As I prepare for my upcoming workshop this Thursday on ‘Attitude of Gratitude’, I decide to play devil’s advocate and ask myself, ‘What’s the big deal?’.
Am I paying too much emphasis on what may be superficial and unimportant stuff? Have I been wasting my own time writing gratitude journal every night and now recommending other do the same?
I didn’t have to look too far for answers.
The rewards of practicing gratitude for my own self are evident. Instead of taking things for granted, it has prepared me much better for ups and downs; which is what real life is. It has helped me find the silver lining in any situation.
However, I am not satisfied with just what my intuition tells me. My rational mind seeks more data. And data about just me is not enough. I also know that some of my participants will seek more data than just about me! So, I go and dig deeper.
I find plenty of research and studies. There are over two dozen studies which have been done so far in the modern era and the benefits are more than expected. There are plenty of health benefits as well including physical and psychological health, better sleep, improved self-esteem.
I am convinced! With that frame of mind, I prepare for the workshop. I am ready to promote gratefulness unabashedly.
With anxiety, depression and traumatic stress so widespread, anything which can bring a smile alone, is good. Gratitude does so much more.
I design it to be interactive. Participants will learn the ways and then practice it.
I am thinking of five techniques. I plan to use 3 or 4 depending on time and participation from the audience.
The first one is the gratitude journal. This one is about finding three things (people, places or things) to be grateful about on any given day. The more personal and specific you can get, better it is. The name journal implies writing it down and developing it as a habit. Do it every day.
The second one is expressing gratitude. Gratitude letter is one way of doing it. It is writing a letter to someone you want to thank for something but haven’t done until now. It can be something from a long time ago. Express gratitude wholeheartedly. Instead of,’ Thanks for a great job’, get specific.
An extension of this activity is meeting this person and reading the letter out to them.
The third one is the gratefulness breath. Those of you who have followed my blogs know that I am big on breathing. Actually, on breathing consciously!
I believe in controlling breath to create head space, increase calm, boost creativity, reduce anxiety and stress, promote wellness and much more. Therefore, it is natural for me to bring breath here too.
This technique is much simpler than some of other I have covered in previous posts.
Sit comfortably with spine in neutral position. Breathe through your nose throughout. With each breath in, let the lungs expand and fill in your lungs with air. Fill your heart with gratefulness for air, the life force. With each breath out, spread the feeling of gratefulness around you. As you continue to focus on your breath, continue to allow your heart to be filled to the brim with the energy of gratitude for breath and life.
The fourth one is the recovery strategy. This has come in very handy for me in times of distress. It is a useful tool to have. When you are angry or upset at someone or something which is personal, as soon as you become aware of it, immediately replace the thought with a game of finding 3-5 things which were right with that situation, person or place. If this is impossible, find 3-5 things, you could be grateful for in the current moment. Share them with someone.
The fifth one is giving at least one genuine compliment daily or sharing your appreciation or something.
If you were designing this workshop, which three will you pick?
How do you practice gratitude?