Creating a feeling of gratitude as a prerequisite and a driver for creating a positive psychology requires more than just saying thank you. For some of us more than others, gratitude is a complex feeling and we have difficulty grasping its meaning, let alone genuinely feeling it. It was only after a series of life changing events that I sincerely felt gratitude for all I have and for all I am and was able to comprehend and appreciate the meaning of gratitude and its positive effect on my mindset. By all means, I was reminded many a time throughout my life that I should be grateful for what I have, I should be grateful for the little things in my life and that I should take a moment and smell the flowers each day. Unfortunately, no feeling can be imposed and be felt as an obligation or a must do. What can we do to feel grateful?
They say that love is doing. Gratitude is doing too because by doing we form the habit, the habit subsumes us, it reaches into our soul and creates the genuine feeling. Creating a feeling of gratitude is transcending the words and turning them into daily small actions.
Say thank you as many times as possible within the day.
This includes thanking ourselves and patting ourselves in the back for every little step we take towards our goals, for every single one of our small successes. Thanking ourselves creates a positive mindset and we can more easily express gratitude or thankfulness to others. For example, I give myself a high five when I complete a difficult project at work or I handle a difficult situation and so on. My opinion counts to me even if nobody will express their appreciation for my work and take my daily good performance for granted.
It also includes thanking colleagues for their performance and for every little thing they do that creates a pleasant work environment and contributes to the team performance.
It includes providing positive feedback to our boss, colleagues, clients, family members. Encouragement and recognition result in more of the same desired behavior. The positive feelings we help create in others find their way back to us and enhance our positive mindset. It is an ever-expanding circle of good.
Write a daily appreciation list and include all the things, people, experiences that make us happy, joyful, proud and in general are important to us. For example, I am grateful for having found a new job twice after I left the bank in 2013. I am also grateful for writing this blog at this very moment in a nice, cool room when the temperature outside is already 33 Celsius at 10:00 in the morning (this in Nicosia, Cyprus).
Follow a daily gratitude ritual. Take a moment or a couple of minutes during the day and reflect on the people, things, experiences that bring us joy. We may incorporate this as part of our daily priming or journal writing in the morning or in the evening. As said before, the key is the word daily in order to form the habit.
Play the Glad Game. This is a more creative way of practicing gratitude that is to feel thankful when bad things happen. This is what Pollyanna was all about if you happen to be familiar with the classic 1913 children’s literature series of books by Eleanor H. Porter that I grew up with in the 1970s. Pollyanna was faithfully practicing finding something good that she could be glad about out of each unpleasant or bad situation, misfortune and even tragedy that she encountered in her life. The Pollyanna principle is now described as a subconscious bias towards the positive.
Play the Glad Game today and create your own subconscious bias towards the positive. It will change your life! Explore your own unique ways of feeling and expressing gratitude as a game changer in your life and workplace with the help of a professional coach.
As my favorite poet says you will never find any obstacles in your journey,
as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,
as long as a rare excitement
stirs your spirit and your body.
Travel joyfully to Ithaca!