Can you believe it?
Only five weeks left in 2012. That means the holiday season is fast approaching.
In the U.S. that starts with Thanksgiving. And since that’s just passed, I thought I’d reflect a bit on gratitude.
Believe it or not, gratitude is a very important influence on our paths to success. And today I have a simple, but powerful 3-step exercise for you. One that will add an exciting new dimension to your life and business, boost your overall health and well-being, and… flat out… make you feel good.
A few years back, the University of California published a summary of results from a series of highly focused, cutting-edge studies on the nature of gratitude, its causes, and its consequences.
Below are just some of their findings:
– In an experimental comparison, those who kept gratitude journals on a weekly basis exercised more regularly, reported fewer negative physical symptoms, felt better about their lives as a whole, and were more optimistic about the upcoming week compared to those who recorded hassles or neutral life events.
– A related benefit was observed in the realm of personal goal attainment: Participants who kept gratitude lists were more likely to have made progress toward important personal goals (academic, interpersonal and health-based) over a two-month period compared to subjects in the other experimental conditions.
– A daily gratitude intervention (self-guided exercises) with young adults resulted in higher reported levels of the positive states of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, attentiveness and energy compared to a focus on hassles or a downward social comparison (ways in which participants thought they were better off than others). There was no difference in levels of unpleasant emotions reported in the three groups.
– Participants in the daily gratitude condition were more likely to report having helped someone with a personal problem or having offered emotional support to another, relative to the hassles or social comparison condition.
– In a sample of adults with neuro-muscular disease, a 21-day gratitude intervention resulted in greater amounts of high energy positive moods, a greater sense of feeling connected to others, more optimistic ratings of one’s life, and better sleep duration and sleep quality, relative to a control group.
– Children who practice grateful thinking have more positive attitudes toward school and their families.
It’s clear – from studies and personal anecdotal evidence – that spending time each day reflecting on the aspects of your life your grateful for is both healthy and rewarding.
So, since Thanksgiving is right around the corner, here’s a little 3-step exercise for you. (And you don’t have to be in the U.S. celebrating Thanksgiving to do it…)
I call it the Entrepreneurial Gratitude Intervention:
Step #1: Create a “Gratitude List.” Spend 20 minutes thinking about and writing down all of the things in your life you’re grateful for. Your journal is the ideal place to keep these thoughts.
Step #2: Spend 10 minutes meditating on one of the items on your Gratitude List. Think about why you’re grateful for it. How thankful you are for having it in your life. Think about what it truly means to you.
Step #3: Each day going forward, spend 10-minutes meditating on another item on your Gratitude List. As you realize you have new areas, items, or aspects of your life to be thankful for, add them to your Gratitude List and the daily meditation rotation.
This is something I try to do daily. Operating from a position of gratitude is really a powerful strategy. It will add a boost to everything that’s good in your life.