Gratitude 2.0: An Easy, Effective Daily Gratitude Practice

by Liisa Kyle, Ph.D. on 09/04/2013

Do you practice daily gratitude?  Or perhaps you’ve tried it in the past but soon got bored with activity of jotting down a daily ‘laundry list’ of the things you appreciate.  In either case, there’s an easy, effective way to super-charge your gratitude practice.

Why bother?

Making a daily practice of expressing gratitude may seem childish or ‘woo-woo’ or self-indulgent…but this habit has a ton of practical benefits.  Taking a few moments to appreciate even small things can:

* help you feel better about your circumstances — whatever is going on

* combat frustration or a sense of being overwhelmed

* shift your focus to the here and now (rather than fretting about the future or regretting the past)

* elevate your mood

* improve your relationships,

* balance your life, and more.

This is especially true for DaVincis i.e. smart, creative people juggling many ideas, projects and talents. With so much going on, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by all that isn’t done or isn’t going well.  It helps to start each day reminding ourselves of what we *have* accomplished and what *is* working well in our lives.  It gives us firmer footing to tackle the day’s agenda.

I’ve done this for years and advise my friends, colleagues and coaching clients to do the same.

Recently, I discovered I’ve been doing it wrong.  Well, not ‘wrong’ — there’s no wrong way to express appreciation.  But I’ve found an easy, effective way to make my daily gratitude practice far more powerful.

Here’s how to super-charge your gratitude practice: 

Step 1:  Clear a few private, uninterrupted minutes for private reflection.

Step 2: Write down (at least) seven things for which you are grateful.  As you list each item you appreciate, state why.

“I’m grateful for X because…”

“I’m so thankful for Y because…”

This small alteration — the additional explanation of why we’re grateful — elevates and deepens each item exponentially.  Rather than jotting down “my home office” on a laundry list of bullet points, it’s much more powerful to specify the reasons. (“I’m grateful for my home office because it’s comfortable and well organized and pleasingly decorated and is full of books I adore plus it provides a pleasant, quiet space to accomplish my work efficiently and effectively.”)

Step 3:  Read your list out loud.

As you do so, pay attention to how you’re feeling.  (Hint:  you’re apt to feel great!)

Be sincere. To the extent that you can suspend any judgement or pride to utter your thanks aloud, the more powerful the practice and the deeper the sense of gratitude.

Step 4:  Do the preceding steps each and every day, choosing (at least) seven NEW things to appreciate.

That’s it.  Easy, efficient steps to establish a powerful, rewarding practice of daily gratitude.

Do yourself a favor.  Try it right now.  Jot down seven things for which you’re grateful — and why. Re-read your lists aloud. Note what happens.

Beyond the initial mood lift, you are apt to find gratitude seeping into more of your day. Even a mundane observation can trigger a brief burst of gratitude. (“I’m grateful for this alarm clock because I can sleep soundly knowing that I won’t be late in the morning.”

It’s a way to acknowledge and reinforce things that are working well in your life. (“I’m thankful my dogs need to be exercised daily so that I get to go for a walk every day — to move my desk-bound carcass to spend time outside, in nature, enjoying my neighborhood while keeping my dogs healthy and happy.”)

It’s also a way to re-frame things that aren’t going so well into a different, more palatable perspective.  If a day is challenging, it’s helpful to pause and think about what *is* working well before pressing the re-set button. When we go through difficult experiences, it’s helpful to mine the experience for whatever good might have come out of it. (“I’m thankful for that crazy-making client last year because he taught me to write contracts differently so I will never go through that again”).

So whether you’re already committed to a daily gratitude practice…or if the ‘laundry list’ approach doesn’t do much for you, try this new enhanced Gratitude 2.0 technique for a more effective experience and to reap profound benefits.

*****

Want to re-publish this article? Go for it – just include the author’s name, a link to this original post and the following text blurb:

Are you struggling with too many talents, skills, ideas? You may have The DaVinci Dilemma™! Find tools, fun quizzes, coaching, inspiration and solutions for multi-talented people at http://www.davincidilemma.com/ .

 

 

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  3. Mind the Gap: 5 Ways to use Gap Time to Pursue your Talents
  4. Put Yourself First – Yes, Really
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