ABCs of Positivity: G Is for Gratitude
I have long considered gratitude the gateway emotion: unless and until you can feel authentically grateful, it’s quite challenging to feel any other positive emotion, even love. I’ve known for years the power of gratitude, but its effects still amaze me on a regular basis.
A couple years ago, I attended a business conference about how to build a brand, most specifically through podcasting. I’d written a book and been thinking about starting a podcast about gratitude – this seemed a perfect opportunity. Conference attendees had the chance to pitch their topic to a slate of about 40 influential podcasters, the idea being that if you pitched well, you might receive an invitation to be a guest on some of those people’s shows.
Although I had been rehearsing my pitch for a few days prior to traveling to the event site, once I arrived, met some of the other attendees and heard their topics, mine seemed so basic. Practice gratitude – you’ll be happier. It just didn’t seem like there was much to it. I didn’t have a list of steps to offer or a remarkable processes to teach or phenomenal case studies to cite. All I could really say in the 90 seconds I had was something to this effect:
Did you know that grateful people are generally healthier and wealthier, they sleep better, have lovelier relationships, and are generally happier overall? The problem is that gratitude is not most people’s baseline. Most people default to lower vibration emotions like anger, fear, guilt, blaming, shaming, and victim thinking as their go-to feelings. The good news is that gratitude can be learned. I know this because I’ve lived it. I am a birthmother in an open adoption. I was 27 when I found myself pregnant – and even though things with my son’s birthfather were challenging and the adoption was probably the most difficult experience of my life, I found a way to stay grateful. Gratitude can work for you – and your listeners – too.
I had very low expectations and was astounded at the reaction when more than 20 of those influential podcasters said they’d love to have me on their shows, and even more people wrote me notes to tell me they thought my pitch was excellent, that they use gratitude with their own clients, and/or that gratitude had been enormously powerful in their lives.
It sounds so simple – start looking around to find things to be grateful for and then express that gratitude on a regular basis, and your life will likely change immeasurably for the better. And yet it’s true: gratitude works.
While it is not a cure-all, gratitude can positively impact many, many areas of our lives. Here are just a few ways gratitude can make a difference in your life:
- Gratitude makes us happier.
- Gratitude makes us more likeable.
- Gratitude makes us feel good.
- Gratitude makes us healthier.
- Gratitude can give our career a boost.
- Gratitude strengthens our emotions.
- Gratitude makes us less self-centered.
- Gratitude improves our personality.
- Gratitude makes us more optimistic.
- Gratitude reduces materialism.
- Gratitude enhances our spirituality and faith life.
- Gratitude increases our self-esteem.
- Gratitude improves our sleep.
- Gratitude increases our energy levels.
- Gratitude helps us embrace exercise.
- Gratitude helps us bounce back after injuries or setbacks.
- Gratitude helps us overcome suicidal thoughts and tendencies.
- Gratitude helps people reduce and overcome addictive behaviors.
- Gratitude makes our memories happier.
- Gratitude reduces feelings of envy.
- Gratitude helps us relax.
- Gratitude enhances our intimate relationships.
- Gratitude improves our physical appearance.
- Gratitude helps us make friends more easily.
- Gratitude deepens existing friendships.
- Gratitude increases our patience.
- Gratitude increases our productivity.
- Gratitude increases our goal achievement.
- Gratitude improves our decision-making.
- Gratitude makes us better givers.
- Gratitude gives our lives purpose.
- Gratitude may help us live longer.
A little more than a year ago, my husband and I experienced a life challenge that was a wake-up call to both of us. In the aftermath, we were shaken and relieved and worried about what might come next. I suggested that we sit down and each list some of the things we were grateful for in that moment. We did it – and it helped us calm down. So we did it again the next day, lighting a candle before we started. Then we did it again the next day, adding a few minutes of meditation to close out our gratitude/affirmation session. And thus began a daily gratitude practice that Mickey and I have done every day since.
While gratitude has always come fairly easily to me and I would try to explain the many benefits to Mickey, they were still mostly theoretical to him. Once we began this gratitude practice that we do together every day, he began to see the benefits because he experienced them first-hand. He is overall much calmer and slower to react. He’s genuinely happier. And our relationship has improved tremendously.
Email lo@fairypositive if you’d like a list of ways to begin a gratitude practice so that you can experience more of these incredible benefits.