By Christy Nichols, Life Coach, Professional Development Facilitator, Leadership Training Expert, Purposeful Travel Advocate, CEO at Venture Within,
The feeling of gratitude has come up in a good handful of different conversations all week. Exactly why gratitude has been such a stand-out topic as of late, I’m not entirely sure.
But what I do know is when things show up in numbers, I take it as a sign. To look up, to take note, and take it in. Sit quietly with it and connect deeply for just a few minutes.
I don’t always remember to do this. But today, when I took a few moments to be grateful, it left me with all the feels.
I thought about people and moments and events that had recently lifted me up in some way, and I felt like I was being hugged – a full body, cuddle-puddle, faces-smashed-against-chests kind of squishy hug.
It felt great!! And I realized the three biggest benefits that come from being grateful, and why chasing down experiences we love and pursuing the things we’ll be grateful for should be built into our every day.
Go after what makes us happy. Be fearless in the pursuit. When we get there, express gratitude. Then see what happens for and around us after being truly thankful for what we received. Namely, these three things:
1. Gratitude makes you feel GOOD.
Do you ever find yourself latching on to something negative someone said? Maybe something you took personally, or that riles you up in some way, and you stew on it for hours, sometimes days? Grinding your teeth and feeding the beast, chewing over in your mind how angry-slash-hurt-slash-annoyed you feel?
Sometimes I do. Generally, it leaves me feeling pretty crappy.
Gratitude is a choice we make that turns our perspective around and cheers us up.
So, if our day (or life) has completely derailed, instead of sitting in the mire, imagine if we took the other road. Imagine if we focused on the pure expression of gratitude for a person or experience that gave us a moment of happy and we dwelled on that instead.
And what if we chewed on gratitude for hours, sometimes days? If we fed that beast? I bet we would move through our days with brighter outlooks, more cheerful demeanours, and a more positive approach to whatever life throws our way.
2. Gratitude makes others around you feel good, too.
There is a ripple effect a grateful approach has on outside areas of our lives. Gratitude creates joy, and joy is contagious.
When we walk around unravelled with gratitude instead of with disappointment or expectations, others around us can sense it. Being grateful improves our relationships and improves our interaction with others.
Strangers we may never meet would surely feel the effect of our good vibes in some positive way. Thanking strangers for unexpected kindnesses. Or having private moments of gratitude for a relationship you cherish, for example.
Gratitude doesn’t have to be exclaimed out loud for others around us to feel the benefits. They will feel good vibrations from positive energy we exude with having a grateful heart. It’s true.
I practice this and see it around me all the time through my leadership experiences. Even though it’s not necessarily the end goal of Venture Within’s workshops or retreats, the feeling of gratitude is one of the strongest currents flowing through our participant experiences every time.
We feel grateful for connecting deeply with beautiful moments, inspiring people, and grateful for our rejuvenated mindset.
We’re grateful for the way these things transform us. We’re grateful for being capable of such connection with others, growth within ourselves, and more and more and more . . . . . .you get the point.
It’s beautiful. Like the afterglow of an epic sunset, gratitude turns the lights up inside you, and keeps them on for others to see.
3. Gratitude pivots your focus towards more things that make you feel good.
This is probably the best thing about gratitude. It trains our mind to focus on the good.
Gratitude is not just a moment that comes and goes, or a feeling that is fleeting. It keeps our mind and intentions purposeful and on track, pursuing the people and moments we want more of in our life.
Sitting with gratitude pulls my energy even more closely into alignment with that I had pursued.
Energy flows where attention goes, right? I find the more I am grateful, the more things I have to be grateful for. It’s the simple law of attraction.
I don’t mean to come across as all sunshine and rainbows. Sometimes life sucks. We feel sucker-punched, or exhausted or uninspired or defeated or lost. We all feel this way at one time or another. It’s easy to feel bogged down and heavy.
Gratitude is the reward that comes when we change our perspective.
When we immerse in healing and inspiring experiences to regain a positive focus, we find a way through the shitty times. We regain strength, focus, and connect more deeply to seeking the things we will be grateful for.
I still am unsure why gratitude showed up so many times within my friendship circles this week. But I’m glad it did because it made me reflect, reconnect, and inspired me to share.
It reminded me to be thankful for the experiences I have, but to stay focused on the good, and continue in hot pursuit of more experiences I will be grateful for.
I hope you do too.