By Joy Chudacoff
Practicing gratitude is often viewed as a self-care ritual that, if used consistently, can lead to a healthier, happier and more productive life. Because it’s simple and easy to do, gratitude is often the first action we stop doing when life gets hectic and the last ritual we take on because we doubt that it really works.
LOOKING FOR NEW WAYS TO UP OUR HAPPINESS quotient, many women typically go out and buy a new pair of shoes or a new purse, or go to the spa for a day. And when it’s time to think about getting healthy, we’re programmed to immediately think, “I need to exercise more and eat less.” The fact is, practicing gratitude has become increasingly popular and studies are springing up all over the place about its effectiveness on increasing our happiness, health and overall wellness. If you do an Internet search on “gratitude,” you’ll find a plethora of information, studies and benefits on this simple but powerful practice.
By consciously striving to practice gratitude throughout your life you will feel the benefits time and again. In your 20’s and 30’s, many find themselves rooted in the “pursuit of happiness” in the form of new cars, clothes, lavish vacations, etc. However, by adding gratitude into your life as you pass through your 30s, 40s and beyond, you’ll find more gratitude for things that haveless material value: walking children to school, holding hands, enjoying a deep and meaningful conversation with your spouse or a trusted friend.
It’s simple because all you have to do is think positive, grateful “thank you” thoughts. It’s not always easy because some days feel like a big challenge. When you are having one of those days, it’s easy to revert back to “woe is me.”
HERE’S AN EASY, SMART SOLUTION that I share with colleagues to assist them in making gratitude a part of their daily routine:
Begin and end each day speaking aloud three things When you become grateful for small pleasures, your outlook changes and opportunities seem to open up everywhere in your life. that you are grateful for: My family uses this practice at breakfast and again at bedtime. This begins and completes the day in a positive way. For example, this morning I was grateful for:
• A beautiful, sunny day
• A hot steaming cup of coffee
• A healthy family
• Later in the day, I was grateful for a parking spot within a block of my appointment (When you live in Los Angeles, a good parking spot is a real treasure!)
When you become grateful for small pleasures, your outlook changes and opportunities seem to open up everywhere in your life.
SHIFTING YOUR ATTENTION to what’s most important in your life — what you value — will help you adopt the gratitude habit. Women who live full of passion and purpose find this easy to do. They have pressed the “pause button” on their lives and have spent time getting very clear on what’s truly most important for them. They release what’s no longer serving them and take on more of what matters.
MAKING GRATITUDE A PRIORITY requires positive thinking on a regular basis. It also requires being present. When I learned that it can lead to increased happiness and better health, I made a commitment to my own daily practice of exercising gratitude. It doesn’t take more of my time and I don’t have to go anywhere to do it. This simple, easy, no-cost practice can make a huge impact on your quest to live a life that is full of positive energy, passion and purpose. Anything is possible. Everything is waiting for you.
Copyright 2010 Joy Chudacoff
Joy Chudacoff, ICF, PCC, is the founder of Smart Women Smart Solutions™, a Professional Certified Coach to 1000’s of women, Motivational Speaker, and Entrepreneur. She publishes a weekly buzz generating ezine, Reflections On Life and Business for Women Entrepreneurs. If you’re ready take your life and your business to the next level, get your FREE Tips, 2 FREE Reports and FREE MP3 now at http://www.CreatingTheSpark.com.