With the Thanksgiving Holiday coming up for us in the United States, I wanted to write something about gratitiude, which is a far more powerful force than people realize.
Author and a University of California, Davis professor, Dr. Robert Emmons has 8 years of intensive research on gratitude and found that people who view life as a gift and consciously acquire an “attitude of gratitude” experience multiple advantages, such as improved emotional and physical health, clearer thinking and problem-solving abilities, and stronger relationships and communities. It can also be good for your business.
“Without gratitude, life can be lonely, depressing, and impoverished,” said Emmons. “Gratitude enriches human life. It elevates, energizes, inspires and transforms. People are moved, opened and humbled through expressions of gratitude.”
In an experimental comparison, those who kept gratitude journals on a weekly basis exercised more regularly, reported fewer physical symptoms, felt better about their lives as a whole, and were more optimistic about the upcoming week compared to those who recorded hassles or neutral life events (Emmons & McCullough, 2003).
A related benefit was observed in relation to personal goal attainment: Participants who kept gratitude lists were more likely to have made progress toward important personal goals (academic, interpersonal and health-based) over a 2-month period, compared to subjects in the other experimental conditions.
And since two opposing thoughts cannot occupy the same space in your mind at the same time, when you focus on something you are grateful for, you immediately switch your focus and the brain chemicals you are producing (such as dopamine and seratonin), which elicit a state of happiness.
The more we pause to appreciate and show caring and compassion, the more order and coherence we experience internally. When our hearts are in an “internal coherence state,” studies suggest that we enjoy the capacity to be peaceful and calm yet retain the ability to respond appropriately to stressful circumstances.
Some strategies Emmons recommends to cultivate a "habit" and mindset of gratitude include:
1. Keeping a gratitude journal
2. Learning and reciting prayers of gratitude, and
3. Using visual reminders
During a self-empowerment book study group I participated in several years ago, one of the assignments we had was to write down 100 things we were grateful for. At first ideas came easily–my family, my friends, my home, my health, etc. Then the stream of awareness began to slow down and I had to search my brain for more items and conditions, reaching further back into the past.
It was amazing and joyful as I forced myself to stick with the exercise until I was able to come up with 100 things to put on my list. Following my thoughts and associations allowed me to remember things I had long forgotten that had touched my life in a positive way. Big things and simple things, such as graduating from high school, my first kiss, watching a sunset in Switzerland nestled between 2 mountains and reflected in a large lake, family trips to Maine as a kid, my mom rubbing my tummy and singing to me when I was sick, camping in our pop-up tent, the taste of chocolate, all my "successes" in my life…
I still have that list and add to it from time to time. I also pull it out and read it when I am in a place that is very un-like thankfulness and it quickly pulls me back to a state of grace and acceptance. Just as I remember that I have had many things in my past to be grateful for and many things in my present beyond the situation I am feeling angry, resentful, or fearful about, I realize there will be more things to come to add to that list.
So how can gratitude help you in YOUR BUSINESS?
1. Practicing a habit of daily gratitude will shift your focus to what's RIGHT in your business and allow you to keep you energy moving in that direction (instead of getting sucked into and depleted by what you don't like that you can't change)
2. Resonating with the energy of thankfullness makes you a magnet for attracting more of what you want. (Why would the Universe/God give you more than what you already have if you're not gratefully for what you've already been given?)
3. When you are less self-focused and more other-focused, you are more likely to connect with people from a "what can I do for you" mindset than a "what can you do for me" mindset, and finding ways to help others get what they want/need. The "law of reciprocation" will cause people to naturally want to do something for you in return.
4. If you are resonating regularly with a feeling of gratitude, you are more likely to pass that on to your customers or clients through words and gifts of appreciation for them, and discovering more ways to provide value to them and creating more raving fans who are likely to refer others to you.
So how can you begin cultivating a practice of gratitude? I suggest committing to writing your "List of 100 Gratitudes" and seeing what momentum and other ideas it creates for you to be thankful on a regular basis.
Do you need help releasing negativity and cultivating gratitude in your business so you can attract more ideal clients and make more money? Schedule a complimentary MMM Strategy Session with me to identify how past or current challenges are blocking you from success–and IMMEDIATE steps to take so you can make a difference in more lives with your gifts!
Your partner in success,
Marketing, Mindset & Manifesting Coach