If you have studied personal development for at least five minutes, you have probably heard of the power of gratitude. What does it mean?
The power of gratitude starts with the realization that your thoughts are a powerful force in the universe. People don’t realize that thoughts are things. So, I have to go back and start with his topic before I can relate to you the power of gratitude. Your thoughts trigger an automatic response within your brain. If you have a negative thought, your brain sends chemicals into your body like cortisol. This stress hormone can cause all sorts of damage within your body. When your brain is thinking positive things, it sends out dopamine and serotonin. These chemicals heal your body from the inside out, cause the feeling of relaxation and happiness, and relieves anxiety.
Some studies say that we have over a hundred thousand thoughts a day. The same study says the majority of those thoughts are negative. Can you imagine going to your doctor and asking him or her to give you a shot of stress hormone 90,000 times a day? Nobody in their right mind would do this. And yet we do it every day.
Now that you know how your thoughts can create your biochemistry, how does this affect your world? Quite simply, your thoughts affect your biochemistry, which in turn affects your emotions and then your behavior. Your behavior over a continued period of time will create the world around you. How many times have you had a negative experience, and then you thought about it, and the longer you thought about it, the angrier you became? That attitude snowballed into bad behavior. Afterward, the consequences were so much worse than if you had not behaved in that particular way? Maybe I’m the only one that has had this kind of issue, but I doubt it.
If we could stop that train of negative thinking in its tracks, reverse gears, and start thinking positive things? How would that change the circumstances? How would that change your biochemistry?
Tony Robbins says, “When we have an attitude of gratitude we see life as it is; an unbelievable gift.”
How does all of this relate to gratitude? First and foremost, you must understand that gratitude does not diminish the problematic situation. By choosing to be grateful, you are not saying that the problem isn’t negative. You are simply refusing to allow the negative train to barrel out of control down the tracks until it derails and explodes into a bad situation. You are merely changing your thought process over to something else that can make you feel better, make you behave better, and make the situation turn out okay.
There was a study in a major US Corporation done on the effects of gratitude in the workplace. This company split their crew in half. Half of the people exercised gratitude every morning for 10 minutes before they started working. Some managers had them write a letter of thanks to someone that they appreciated. Other managers had them list ten things they were grateful for at the beginning of the day.
At the end of the study, the corporation took all of the statistics.
-Productivity increased by 37%
-Their sales increased by 37%.
-Their accuracy increased by 19%.
-Their energy increased by 23%
-and they were 40% more likely to be promoted.
How do you think your day would turn out if you started today with 10 minutes of gratitude? This test alone shows a marked increase in positive things. How was your day be if your productivity was increased by 37%? What if your sales increased by 37%? How would that affect your income? What if you had 23% more energy and didn’t have to grab that second cup of coffee at 3 p.m.?
There’s an old saying that says, “In everything give thanks.” Many people tend to believe that this means you have to be grateful for the difficult circumstance. This concept is not true. You are supposed to be thankful despite the adverse circumstance. There’s another saying that says, “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” If you continually think of positive thoughts, you will turn out better than if you’re always thinking negative thoughts.
A 2018 study by The Greater Good Science Center says a regular habit of gratitude increases happiness, satisfaction with life, and better physical health. It creates better sleep, less fatigue, and less anxiety. I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t want those things.
In my study on gratitude, I found that the word is derived from the Latin word gratia meaning grace. I don’t know about you, but when a situation gets difficult, I could use more grace in the ordeal.
Tony Robbins once said that you can’t be grateful and fearful at the same time. He said that it’s physically impossible. I did not believe him, so I researched it to find out what he meant by that. It means the part of your brain that is an operation while you’re fearful and afraid is also the same part of the brain that operates when you practice gratitude. You literally shut off one to turn on the other. Your brain cannot physically be happy and sad at the same time. Now, does that mean you can feel happy about one thing and then think about something sad and immediately become sad? Yes, that’s the way it works. You might switch back and forth between the two at lightning speed, but you can’t do both at the same time. That tells me if I want to stop the negative thinking from spiraling out of control, then I need to manually stop that train, reverse gears, and start thinking about gratitude and positive things.
I created a gratitude worksheet for those of my author students taking my author coaching course. Take ten minutes at the beginning of the day and think of ten things that you are truly grateful for. Do this for thirty days and then come back and see how you feel. I guarantee you the next 30 days will be better if you are grateful.
I have attached the PDF document to this post so you can download your very own gratitude journal.
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