Attitude or Gratitude?
Do you actively practise gratitude?
Do you actively practise gratitude or is it simply your attitude?
There are always words that trend the internet and people constantly use them. I think gratitude is definitely one of them. So what is gratitude? The dictionary definition is the quality of being thankful or the readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness. It is a powerful word which I think gets thrown around a little too much. Do you actively practise gratitude or is it more of an attitude?
I teach and develop senior school students how to think in ways that benefit them in life but one essential component is accepting ALL emotions. The ultimate goal is to help students be able to walk into any room, any situation and no matters what happens – good or not so good, give them ways to handle it. The key to resilience is experiencing, understanding and working through all emotions. When children are little, many parents try to protect their child from the ‘negative emotions’ but pushing them aside or saying things like ‘don’t worry – you’ll be alright’. It is very understandable that we want to protect them.
However, any adult knows that life doesn’t actually work that way. The human experience is filled with the yin & yang of emotions. To truly feel happiness, we need to feel and understand sadness. To know how to cope with disappointment, we need to experience it and then we can truly understand just how good achievement feels.
I’m an evidence-based type of person. As I study the brain, I love when I can read research and facts to back statistics up. We have uncovered more facts about the brain over the 7 or so years than ever before. One fact is that the brain can rewire itself. The brain creates pathways – neural pathways – that are required for efficiency. The brain loves to be fast, efficient and correct. These pathways help the brain conserve its energy by allowing some thoughts to be on autopilot. Think of neural connections as road maps in your brain. However, research has shown we can now create new roads and remove old roads that are no longer being used through synaptic pruning.
So where am I heading with all of this? When it comes to gratitude, if you actively practise gratitude on a daily basis, you start to rewire the brain to scan the world for the positive. This type of scanning is creating new neural pathways that help the brain be fast efficient and correct – and focusing on the positive things life has to offer. If you can actively practise gratitude and not just have a gratitude attitude for 21-days straight, your brain is 3 times more likely to notice a positive.
One simple way to start to practise gratitude is to answer these 3 simple questions every day:
- What was the BEST thing that happened to me today?
- Who in my life am I most grateful for today and why?
- When I focus on tomorrow, what am I looking forward to the most?
If you can ask yourself these 3 easy questions every day for 21-days, writing down the answers, you will have started to create an amazingly awesome neural pathway to scan the world in a positive light more often. There are a few little rules that I like to include when actively practising gratitude and not just pretending to have a gratitude attitude. These rules are simple but essential to help you evolve into a better version of yourself. Some days will be harder than others. If you don’t get a chance to write the answers down every day, that’s OK, just tell yourself the answer. And don’t beat yourself up if you struggle for answers.
And… if you really want to take this ‘gratitude’ attitude to the next level, why not try asking yourself these questions for double the time and you will start to see results such as:
- increased levels of energy
- feelings of happiness are more frequent and for longer periods of time.
- each day is started on a more optimistic level with enthusiasm a natural element daily.
- the ability to focus on tasks for longer periods
- have a better quality of sleep each night
- decrease levels of depression and anxiety
If you want to get into practising gratitude, then try this for 21-days. It is not difficult and it can (will) change the way you see the world.