Gratitude feels good. Not only to give but also to receive. Studies have shown that people who feel appreciated are happier, more satisfied with their work, and more productive. In addition, grateful people are measurably happier and healthier than ungrateful ones. It makes sense that the more opportunities we take to express our gratitude, the happier and more successful we all will be. Who doesn’t want that?
As we move toward Thanksgiving and the holiday season, it’s the perfect time to flex our gratitude skills. However, it can also be a difficult time to be genuinely grateful for many – and a fake thank you, or a halfhearted one, does more harm than good. Whether in your business world or your social life, thanking people is one of the most valuable and impactful things you ever do. For a thank you to really land and be fully felt by the receiver, it needs to be authentic and come from the heart. Enter: the full body gratitude practice. This, by the way, also benefits the giver – a double whammy of gratitude love!! Nothing is more authentic and present than your body, so let your gratitude practice begin there.
- Stand up or lie down. Take a moment to find your breath. Inhaling and exhaling from the belly. Tense up your entire body (ball your fists, shrug your shoulders, squeeze everything to the midline). Hold for a count of five and let go. Take a few deep breaths. Repeat three (or more) times until you can fully relax and be in the present moment.
- Identify something for which you are truly grateful. Start with something easy and be specific. Think of this as surface level. If it has been a rough day, you can be grateful for your feet that carried you through. Your eyes that took in the scenery. Your coat that kept you warm. There is always something for which to be grateful. When you can identify something easy, move on to a grander gratitude. Why are you grateful? Can you feel it in your body on a deeper level? When it makes you feel good, you’re on the right track. If you’re thanking a person, be sure to include details as to why. “Thanks, Sharon, for all of your hard work” is much different than “Thanks Sharon for staying after work and developing the slides for the presentation. It would not have been as fantastic without your contribution”.
- Say it out loud, write it in a note or send an email. Whatever your gratitude might be, make it heard or seen and felt. Say it out loud – even if it’s to yourself. Feel it deep in your bones or in your heart. Write it in an email or send a handwritten note. Be specific and clear, and above all only express gratitude you truly mean.
You can extend this practice by taking a gratitude walk (or run), outside if you can, and identify all the ways in which you are grateful. Making note of those you need to share with another. You can also designate time each day for gratitude. Whatever you do, be generous with your praise. When you give gratitude, you’re more likely to receive. Your relationships and connections grow, which is extremely important right now. Giving is a win-win in every sense of the word!
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