Gratitude and its companion, appreciation, are not just healthy emotions to practice. They are the gateway to what we all want in life: joy, enthusiasm, and even love.
Thanksgiving weekend is a great time to start noticing not a few things, but all of the things for which you can be grateful all day long, every day: the people who just expect you to be a part of their lives for important events because you belong with them, the ones who thank you warmly for the dinner, even if you (and probably they) know the mashed potatoes were a little lumpy and the turkey got overcooked, and the ones who look at you with love and overlook the fact that your last haircut was a bit of a disaster. Be grateful for the people who ask you maddening questions about whether or not you have found a partner, or are having a baby. They care for you deeply, but in their own way. They want you to be happy in the ways they think lead to happiness, so you can practice compassion, too, when you think of them.
There is also the person who pauses and holds the door for you on a windy day, the driver who waves you into a lane, the grocery clerk who is working late just before a holiday and who checks your eggs to make sure none are broken… the list can go on and on.
Don’t forget the people who ask how you are and really mean it. The ones who call you just to check in on your situation, offering you encouraging words.
The more you do this, the more you will find people who hold doors, yield to you in traffic, are concerned that your purchases are of high quality, and care about how you feel.
Gratitude is one of those magnets that draws other people to us.
Best of all, by practicing gratitude you are taking baby steps toward self-regulating the Really Big Ones: learning to generate feelings of joy, enthusiasm, and love.
Science now can show us that our feelings are not a direct response to what happens to us. They are a response to what we believe, based on past (and often negative) experiences. Science also tells us we draw to us just what we feel.
So learn to breathe through your heart, feel gratitude, and radiate that feeling to the world. You have absolutely nothing to lose and everything to gain as you learn to self-regulate your emotions regardless of external circumstances.
At best, one writer describes this state as “being on a permanent vacation.” Another goes so far as to say you can be on a permanent honeymoon, a honeymoon on which you will be joined by others.
Want to learn to self-regulate your emotions, experience a joyous increase in your energy, generate enthusiasm for your life as you create new outlets, and live in a world of love?
Visit my programs page to see what I, as a certified HeartMath™ practitioner, can offer.
Start with Sunday Connections, where you explore deep knowledge of yourself, and learn to understand people around you, and even people you are yet to meet.
Lynette Crane is a speaker, coach, trainer, and author who specializes in resilience training and heart-brain connections. She holds a Master’s Degree in Psychology from the University of California and a life coach certification from Coach Training Alliance, and is a certified trainer and coach/mentor with HeartMath™ Institute.