3 Steps to Incorporate Gratitude Into Your Daily Life

3 Steps to Incorporate Gratitude Into Your Daily Life

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Appreciation can make a day, even change a life. Your willingness to put it into words is all that is necessary.Margaret Cousins

If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at will change.”
Wayne W. Dyer

gratitude

If you visit the self-help or personal growth department of your local bookstore you will find a common theme. The idea is that you can change your life by following a simple plan, few steps or reciting positive affirmations. You are promised you don’t have to keep living the life you currently have. These concepts have always been overwhelming to me. If things don’t go my way or if don’t manage to find a new job, marry my dream man and live in my dream home I wonder if maybe I didn’t follow the steps right or recite enough or the right affirmations. For years I would simply try another plan, read another book (because maybe the next guy would have figured it out and I could read his book and my dreams would come true.) Then I read some research that shows a correlation between reading self help books and low self esteem. Somewhere in this whole mess I realized I had gone to far. I was hit with the realization that maybe I didn’t need my whole life to change to be happy.

Whew I’m exhausted simply thinking about all the expectations I put on myself for so long. This blog was born out of a bit of inspiration I had at a particular dark point of time in my life. I found myself feeling trapped in yet another questionable relationship, I had just moved to a new city and had no friends, no job and no money. I was walking back to my house one morning after stopping at my local coffee shop for a cup of coffee. I was feeling miserable. Wondering why I couldn’t create the life of my dreams like all those books said. I had done everything they said for the past ten years why wasn’t it paying off? I’m not sure what happened next, all I know is gratitude pushed its way into my life in a big way. I was suddenly filled with a deep sense of gratitude for the warm cup of coffee in my hand. Thankful I had enough money to buy this delicious brew. I took a deep breath and realized how clear the air was, another wave of gratitude washed over me as felt my strong, healthy legs as they took me down the street, the sun warmed my face. In just a few moments the spirit of gratitude simply took over and completely changed my perception and experience in the moment. My life hadn’t changed at all, only the way I looked at it. So my blog takes a slightly different approach. I say forget about changing your life and creating miracles. Maybe all we have to do is focus on being thankful and our change in perception will bring about whatever change you are looking for. To echo the words of Wayne Dyer “change the way you look at things, the things you look at will change.”

Here are three practical steps to put gratitude into practice in your daily life.

1. Start Using Gratitude Lists

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Gratitude lists are something I use in my everyday life. At all times I have a list taped to the mirror in my bathroom but it could be on your refrigerator, your cubicle at work or above your kitchen sink. It is simply a list of stuff I’m thankful for. It’s usually the first things that come to mind whenever I make the list. You can make the list as long as you want and change it as often as you want.  Use recycled paper, the back of old receipts, programs, act. Make your list stand out by using colored markers or pencils. You can make a list today, the first things that come to your mind are fine to jot down and hang it up. Keep it up for the next week or so and if it inspires you and helps keep gratitude in the forefront of your life then keep on making them and hanging them. Watch gratitude start to infiltrate your life.

2. Hang up a Gratitude Dry Erase Board in a Prominent Place

My friend Andrea has a dry easer board hanging in her bathroom. A place for her and her husband to write down things that they are thankful for. I loved the idea the moment I heard it. The practice of gratitude requires just that, gratitude. Placing ourselves in an attitude of thanksgiving and being open to look for things we are grateful for doesn’t come naturally. We are  hardwired to look for danger and what may go wrong. Hundreds of years ago our human ancestors had to be a constant lookout for danger in order to survive. In modern society we don’t need this same vigilance but it is still hardwired into us. The good news is that neuroscience teaches us that we have the ability to re-wire our brains and to change the way we look at things. The ability to develop lenses of gratitude can be a journey that requires disciple and gradual shift in thinking. The best way to be able to turn to gratitude first as lenses is to come up with fun, easy and in your face reminders to look for the gifts, to spot things to be thankful for. Andrea’s white board idea is a great idea and there are many others like it that can help bring gratitude to the forefront. Note cards lefts around the house with your favorite quotes or reminders of reasons to be thankful. Books written on the subject of gratitude. A gratitude journal is a great start! Feel free to come up with your own ways to incorporate gratitude into your life.

3. Diffuse Uplifting Essential Oils

One of the main reasons I personally starting incorporating essentials oils into all areas of my life was the positive effect the oils had on my mood. I first I couldn’t figure out what was going on. Were the oils really helping my moods? I started doing the research and found out that yes; essential oils can positively impact and support your moods. If you are starting an active gratitude practice try diffusing uplifting oils in your home throughout the day to inspire and support you in practicing gratitude. Uplifting oils include: bergamot, ylang ylang, grapefruit, ginger, cypress and frankincense. Start with one or two drops in the diffuser before you write your gratitude list or when your having trouble reaching for a grateful thought and observe the way the oils support you in your endeavor.

essential oils and gratitude

Get INTO the life you are living now. Explore the adventure you are living NOW. What if nothing had to change?

What if you didn’t need a new partner, a new job, a new city? What if you didn’t need to travel to more places or lose more weight? What if all the excitement you were looking for was wrapped up and hidden in the present moment?

What if miracles and magic were waiting for you and all you had to do was simply look for them. I believe that gratitude, the simple act of being thankful is the key to a whole new world that exists within your current situation. The start of this process is to begin to pay attention to all the little details. The way breeze feels as it hits your face. The warmth of the sun, the sound of children playing or birds singing, the pleasure of tasting food or the simple bliss of hugging a friend or loved one. Let gratitude lead the way.

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How To Free Yourself From Anxiety, Fear and Negative Self-Talk.

How To Free Yourself From Anxiety, Fear and Negative Self-Talk.

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I want to share with you a powerful process I designed to free myself from anxiety, fear and negative self-talk. I use this with all my coaching clients and in my own life. I have found this simple process effective in shifting mental states and ultimately re-wiring your brain.

 

This is called the FREE technique, an acronym for the four steps of the process. It directs our attention in a clear, systematic way that cuts through fear, anxiety, self-doubt and negative self-talk. Here are the steps in the way I’ve found most helpful:

Feel – Don’t try to escape the feeling, name it, locate where you feel it in your body and stay with it. By actually feeling what we are feeling it often doesn’t last as long.

Remember – Remember something you love about yourself.

Enjoy- Pick one thing you enjoy about the present moment, something simple like the sun on your face or the cozy chair you’re in.

Embrace- Decide to embrace and love all parts of yourself, being human isn’t about being perfect or happy all the time but embracing the wide range of human experience.

 

The FREE process immediately begins working to change your state by helping to move emotions and feeling through your body and connect you to your true self. 

  1. Feel Your Feelings.

Most of us are afraid of feeling emotions that may cause us pain. We will do anything to not feel sad, afraid, confused and alone. Instead of feeling what we will have to feel sooner or later we eat, drug, obsess, distract ourselves with technology or any other number of things to help us numb our experience. Unless we take the time to feel our feeling they will stay with us and we will continue to try to numb this pain until it intensifies to the point where we have to deal with it. Do yourself and favor and take the time to feel your feelings. Stay with the feeling, let the intensity of what you are feeling wash over your body, then watch it move through and diminish. Your emotions are not YOU; they are simply emotions and must be felt and moved through your body.

Louis C.K. on feeling your sadness. In the second part of this short clip Louis C.K. explains feeling your feelings so well.

“Sadness is poetic, you’re lucky to live sad moments.”

 

  1. Remember Something You Love About Yourself.

When we are caught in a negative state it is usually accompanied with negative self-talk and false beliefs. Take the time to remember a few things that you love about who you are. If you have trouble thinking of things ask a few people who are closest to you and who love you to give you something to start your list. Makes a list of everything you love and appreciate about YOU. You can refer back to this list whenever you need.

  1. Enjoy The Present Moment.

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I encourage my clients to focus on things about the present that can’t be purchased, things that are always present regardless. For example: the weather, the way the wind moves the trees, the blue sky, the smell of food cooking etc. This is ultimately a gratitude practice, the more you do it the more you will find to enjoy.

 

  1. Embrace Your Humanity.

Many of us hold the belief that we have to be perfect in some or all areas to be happy or to love and accept ourselves fully. For example, you may believe you have to weigh a certain amount, find your life purpose, succeed in a certain type of career, eat a certain diet and the list goes on and on before you can enjoy your body and your life. This is a lie that you have to stop believing. To be human is to be imperfect; in fact perfection does not exist. You’re off the hook, you don’t have to work harder or do more to be ok. You are totally worthwhile and acceptable as you are.

 

If you find yourself overcome with fear, depression, anxiety, self-doubt or self-hate take 10 minutes and work through this FREE process and enjoy your own ability to shift your state, free your mind and live a life of joy.

 

* Disclaimer. This process does not take the place of a mental health professional. Traumatic experiences are best worked through with the help of a trained professional.