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Last week I had the privilege of attending a networking event for entrepreneurs. I chose this event at it was billed as The Gratitude Circle. There have been many ‘gratitude roadSIGNS’ in my life of late from simple conversations, to radio programs, to articles, all extolling the importance of gratitude in our lives. In contrast to this however, I continue to find that many people are not aware of the idea of a ‘gratitude practice’ or the important role gratitude can play in your life.

Being Consciously Aware
Bringing gratitude into your life is really a ‘mindfulness practice’, specifically taking the time to become consciously aware of what your day has offered you and to express gratitude for the many apparently insignificant things that have shown up. For example: a colorful morning sky, an inspiring song on the radio on your way to work, a heartfelt interaction with another person, meeting a client’s needs and receiving great feedback on a job well done, a shared moment after work with a few friends, a great dinner with your family, seeing the first hummingbird of the season, or simply having great health and feeling amazing.

Notice how actively unconscious most of us are. Consider this; you get in the car every morning to drive to work. You arrive and as you pull into your parking spot you suddenly realize, wow, I am already here. I didn’t even notice the drive in – I was on autopilot. The radio was blaring yet I didn’t hear anything anyone said as they were all talking at the same time. I didn’t notice anything along the way – did I miss something? OMG, I really am living in auto-pilot! The day continues, and because much of your life is routine, it slips by, the details of the day unnoticed.

Gratitude Lifts YOU Up!
Gratitude gives you an opportunity to look at your life through the lens of positivity. In her book entitled Positivity, Barbara Fredrickson states that the old story is that anything that feels good is merely a distraction – trivial, inconsequential and expendable. The new story however, backed by science, is that these same good feelings are the active ingredients needed to allow us to flourish, that is feel good about ourselves and our lives. This begins by learning to cherish those special moments in your life, bringing your focus to what you are grateful for.

By cherishing those special moments in your life, you begin to feel better about yourself. This allows you to be more resilient. Research has demonstrated that feeling positive about your life, which is the end product of gratitude, has far-reaching benefits including building a stronger immune system, a cardio-vascular system which is less reactive to stress, and increased optimism. Finally, if you feel better about YOU today, there is a good chance that you will feel better about YOU tomorrow.

I have nothing to be Grateful for!
I do hear this, often!  A former coaching client of mine shared that she had nothing in her life to be grateful for, no one loved her and she was all alone. I asked her to take a closer look at her life, her relationship with her son, and her relationship with her colleagues. When she did this, she realized that she had a great deal of love in her life and when she expressed gratitude for this, more love appeared. At the point that I had begun speaking with her, she was engaged in a contentious divorce and child-custody battle with her former husband. As she shifted her focus to love and being grateful, her relationship with him changed and he dropped the suit.

Gratitude shifts your awareness and changes your energy. When your energy changes, so does the energy around you.

Gratitude

Final Word
Gratitude is a powerful energy, bringing you into a conscious relationship with what is right with your life. I encourage you, just as I do my clients, to begin some type of Gratitude Practice as part of your life. This can be a Gratitude Journal where you record your daily gratitudes or, my favorite one, sharing what you are grateful for with your family as you sit down for dinner.

Whatever your choice, know that gratitude will change your life – it has been proven scientifically!

Until next time…

Betty Healey

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