Amongst the ‘gifts for your inner-peace and mindfulness’ in an earlier post, I proposed ‘appreciate’: ‘take a moment daily to appreciate some things around you: each mouthful of a meal, a painting or a picture, sunrise or sunset, the beauty of an architecture…’
As a person, you can also choose to be grateful for:
- your health
- your self-awareness and self-acceptance
- your inner-greatness
- the people you love and who love you
- the successes and failures you are learning from
- the opportunities associated with challenges you meet
- the hobbies you indulge in
- the gifts of your talents
- and SO much more…
What difference can it make? It improves your mental and emotional well-being in the moment. Dr Sonja Lyubomirsky (of the University of California, Riverside, in her book “The How of Happiness”) calls gratitude a ‘meta-strategy’ for achieving happiness. She found out that feelings of gratitude are incompatible with negative emotions such as anger, hatred, bitterness or greed.
Here’s an illustration she offers:
“I have coached several women who overcame breast cancer, and I marvel at how grateful they are for so many things. Said Linda: “I woke up this morning as I saw the warm, orange sun-rays pierce through the shutters. I felt so fortunate first to wake up, and then to live in this home in the middle on nature. My daughter Sonia came to my bed, with a feverish look and whining that she didn’t want to go to school. I guessed she had caught the flu, and I felt happy I could take care of her. Fortunately, my colleagues and I cover for one another when one of us needs to take a leave of absence. Before my cancer, I would have whined that the sunlight was shortening my sleep, that raising children was such a heavy duty at times, I wouldn’t have dared to ask for colleagues’ help. I am so grateful that my breast cancer empowered me to fully appreciate the beauty in Life, and let go of so many inhibitions.””
As a leader, you can take it further and choose to be grateful for others’
- and so much more…
What difference can it make? Think about the last time someone told you that you matter to her or him… Remember the latest feedback you received that was heartfelt and specifically acknowledged something you did… Recall the most recent genuine ‘thank you’ you received… How did you feel? How did it influence the relationship you have to that person?
Expressing gratitude to others generates positive energy in them, makes them feel valued, and willing to do more good. And neuroscience has demonstrated time and again that it makes you happier and healthier. No wonder why Steve Maraboli (American writer, in ‘Life, the Truth, and Being Free’) wrote, “Those who have the ability to be grateful are the ones who have the ability to achieve greatness.”
1st Tip: Stop complaining for 24 hours… and observe what happens and how your feelings evolve.
2nd Tip: For a few minutes, let your thoughts focus on what you can be grateful for every morning before you start your days.
3rd Tip: Say a heartfelt thank you everyday to at least 5 people you are grateful to. And tell them exactly what it is you are grateful to them for.
Simply put, gratitude enhances both your motivation and that of the do-gooder!
I wish you bright days enlightened by optimism, trust and gratitude.
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Republished with permission. Originally published on the Greatness Leadership Coaching Blog.