Oprah Winfrey talks about gratitude a lot on her television show. She popularized, “The Gratitude Journal” by Sarah Ban Breathnach. In the book, Ban Breathnach suggests that you list five things that you are deeply thankful and grateful for what happened that day. It will help you make each day a passionate experience and help you on your path towards everyday greatness.
Ban Breathnach lost many of her senses as a result of an injury. She couldn’t taste her food or smell her daughter’s hair after it was washed. She couldn’t even listen to music or speak on the phone because it made her dizzy and confused. Months after her accident, she smelled the delicious wafts of spaghetti and meat sauce being made by a friend, and she experienced deep appreciation and gratitude that she never forgot again. She writes, “For the next few happy weeks, I rediscovered life with the same sense of wonder as my little girl. Biting into a ripe, juicy peach. Listening to music. Seeing bright sunlight stream through a window. Being able to wear my favourite sweater. And naturally, cradling my daughter in my arms again. I was astonished and ashamed at my appalling lack of appreciation for what had been right under my nose. All these years later, I strive to make each day a passionate experience, one in which I take time to savour life’s textures, tastes, sights, sounds and aromas. Through the power and grace of gratitude, you, too, can do the same.”
Gratitude is something we should never be missing.
If this moment is not good enough, no moment ever will be.
In Stephen Covey’s book, Everyday Greatness, he says, “People with everyday greatness are quick to exhibit everyday gratitude. They do not take life or the kindness of others for granted. They are eager to say thanks and the first to express praise. Many have found the best sleeping pill comes from counting one’s blessings, naming them one by one.”
In a similar way, an appreciative thinking style can become habitual. An ‘attitude of gratitude’ can become ingrained within our minds so that we have a constant sense of appreciation. A 2009 study at University College London tracked 96 people as they tried to learn new habits, like eating a piece of fruit with lunch, drinking a glass of water, or going for a 15-minute run every day. The study found that, on average, it took 66 days for the behavior to become automatic to them. Something similar may be true for cognitive habits. Several weeks of practicing conscious appreciation could establish appreciation as an ongoing and stable cognitive habit.
So do this for the next 3 months: Whenever you feel down or dissatisfied, change your focus from what you don’t like to what you are appreciating. Start your thoughts with phrases like “I’m glad I’m…,” ‘I’m grateful for…,” “I am fortunate because…”
As explained above, it’s important you stick to it for at least 3 months! It should have become habitual by then.
As usual, share your thoughts in the comments and share if you think a friend should see this!