The Power of Gratitude

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Most people agree how important it is to be grateful.

Research in Psychology also supports the power of gratitude.

In her book–The How of Happiness–Sonja Lyubomirsky, dedicates a full chapter to this topic.

She uses a definition from a world’s leading expert on gratitude–Robert Emmons:

 Gratitude is “a felt sense of wonder, thankfulness, and appreciation for life.”

[Tweet “Gratitude is a felt sense of wonder, thankfulness, and appreciation for life. – R. Emmons”]

In her book, she shares the multiple benefits that Positive Psychology Research supports.

To practice and express gratitude to yourself and others:

– Promotes the savoring of positive life experiences

Boosts self-esteem

– Helps cope with stress

– Inspires kind and caring behavior

– Helps build social bonds, and strengthen relationships

Counteracts the effects of negative emotions

How does this apply to Self-Employed Professionals?

Most Self-Employed Professionals who want to make a difference in others lives recognize the power of gratitude.

Yet, many don't know how to cultivate this as an habit in their daily lives.

As we refer to in Episode 8 of this podcast, it’s easier to focus on the negative emotions–they are strong and designed to capture our attention.

While we are stuck on a negative reactivity cycle it’s difficult to be grateful.

I suggest that you try the following simple exercise as suggested in the book The How of Happiness:

1. Start by picking a specific time to do this exercise (before going to bed works great for me, some people love to do this first thing in the morning)

2. Think about 3 to 5 things for which you are grateful.  Be specific, and focus on unique experiences that happened recently. They can be mundane happenings – for instance, “I enjoy the smell and taste of the coffee this morning.”, ”It was nice to receive that email thanking me for…”). Or they can be extraordinary – for instance, “I was there when my child gave her first step by herself.”, “So happy to see my niece graduate from high school.”

3. Write these 3 to 5 items in your journal or even as a note in your calendar

4. Do this activity for a week and experience the effects. Maybe you will be positively surprised with some of the results of this practice.

5. After the first week, adapt this activity as seems fit for you. Some people decide just to write one thing they are grateful for on their calendar. Others journal about  experiences they are grateful for once a week. Others, continue to write 3 to 5 things a day.

Whatever works for you. And read The How of Happiness book if you are looking for more ideas on how to cultivate positivity in your live.

Love to hear you comments and learn about your experiences.