The Gratitude Multiplier

While there are a number of emotions or states of being such as love, happiness, anger, anxiety, depression, and pain in our lives; it is gratitude that can act as the multiplier to either create the positive emotions or help us deal with the negative ones. Gratitude has the power to create a sense of well being and at the same time destroy those ego driven emotions such as I have not achieved enough, life is unfair, I am not appreciated, or I am not good enough. When you are truly grateful it becomes more difficult to be angry or feel unappreciated. In fact you might use gratitude as the powerful tool that it is, to turn things around and think about that situation that is making you angry, and write down some reasons why this situation makes you grateful. An example of this might be some attitude you have been fostering about your partner or your work. Are you letting your ego rule the mind? Is this person or role you play at work all bad? Probably not, most likely you are stuck in a negative thinking pattern and digging the hole deeper day by day. The reasonable approach would be to use gratitude to break this negative thinking pattern, which will of course make you feel a bit of a fool for indulging in it so fervently in the first place.

Marcus Tullius Cicero was a Roman statesman, orator, lawyer and philosopher, who served as consul in the year 63 BC. I like this quote as it supports my assertion that gratitude creates the positive emotions or virtues that we all want to foster.

Many have said that when you live of life of gratefulness that more is returned to you and while I agree this is true, you must ask why? From a purely psychological perspective feelings of gratitude put you in a position to do more, create better relationships, appreciate other people and yourself. This is because the feelings of gratefulness have the ability to destroy those negative emotions that are pulling you down the rabbit hole. I think gratitude is a true multiplier of your ultimate potential. Here are just a few ways it can drive positive change in your life:

  • Instead of inventing or finding ways to criticize the behavior of others you start to appreciate their positive traits and yes almost everyone has traits you can appreciate if you look hard enough.
  • If you have some appreciation and better yet are grateful for those you live and work with, do you think this will create a better relationship? What does this do for your own piece of mind? This is a win/win situation and is key to you thriving in this world instead of just condemning those you interact with. This is one of the reasons I don’t like to talk about politics with anyone, as most people start out telling me how much they hate the candidate from the opposite party than the one they are affiliated with. They can’t appreciate anyone they don’t completely agree with.
  • Maybe there are aspects of your work that suck, but you in your infinite wisdom have decided to focus on those aspects and create a life of misery for yourself and others. All this results in you not putting in the effort at your work that would benefit your career. When you are grateful for your work you put in more effort creating better results, more opportunity, and most of all greater job satisfaction for you. No one expects you to like all aspects of your work, but maybe there are some things you can be grateful for such as:
    • The length of your commute
    • Benefits
    • Core aspects of your work
    • Compensation
    • The people you work with
    • Your customers
    • Working at home
    • The fact you are employed
    • Provide a useful product or service
    • Purpose driven organization
    • Growth that provides career opportunities
  • Beyond your relationships and your work the level of gratitude you experience benefits your personal well being. Who knows maybe you will start finding reasons for living because you are grateful for what you have. No one wants to just exist, struggling to make it through the day, so you can do it all over again tomorrow. Start with a gratitude practice and all the other shit in your life will begin to fall in place.

I hope I have made a compelling case why gratitude is such a powerful virtue that benefits you and all those around you in so many profound ways. I wrote a post a while back on the importance of really feeling grateful and it might be worth a look. Get a journal or one of the phone apps and get started today.

Namaste

Feeling Grateful

For some time now I have been keeping a grateful journal, maybe a couple years or so. In this journal I write down 4 or 5 things I am grateful for and then I read them again to myself. While I figured I was heading the in the right direction, this journaling didn’t seem to make me more grateful. In fact I was still the same pain in the ass that I was two years prior to adopting this practice, but then one day it happened. I actually started to feel grateful; I mean a full on sense of gratitude for everything in my life.

The funny thing is I don’t know exactly why, but what was different is I was feeling it, not rationally thinking about stuff I should be grateful for, but instead deeply feeling grateful. It was all about the feeling not some method of convincing myself that I need to be grateful. Maybe my previous attempts at writing down what I was grateful for were too mechanical and laden with some kind of expectation that I should be grateful. Once I started feeling grateful the journaling on gratitude become more specific and insightful. The previous journaling would be things like:

  • I’m grateful for my family
  • My home
  • My work
  • My investments……

This was like trying to brainwash myself, repeating the same old worn out shit day after day, and it didn’t work. Real felt gratitude results in deeper insights into what you are grateful for and seems to be self perpetuating, where as making up super high level stuff like I was results in nothing. You can’t brain wash yourself into being grateful, but it seems you need to feel grateful or the journaling becomes a waste of time.

So where does this leave us when it comes to journaling? These are a few insights I’ve had over the past couple of days:

  • When you do feel grateful by all means write something in your journal and be specific.
  • You don’t have to feel grateful for everything, so if you only have one or two things that you feel truly grateful for then write them down, but don’t feel compelled to write down 4 or 5. It seems like you kill the magic feeling when the whole thing becomes some kind of stupid writing exercise.
  • Don’t time box yourself, if you get up in the morning to write in your grateful journal, take a few minutes to think about it and feel it. Forcing yourself to write something down doesn’t move the ball forward. It’s not about using up paper and filling a page. It is about discovering and feeling real gratitude.
  • Accept that there may be days where you write nothing at all. Maybe you just don’t feel all that grateful today; that’s alright your not a gratitude machine.

I would love to hear about your gratitude journaling experiences and what works for you.

Namaste

 

 

 

Grateful Journal July 18, 2019

Up early again and after a few cups of coffee it was time to practice being grateful again.

source post on Grateful Practice

Grateful Tip of the Day:

The only way to be truly grateful is to appreciate what you have or what you are becoming. You cannot be grateful by spending your time thinking about things you do not have. It is understanding what you have that brings you happiness; there is no happiness in wanting. You will receive more when you finally appreciate all you have.

Journal Entry:

Namaste

Grateful Journal July 17, 2019

Up early again and after a few cups of coffee it was time to practice being grateful again.

source post on Grateful Practice

Grateful Tip of the Day:

While the typical grateful journal entry may only take 10 or 15 minutes, there are times when it will take longer. Don’t give up, search your soul and think about those things that you are thankful for, even if it takes much longer than 10 or 15 minutes. This is not something you are doing that is on your To Do List, it is a practice and only benefits you if you take the time to do it with all your heart.

Journal Entry:

Namaste

Grateful Journal July 12, 2019

Up early again and after a few cups of coffee it was time to practice being grateful again.

source post on Grateful Practice

Grateful Tip of the Day:

Don’t ignore even the smallest things to be grateful for. After all most of our lives are made up of experiences that what we sometimes consider insignificant, but are actually the most important.

Journal Entry:

Namaste

Your Grateful Practice

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything for this blog. I’m not sure why, but it is what it is as they say. I have written about being grateful and actually writing it down in the past, although my own adherence to this advice was somewhat intermittent at best, until about 6 months ago. I broke down and bought a journal partly because I had always read that hand writing things down has more of an impact than typing them. For me that seemed to ring true. So everyday or almost everyday I get up early and at about 5:00 a.m. I start writing in my journal what I am grateful for and then I add a little thing called Decree to the Universe.

The Decree to the Universe is to a large degree a realization that your grateful practice is providing you. It may take the form of an affirmation or at least a way of being, even if it only lasts for the day ahead of you.

Sometimes I write very conventional statements of being grateful for things like my family or my home, and sometimes very simple things like this cup of coffee is pretty damn good. At other times I write what I think I am becoming. All of this journaling takes about 10 minutes of your time. Write down what you are grateful for and then some Decree to the Universe; read it back to yourself slowly so that you really feel it.

One of the things I noticed is that all the benefits I list below, did not happen for me overnight. It seems like it took months to attain the full effect that a grateful practice can provide. Maybe I’m a bit slow, but in any case it appears that perseverance matters.

So why go to all this bother? Well there are a few good reasons:

  1. It’s hard to start your day as an asshole if you just listed a number of things you are grateful for.
  2. It begins to distance you from the woe is me and isn’t this world unfair way of thinking.
  3. You start appreciating even the little things more intensely and you really start appreciating the people around you.
  4. It makes you more focused on who you really are or who you should be than the pain ass that you can be even to people very close to you.
  5. You eventually become more mindful, which ultimately results in you becoming a happier person.

Just a note here, there is really no need to buy some special grateful journal any decent journal with lines on it will do the trick.

Here is an example from my journal this morning. I may post more in the future.

Namaste