The Gratitude Game
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
For me, The Gratitude Game has been a game-changer. During times of incredible stress, when I have felt like my business is a complete failure or I’ve never done enough in a day – when finances have looked bleak and I’m ready to give up – my practice of gratitude has allowed my resilience to to take over.
Fear took a backseat to the joy of what I have.
By the simple, yet profound, method of focusing on the good in life, I’m able to see difficulty as opportunity. To see a challenging situation as an opportunity to learn.
So I’m going run through what gratitude is, why it works, and how to play The Gratitude Game.
What is Gratitude?
Gratitude is one of the most reliable methods in which you can increase your happiness in life. It is the acknowledgement that all in all, life is good. The simple action of giving thanks for some external sources of goodness, such as gifts, your job, people, love, or a higher power can have an incredible impact on your life’s satisfaction.
While gratitude is denoted to simply be “the quality of being thankful,” it is far more powerful than that.
In the realm of positive psychology, gratitude is seen as a positive emotion that can have great influence over your health, happiness, relationships, and overall sense of life satisfaction.
And the best part?
Gratitude can quickly be developed, starting right now!
How does gratitude make you feel better?
It is a cathartic release. Let me explain.
Crying makes you feel better because it is the physical release of emotion. When you are able to cry, it allows that energy to move through and out of you, so you can begin to move past whatever sparked that emotion in the first place.
Similarly, gratitude releases you from the guilt of not giving thanks in your life. It allows you to fully experience the goodness in your life, and to shift your perspective towards that.
Instead of simply thinking about how you didn’t properly thank someone for their kindness, the act of gratitude allows you to forgive yourself and move on, focusing on the goodness created through kindness, instead of your own, selfish guilt.
Why It’s Called Practicing Gratitude
A common phrase often associated with gratitude is “Paying it forward.” This means to demonstrate an act of kindness without any anticipated return, other than the creation of good.
Granted, one may argue that there is no such thing as pure altruism. While it’s true that most of us may practice random acts of kindness in order for some “Good Karma” in our future, you need to realize this truth:
Most things in life are a practice. Sexual practice. Medical practice. Business practice. When you commit to a practice mindset, you grow every day.
So, while gratitude is actually one highest forms of altruism, it takes practice. Don’t give up after the first two days when you don’t feel immediately better.
When you send out good thoughts for no other reason than to give thanks and experience gratitude, you are performing a selfless act, and the results discussed in this post will soon follow.
When you start paying it forward, and really focusing on all of the amazing people in your life. You’ll reach out to old friends, discover powerful people right in front of you, and your whole world will begin to shift.
A simple “Thank you for talking tonight” can improve you ability to transition a new acquaintance into a lasting relationship.
If you don’t have any amazing people in your life, have a cathartic cry, stop reading this article, and say hello to the first person you see!
More Gratitude = More Lovin’
During a time when distractions are paramount in our day to day life, and we are constantly barraged by sex in the media, it is important to be truly grateful for your partner.
It allows you to focus on all of their incredible qualities, not whether or not they remembered to take the trash out last night.
In a moment, you can make the shift towards a happier, healthier, more passionate relationship by simply loving what is.
Professional Perks Of Gratitude
So How Do You Play The Gratitude Game?
There are a few different ways, but here are some of the ‘rules.’
Start your sentence with, “I am grateful for…”
You could write this down in a journal, or elaborate and share in a blog or social media if that is your jam. Lord knows we could use more positivity in our feeds!
Personally, my favorite time of day to do it is in bed with my partner before we go to sleep. We go back and forth a few times. We demonstrate gratitude for each other, our gifts, our profession, family, love, health, and our connection to a higher power.
I also love to fill up a piece of paper with thanks after my morning mediation. This
As a general rule, more frequently = better. If deciding between daily or weekly, choose daily as research has demonstrated this improves outcomes.
Finally, you can just tell someone, “Thank you for…”
In a world where true connection is getting more and more sparse, write a letter, and deliver it in person. Or send it out and follow up that week with a call.
If you want to increase happiness and life-satisfaction, reduce anxiety and stress, strengthen relationships and get better sleep – don’t count sheep – count your blessings!