I sincerely hope you read this blog post to the end. I’m going to give you a practice that takes zero time and radically improves your life.
At least for us Americans, Thanksgiving is upon us, and I wish you a great one if you celebrate it.
And I’d like to make a teaching moment out of this holiday well-wishing. (Yeah, I do that.)
Gratitude is great. Scientific research shows that people who practice gratitude live happier lives are more productive, creative, rested, empathic, confident, intelligent, and more.
Now, what was the most important word in the last sentence?
For gratitude to impact your life positively, it must be practiced. Think of it as a skill. Once a year in front of a turkey isn’t enough.
If you read my stuff regularly, you know I’m not into positive psychology. I’m a realist.
This is a different animal. This is not about “choosing to be happy” as many would see it.
Gratitude is a practice of accepting reality as it is, and sensing its inherent goodness–not creating that goodness in your mind. There’s a critical difference.
Because whatever your reality is right now, it’s true. And you can either align with it positively or resent it.
Guess which one works better?
So, this Thanksgiving—in addition to eating like a king or queen and binge-watching your favorite TV series—make gratitude a practice. How do you do that? Here’s a simple way:
Link the activity of brushing your teeth to feeling grateful. Every time you brush your teeth, do your best to feel grateful for everything you have in your life. You have to feel it, especially if you don’t want to. That’s what makes it practice.
If you like, you can start with gratitude about your teeth, and go outward from there: the roof over your head, the food in your fridge, the job you have, your partner, the clean air you’re breathing. Look around. Love what you have, it’s a lot!
Sometimes it’ll light you up, other times not. Keep doing it anyway. Practicing gratitude is like compound interest. Try for a month and you’ll see. The effects are not necessarily immediate. Stick with it and you’ll never go back to whatever you were doing before while brushing!