We have all heard about the power of gratitude.
It makes you happier.
It makes you healthier.
It makes our lives more satisfying and fulfilling.
And because what you focus on expands, being grateful for the good in your life brings more to be grateful for.
So, if you want to start a gratitude practice that WORKS
Or if you have done gratitude exercises before and found that it didn’t do all that much for you or they felt a bit forced or fake,
Then these 5 tips to creating a powerful, effective and gratifying gratitude practice are for you:
1. Connect your words to a feeling.
What most people do wrong when is come to gratitude practices is they just go through the motions of saying the words because ‘write gratitude list’ is on their mental to do list for the day.
They use generic statements like, I am grateful for my house. I am grateful I have food to eat. I am grateful for my friends. And so on.
The problem with stating what you are grateful in that way is that it doesn’t produce the FEELING of gratitude that you are after
It’s not the WORDS that create gratitude, it’s the FEELING words invoke and represent.
Now, ANY gratitude is better than NO gratitude but if you are just saying or writing them to get it done, you are not using gratitude to its full effect, or likely, any effect at all.
You MUST connect what you are grateful for to a feeling!
Action Step: At the end of each statement you say or write, add on and answer: Because it makes it feel…..
Then, hold that thought in your head as you remember and invoke those feelings. Use your imagination and memory to create or re-create in your mind the person, situation or thing you are grateful for and really FEEL how good it feels.
2. Try appreciation instead of gratefulness
Sometimes the words Grateful or Thankful leads you to feeling the OPPOSITE of what you are trying to focus on. For example, if you say I am grateful for my health, but what you are REALLY feeling and thinking about is how you desperately don’t want to get sick like that person you saw on TV and your dominant thought is “Thank GOD I am not stuck in hospital like that guy” then you are, without meaning to, focusing on SICKNESS.
Instead of the word grateful, it can be more helpful to use the term appreciate.
Appreciation is more connected to noticing and acknowledging what is going well right now in the present moment. As opposed to focusing on what could go wrong (but gratefully hasn’t) or what DID go badly (but gratefully is now resolved).
Being grateful can sometimes activate negative thoughts and feelings. Choosing to appreciate instead can help by-pass that tendency.
Action Step: Instead of writing or speaking a gratitude list, create an appreciation list. Use the prompt, ‘”I appreciate… ” as opposed to “I am grateful for…”
3. Focus only on what you want more of
Focus your appreciation on what you want to expand. Be selective with the words and thoughts you use by only choosing those which describe what you DO want instead of using words and thoughts associated with what you don’t want. .
For example, if you say “I appreciate I am not broke” you have brought the energy and associations of the work BROKE into your focus. Without meaning to, you have activated the vibration of the very thing you don’t want. In this case, being broke! The universe and your subconscious mind do not recognize the ‘not’ part.
Action Step: Choose to use words that are associated with what you do want. E.g. I appreciate that I have all the money I need in this moment.
4. Start with the easy subjects.
If there is an area of your life you are having a lot of issues and negative feelings around, it will be much harder to get into a grateful feeling state around that subject.
Build up some gratitude momentum by appreciating the things that are EASY for you to be be grateful for.
For example, if you feel a lot of angst towards your job, don’t start by trying to make a list of everything you like about your work! Start with what you appreciate about your dog. Or your friends. An area of your life that IS working. Once you get on a roll, you can focus on the harder subjects as long as your feel good doing
Action Step: Make a list now of 5 subjects that are always easier for you to appreciate, even if they seem small or obvious Refer back to this list to jump start your gratitude practice each day.
5. Say more about fewer subjects.
It is more effective to choose one subject and go into more details about it, then it is to focus generally on many different life areas.
Instead of writing a list that states that you appreciate you house and your dog and your partner, pick ONE of these subjects and write a number of specific aspects you appreciate about that topic.
Such as “I appreciate that my partner cooks me dinner because it makes me feel supported and loved. I appreciate that my partner tells me silly jokes because it makes me feel lighter and happier.”
Action Step: For each statement of appreciate you create, list at least 5 specific, positive aspects of that thing, situation or person.
Start using these tips today and watch how quickly your mood, energy and life changes for the better.
But don’t get overwhelmed with trying to remember to use all five tips at once and ending up using doing NONE of them.
Each tip is powerful and hugely beneficial on it’s own.
You don’t have to do things perfectly to make progress.
Much love and appreciation,
Hannah May x
P.S. If you know someone who would appreciate these tips, use the sharing icons below to it send to them.
The more gratitude we can get going on, the better!