For the past four decades, I’ve known this. Since birth, I’ve been groomed to have good manners. Say please. Say thanks. Smile and never look a gift horse in the mouth.
But, especially in November, the gratitude meter moves higher because everyone (well in the US anyway) is coming together to celebrate a holiday with ‘Thanks’ in its name. Gratitude is expected and many of us become reflective.
What about the rest of the year?
“I don’t have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness — it’s right in front of me if I’m paying attention and practicing gratitude.” — Brene Brown
We spend much of our time scratching to survive. We get swept up by the daily bustle and our clocks are our commanding officers. We run from appointment to appointment. I’m guilty. From the soccer games to the basketball games and practices, the dance rehearsals, the cheerleading, the choir, the airport, the church, the supermarket and the car, life is one hustling train.
And it’s so easy to NOT pay attention.
It’s easy to get caught up in the stress. Before you know it, you’re drained and you have nothing to give. You’re doing all of this while searching for just one moment in time which will spark a forever memory…grasping at the fleeting whispers of time.
It’s fast and furious.
Like the roaring whitewater rapids just sweeping you wherever they will.
But there is an anchor which slows the pace and allows you to capture more moments than you could even imagine.
When you stop to be grateful, it:
1.Reduces your stress. Your mind shifts from worrying about what you don’t have and what you need to a frame of what already exists, what you DO have and what you have been able to accomplish. Gratitude grounds you and re-connects you to all of the elements of your life which cause you to thrive. Gratitude is also a natural muscle relaxant.
2.Forces your mind to be intentional. Instead of letting the negative emotions flow or apathy to rule, you begin to search your mental domain for any reason to turn your reality into a positive. You naturally begin to look for the great things or at least a way to spin the groaning moments into growing moments. This must be done on purpose and thankfulness forces this.
3.Makes the annoying things less important. You’ve been grinding through challenges and it seems like your entire day is wrapped up with these battles. But, taking a few moments to give thanks helps you to realize how meaningless some of the stresses are. When I give thanks for my friends and for all of the people who contribute to my life, that one annoying Facebook comment seems so small in comparison. The person who cut me off in traffic seems silly in comparison to all the great things in my life.
4.Simply allows you to stop. That’s it. We’re always going and sometimes, we just need a moment to stop. Sure you can give thanks on the go. But, we you really show gratitude, you stop to relish it and realize how much you really have.
…for my awesome wife,
…for my amazing kids,
…for my always encouraging parents,
…for my rockstar siblings,
…for the kids on my street who recklessly ride their tricycles in front of my car,
…for the homeless people in the supermarket parking lot who constantly remind me how easy my life really is,
…for the crazy, Maryland traffic which constantly gives me an opportunity to practice patience,
…for the business failures I’ve had and continue to learn from,
…for the ideas I’m given daily,
…for the daily opportunities to create,
…for the people in my online communities who give me an opportunity to serve them daily,
…for the moments like this where I’m able to reflect,
…for the people who I’ve wronged who continue to show me grace,
…for the people who continue to pour into me,
…for my mastermind partners and business growth buddies,
…for the business, corporations, young people and politicians who have allowed me to share my gifts with you this year,
…for being to sit here in this very moment, inhaling and exhaling,
Thank You! Thank You very much!!