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Gratitude Matters

Thank you!

I did a Facebook Live the other day for the Family Business Network Group with the above title, so here is in written form what I covered.

Gratitude Matters? It certainly does! Being grateful is the key to The Secret, the missing link in the Law of Attraction. It is the message you send out to the Universe that tells it, “This is what I want more of”. So here’s a look at why you should have a daily gratitude practice – and especially at this time of uncertainty and fear.

Why does gratitude matter so much?

Interestingly, there is some scientific research around a daily gratitude practice, that shows that it physically changes the brain to be more positive. It really does change us from being negative to positive! Gratitude is a natural antidepressant.

From a mindfulness point of view, it keeps our mindset focused on the here and now. Not on the past, although if you’re doing gratitudes at a set time, you may be focusing on the immediate past and the immediate future. But if you are actually saying “thank you” to someone, you are speaking to them from the present place. Which leads me to the positive impact saying “thank you” has on people. It quite literally lifts their spirits.

So if you are saying “thank you” in general, or “I am grateful for”, to whom are you saying it?

Some people may be wary of a gratitude practice, because it’s too much like praying to a god they don’t believe in. Well I can tell you this: it really doesn’t matter. If you don’t believe in any god, that doesn’t matter. What you are doing when you are saying “I am grateful” is that you are recognising the contributions of everyone who has got you the thing you are grateful for. So if I say “I am grateful for my automatic car”, I am thanking – in their absence – everyone who built that car: the previous owner who looked after it so well: the sales staff who sold it to me: even the valet who cleaned it for me. You are thanking the people who made it possible, and that is a great thing to do.

OK so I want to set up a gratitude practice. How should I do it?

Well that’s up to you. Some people write 3 things they are grateful for on Facebook every day. Others just run through them in bed, before they get up or at the day’s end. The important thing is that you are consistent. Do it every day. This is how the brain is rewired. (Of course, there is nothing stopping you from saying “Thank you” to someone in person. I recommend you do, and do it often.)

It is also important to note that gratitude and appreciation are two entirely different things, and we are talking here about gratitude, being thankful. This is an active state: you are actually thanking someone/something. Appreciation is passive: you are saying that something is nice or good, without actually putting your energy into it. The active state is what is needed.

What should I say in my daily gratitude practice?

One thing is really important: be specific. It’s not enough to say “Thank you for my life, my family, my health”. That just confuses things. Find something that happened to you that is very specific and be grateful for that. Importantly, don’t be thankful for a negative.

This even appears in the Bible: Jesus told the story of the rich man and the poor man praying in the Temple. The rich man made quite an entrance, dressed in his finery with his staff and hangers-on pushing people out of the way and drawing attention to him. When he prayed he said “God I am so grateful that I am not like that man over there. Look at him, dressed in rags! I bet he won’t put as much into the collection as I am!” Well Jesus’s comment about him was “I tell you in all truth, he already has his reward”. His reward being a boosted ego. The other man just bowed his head and asked for God’s mercy. And Jesus said that the angels in heaven rejoiced when they heard it! So we must be thankful for positives and not compare ourselves to others.

When should I do it?

When you have a spare moment. Each morning, I usually drop my husband at his place of work, and then I drive to my place of work, about 10 minutes usually. This is the time I spend running through my gratitudes. I am grateful for the day, for the weather conditions at the time: for the car as I said above: for the parking space I’m going to get: for the flow of money into and out of my bank accounts. You get the picture. Be specific and positive – and if there’s something you’re not too happy with, find a positive and be thankful for that. That may be the karmic signal that you’ve learnt that lesson, and it’s time to move on from there. Oh and being thankful for being alive is also allowed. After all, what is the alternative?

Where should I do it?

Wherever you are! No need to be in a specific place or time, as the mindset is what counts.

Thank you for reading thus far. If you are inclined, please visit the Centre’s crowdfunder and drop us a bob or two and we will be really grateful as it will help us get through the difficult times ahead. And I’m sure we will get through this. All shall be well.