3 secret keys to the attitude of gratitude
In this episode, we’re going to dive deep into what it really means to have an attitude of gratitude and the three secrets that no one talks about when it comes to gratitude.
The current meditation in this episode is so fitting being that it’s a gratitude meditation and the topic at hand. So if you’re reading this continue to read and press play to hear the episode as well and relax with the gratitude meditation.
I really think gratitude is an underrated topic in general. I mean, we all know what being grateful means but I don’t think it’s on the front of most people’s minds.
Well, I’m here to tell you that it should be at the front of everyone’s mind because it’s a powerful tool in creating a happy life. Yes, I said “creating” a happy life. It might sound a little weird but happiness is not something that just happens. We make efforts in our lives to do the things that we think will make us happy, right?
As kids, we dream of all the things we want to do when we grow up. Some of us realize those dreams but most of us, literally forget about them. We go to high school and maybe college. Then we start a career if we can find a position in our career of choice or we just get a job because we have to pay rent.
And we just start living life trying to figure out what to do next. Life happens to us and around us and we start to feel like shit and we start forgetting that we probably do have many things in our lives to be happy and grateful for. But all the bad outweighs the good and it’s really easy to lose sight of the good things in life.
Then we say, what good things? We’ll even go as far as defending the fact that our lives are just bad. I’m so guilty of this. I’ve actually argued that no, my life is horrible, I hate my job, I hate the city I live in, the apartment, my car, I don’t have this or that and it can just snowball into a ruminating mess. I’ve made agreements with myself to stop saying, “I hate..” To just take it out of my vocabulary. And it worked for a while but then it tends to creep back in and start complaining again.
I have to admit, my name is Shawn and I have been a complainer. And this bears the question, can one be in a state of gratitude and still complain? The answer is hell no. And this is precisely why I wanted to discuss the topic of gratitude in this episode. How can I continue to complain and still feel grateful? I needed to check myself. I needed to really dive deep into what it means to be grateful. I needed to really feel what it means to live in a state of gratitude.
Being in a state of gratitude changes can change your entire perspective on life. We now know that what we focus on will grow, so just imagine focusing on the things we’re grateful for instead of the things we don’t like. The energy of gratitude is a source of infinite abundance that we can easily access just by being grateful.
You Are a Guest in this House
There is a page in the book Faith in the Valley: Lessons for Women on the Journey to Peace by Iyanla Vanzant, which speaks of gratitude in comparison to being grateful for being a guest in this life. She says,
You are a guest in this house. Life has invited you in for a while. You don’t know how long you are going to be here. So while you are here you must be on your best behavior. Walk and talk softly so you don’t disturb other people. Those who need to know you are here, will know. If you use something, put something back in its place. If you make a mess, clean up after yourself. Don’t wait to be told what to do. If you see something that needs to be done, do it. Do it with joy and love, and please do it well. Try to leave this place in better shape than it was when you got here.
Be mindful not to whine or complain too much. Speak your mind when necessary, but do it with respect and in love. As you move through life’s house, be sure to look nice. Not fancy or flashy, just neat and clean. It brings others great joy to see you look good. Above all else, always be grateful for every little thing life does for you. She could have invited anyone else, but you are someone special, so She chose you. I am a guest in life’s house.~ Iyanla Vanzant
What a powerful metaphor and it really puts things into perspective when you think about it that way. We are guests in this thing called life, so we should most certainly appreciate it and be grateful.
But also, over the years, there’s been scientific proof regarding the positive effects that an attitude of gratitude has on a person’s wellbeing. Studies have shown that practicing a regular gratitude practice can increase joy and contentment in one’s life and helps reduce anxiety and depression. It increases our self-esteem and neuroscientists have found that it literally rewires your brain for the better and releases toxic emotions.
Researchers have found that gratitude is a natural antidepressant and when practiced on a regular basis has almost the same effect as medication. Expressing and receiving gratitude releases dopamine and serotonin in the brain which makes us feel good from the inside.
Naturally, daily consistent practice will strengthen those neuro pathways creating a permanent state of gratitude and positivity from deep within. We’re literally hardwired for gratitude as it brings contentment when it is given and received.
So how do you cultivate an attitude of gratitude? It’s simple, bring your conscious awareness to the things that you’re grateful for every day. That doesn’t mean that magically your days will be problem-free, you will still have to deal with that but now you aren’t dwelling in the problems. You aren’t stressed totally out over something you can’t control. You are focusing on the things you are grateful for, not the problems.
The more grateful you become, the more you begin to see that there are no problems. It’s just life, it is. We make things into problems, we create the drama and act it out. Gratitude reduces the stress hormones and helps create resilience to emotional setbacks and negative experiences.
3 Keys to the Attitude of Gratitude
There are three key points to remember when starting to cultivate an attitude of gratitude. Taking the time to make gratitude a daily practice will truly help solidify the emotion within you.
- Feel the emotion of gratitude. It’s very gracious to say thank you when someone does something kind for you but do you really FEEL gratitude? Or is it just a polite reflex? Chances are for most, it’s usually the latter. We say thank you on cue, to be polite. But really feeling gratitude is something much deeper. I’m sure you’ve felt great appreciation and gratitude for something someone did for you at least once in your life.
That is the emotion of gratitude. Now can you feel that with something much smaller in your life? Like, maybe you feel grateful for finding and listening to this podcast. Lol.. kidding. But big or small, that feeling of being grateful from the heart is key to your practice.
- Extend your gratitude outside of yourself. Like I mentioned earlier, actually telling a person how much you sincerely appreciate them has an awesome effect on you and the other person. Even our children need to know how much we appreciate them and are grateful they’re in our lives. Your kid might think you’re weird but ultimately he/she will appreciate your appreciation.
- Exercise your attitude of gratitude. You have to practice daily to deeply embed the emotions of gratitude inside of yourself. Find at least three things you are grateful for today then use that to start a gratitude journal. Get a notebook and write down today’s three gratitudes. Then at the end of every night before bed, think back on your day and write down your three things from the day.
Take your time and really feel the gratitude in your heart for whatever the day has brought. As the days go by, you will begin to find more and more things to be grateful for in your life.
These three keys really helped me jump right into the gratitude energy. Sometimes I create an affirmation and just say thank you over and over silently in my mind. And a gratitude journal is a great way to track your happiness and go back to see all the things in case you slip into complaining mode or feeling negative.
Of course, meditation helps with catching those thoughts and just being the observer of our own mind.
And on that note, I think I will wrap it up here. And until next time, what do we do? We must do the inner work and create a shift in our own consciousness which will create a shift in the collective consciousness. That is the goal.
Don’t forget, if you like listening to this podcast, we’d love your support. You can support our podcast at anchor.fm/realshifthappens
And please subscribe to Real Shift Happens: Wellness Podcast on any of your favorite podcast platforms.
You can also drop us a message on anchor.fm/realshifthappens. We’d love to hear from you or hear your thoughts on the attitude of gratitude.
Also, sign up for the Real Shi(f)t Bookclub and read or listen to February’s selection, Infinite Self: 33 Steps to Reclaiming Your Inner Power by Stuart Wilde. And we’ll talk about the book in the last week of February.
If you’re like me and you don’t always have time to sit down and read a book, but you still want in, you can get the free audiobook download and your first 30 days free at audibletrial.com/realshifthappens and be a part of the book club discussion.
Until next week, Real Shifters, go within and make real shift happen.