one of the happy hormones in the brain that is key to human bonding.
On the other hand our brain suffer from "the negativity bias," where we are more used to threats than opportunity, more used to negativity than positivity
It takes actual work for our brain to turn from negative to positive as being negative is the default.
We can "effectively fight our own wiring by rewiring our brain” to act appropriately by "recognizing your automatic responses, labeling them, and figuring what we have control over in the situation."
When we shift to gratitude we create new pathways in our brains, our brain is like a muscle the more we exercise and train the more it develops and grows. Positive thoughts are like messengers that deliver happy thoughts to our body. Increasing the practice, increases pathways to open up to positive thoughts, optimism and resilience
Gratitude connects “US” with reality so if the SELF is constantly changing being attached to old thoughts and emotions, it is like holding on to illusions - when you let go of the illusion what remains is real.
If you keep repeating the things you have no interest in, you grow numb. Instead begin to experience life as it comes moment by moment in the present. Your personal reality begins inside of you
Gratitude of the moment creates acceptance and openness. The more you appreciate the more nature is generous towards you. Feeling unworthy or victimized are symptoms of contracted awareness we become like someone standing in a river but only able to drink from a little bottle
Advantages of gratitude:
1- We are less stressed