We live busy, full and noisy lives. For many of us, every day can be getting through to-do lists, meetings, eating, connecting with loved ones, catching up on the news. While we are moving through the day, we get lost in the sea of our mind and the noise of everything around us. Further, today’s non-stop news (especially with the 2016 election) and constant information streams can create sensory overload. With all the things going on in the world, it is easy to lose touch with the present moment. We can start to forget about all the good things that are happening and start to focus on what is going wrong.
With the holidays upon us, it is a great time of the year to slow down, reflect and be in gratitude.
Gratitude is not just about counting your blessing – gratitude is about presence. Working at CTI, we live the Co-Active Model which is all about the being and the doing. Who we are being in a moment is just as important as what we are doing. Gratitude accesses a part within ourselves that opens our hearts and minds to a greater wisdom. And in that wisdom we are able to act in a response-able (responsible) manner.
Professor of psychology, Barbara Fredrickson, from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill research has shown that on average, “we all need at least three positive emotions to lift us up for every negative emotions that drags us down.” This is called the “positivity ratio”. Practicing gratitude is a great way to increase our “positivity ratio” and focus on the good in our lives. Furthermore, according to research from the University of Miami and the University of California, Davis people who practice daily gratitude have significant health benefits. Gratitude boosts our immune systems and improves our emotional states. A simple task of appreciation helps in preventing sickness, exhaustion, improves our daily mood and even impacts our performance.
Tapping into gratitude is not another item to add to your to-do list. Practicing gratitude makes our to-dos more enjoyable, fulling and connected. Even better, the practice of gratitude isn’t hard. We have three easy steps to practice gratitude every day.
- Pause: At the end of every day take a few moments to get curious with yourself. What was great about today? It can be as simple as the sunshine on your face to a kind word a colleague said to you.
- Take note: start a notebook writing down a 3 to 5 things that you are grateful for. As the notebook grows so will different areas of your life.
- Spread it: Share what you are grateful about with others. When we tell people around us that we are grateful for them our worlds dramatically change. And taking it one step further, start writing down what you are grateful about with yourself.
Gratitude is simple and yet one of the most profound things we can do in our everyday lives. Tapping into all the good in our lives brings more good things. As you set the Thanksgiving table this year, take a minute to have a new appreciation for giving thanks and gratitude for yourself and those around you.