Five years ago I gave my first workshop on gratitude at a local yoga studio. I had very little speaking experience, so getting up in front of a group did not come easy. I spent a lot of time organizing my thoughts and practicing in front of a mirror. Although the group was small, I was very nervous. Afterwards, the studio owner told me I needed to speak more loudly. I felt awkward and discouraged. I wanted to give up.
But a few months after that workshop, I received this email from one of my attendees:
“I have always had a desire to get rid of my anxiety and depression, however I never knew how to do this – despite years of formal therapy. I started my gratitude journal and could not believe how many negative thoughts I was having on a daily basis. This journaling was significant for me because it showed me that I had all that I needed right before me…My depression/fog has lifted and for the first time in many years I feel alive and with happy, positive energy.”
I am so grateful for her email, because it gave me the reassurance I needed to keep going.
It showed me that the work I was doing with gratitude — writing, speaking, and coaching — had already helped at least one person change her life.
Since then, I’ve received many more emails from people around the world using the Gratitude To Bliss print journal and now the Gratitude To Bliss Mobile App. Here is one of them from a woman in the Philippines:
“My husband died a few months ago and I have two kids. Gratitude To Bliss was a big help to my recovery. I am really grateful I found this app. Again, thank you so much.”
So what is really going on when people practice gratitude? Why is it so powerful? Why is it so easy?
When you make even the tiniest effort to focus your thoughts on all the good in your life, for as little as five minutes a day, you are choosing to see things differently. By doing so, you are allowing a shift to occur that enables you to see the good in more and more things as time goes by, despite your circumstances.
The best way that I’ve found to do this is to keep a gratitude journal and write 3-5 things every day that you are grateful for. Remember to focus on the feeling you get when you think about the items on your list. This will help you get the most out of your practice so that it doesn’t become another list-making task. You will actually feel good while you practice by remembering how meaningful these things are to you.
For example, when I practice gratitude, I don’t just list “my family.” I’ll say “fun times with Aunt Emily” and remember how much fun I had at her house last weekend, laughing and and telling stories about when we were kids.
Gratitude Tip: DO NOT SPEND MORE THAN FIVE MINUTES!
By limiting your practice to five minutes a day, you will increase your changes of actually doing it daily. Spending more time will mean you won’t get to it every day and the effects won’t be as strong. Consistent, daily practice is key.
I often refer to this practice as Vitamin G because it’s extremely nourishing, yet easy to do.
What could one daily dose of Vitamin G do for you?
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