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Why Gratitude Isn’t Just For Turkeys

Sometimes in the day-to-day of life, we get so busy ‘doing’ and moving forward to the next thing. The go-go-go mentality is exciting for sure and it gets sh*t done, yet it’s just one piece of the success puzzle.

A couple weeks ago I was in that space. My plate was not just full, but piled and overflowing with to-do's. I found myself blaming time (once again) and getting frustrated at myself because I needed to accomplish more, more, MORE!

After a couple days of feeling anxious and stressed, I hit the reset button on myself and said “Hold on. You freakin’ teach people how to stay the course and get stuff done with ease. What the heck are you doing?!” (Come on, we all talk to ourselves, right?)

I breathed. Felt my shoulders fall back down to where they belonged. And I took stock of what was happening. I realized I’d let part of my nightly ritual fall by the wayside - my gratitude of others and acknowledging myself.

Let’s look a bit further into these two things, shall we?

Expressing what your grateful for has an intensely profound impact on your life. The work of psychologist Robert Emmons, author of Thanks!: How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier, has been super insightful on this topic.

His work and this book in particular is, and I quote:

“...a close-up study of the positive influence on people's lives of the systematic cultivation of gratitude, explaining how the practice of grateful thinking can increase one's chances for happiness and help one cope more effectively with stress, recover more quickly from illness, enjoy better physical health, improve relationships, and can significantly increase well-being and life satisfaction.”

Now, I’ve been a big fan of my gratitude journal for years. When I read Dr. Emmons studies and statistics, I was hooked.

Here are some cool stats from his work -

  • Keeping a gratitude diary for two weeks produced sustained reductions in perceived stress (28 percent) and depression (16 percent)

  • Gratitude is related to 23 percent lower levels of stress hormones (cortisol).

  • A daily gratitude practice can decelerate the effects of neurodegeneration that occurs with increasing age.

Ummmm….what?????? Yeah. More gratitude please.

I realized for a couple weeks, I just stopped being grateful. Wow. What a negative impact it had made, and I cost myself ease.

Acknowledging your successes and progress is a powerful tool to bring confidence and joy into your life. It’s vital to honor yourself! But don’t just believe me…

In a recent study by Teresa Amabile, from the Harvard Business School, and Steven Kramer, they explain how consistently recording your progress helps you appreciate all the little wins, which, in turn, can boost your sense of confidence. That confidence can then be leveraged to support you in achieving the future, larger successes.

They said, and I quote:

Any accomplishment, no matter how small, activates the reward circuitry of our brains. When this pathway is opened some key chemicals are released that give us a feeling of achievement and pride. In particular, the neurotransmitter dopamine is released which energizes us and gives us a feel-good aura. This chemical enables us not only to get that sweet feeling of reward but also motivates us to take action and repeat what we did to trigger its release in the first place.”

Again…..ummmm….what????! More acknowledging yourself please. :)

I realized for a couple weeks, I stopped acknowledging all my small wins. Ugh. By not having “time” to do that, I cost myself joy.

Because of these two scientific facts, I’m back to my routine and released my stress. 

I invite you to join me by creating your own: Success & Gratitude Journal.

Before you go to bed every night, write down:

  • 5 successes you had that day
  • 5 things you are grateful for

After even two weeks, (remember it takes two weeks to form a habit) notice the difference in your attitude and the openness you feel.

The other great thing about keeping this journal, is when you do have down days, you get to go back and read all that you accomplished and all the good in your life. So… when that little voice in your head says – “Ugh, you’re a failure. You’ve done nothing this month”. You can easily and effortlessly prove that little voice wrong and shift.

This Thanksgiving week, I invite you to honor yourself and be grateful for all the good in your life. Not only will it bring more joy and ease to you, you’ll also raise up everyone around you. 

Isn’t that what life’s about? Holding each other high, having compassion and creating joy.

Happy Thanksgiving, friends!

P.S. Need support in moving into the new year? Sign up for a free 20 min consultation with me. I’ll point you in the right direction and see how I can be of service.

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