Oftentimes, I have heard about powers of gratitude exercises, but I also knew that they would be way too hard for me. “It’s not for everyone,” I thought. “I’m just a factual person. I need some real facts to start believing in something. Those people that live in an attitude of gratitude are the artistic type. And that is just not me…” Or such were my convictions at the time…
But I wanted to become those people. I wanted to be grateful, satisfied, fulfilled. I wanted to be able to enjoy life, enjoy today, and enjoy myself. I just couldn’t figure out what I was lacking. Why couldn’t I be grateful for everything that I had?
Something that I also have felt uncomfortable with, as I previously mentioned, I started writing down the things that are good in my life – the things that I should be grateful for, but was not grateful for yet. And I can tell you now, that the hardest part of this exercise was to start this exercise.?
A lot of times, the first little step is the hardest part of the whole process. After I gained traction with this simple practice, then I started saying out loud what I was grateful for. And the more I said these things out loud, the better I started to feel.
Then I came across Tony Robbins’s program called the “Hour of Power,” and it opened my eyes that I have to be the one to set my days up for success. It showed me that I too have this kind of power within me. “Hour of Power” is the time that you devote to yourself, preferably in the morning. It’s a time to acknowledge all the things you are grateful for, and then envision what you want to happen. And it doesn’t have to be the whole hour, it can be 15 minutes, 30, 45 minutes to an hour.
I created a morning routine and started practicing it every morning, Monday through Friday when I worked out. (Working out is a whole other conversation that we will get to another time…) And I started seeing changes in my life almost instantly.
I started noticing things I can be happy about, grateful for, more and more, after I started expressing gratitude. The most important thing – I started feeling differently. “Set up each day for success,” Tony Robbins says, and I have seen that it really works!
I started thinking of what I’m grateful for, both in the morning and each night before I went to sleep. Throughout the day, I started to find things to appreciate. It could be something or someone close to me, something that had happened during the day, or something as simple as the beautiful sky, trees, or the cool breeze during hot and humid day. It doesn’t take much time to do, to start noticing things you can be grateful for. And I was pleasantly surprised that there are so many things that we can appreciate on a daily basis!
I am not going to tell you that everything that irritated or upset me in the past completely disappeared… But I can tell you that I did not react the same way to those things as I did before. They just weren’t as important or significant as they once were. I slowly began to realize that these little annoyances were temporary.
I discovered that I can start practicing the attitude of gratitude during the day, during the interaction with people at work, when I’m not feeling well, when I’m tired, when kids are sick, when I’m doing grocery shopping, when someone had cut in front of me on a highway, creating a dangerous situation – pretty much at any moment (especially an unpleasant or sad moment) that is beyond my control. My state of mind drastically changed after I started practicing gratitude, this new philosophy of mine – or should I say, my new way of living.
Any time you feel angry, irritated, or upset, try to switch your focus to what you are grateful for: your kids, family, home, weather, upcoming vacation, event, something you own, or anything else that is special in your life.
If you are having a bad day, you can turn it around to a good day in the blink of an eye. Sometimes you are fearful or anxious about something, but it can be changed in a single moment. It’s important to remember that fear disappears when you feel gratitude.
“Your worst day is your best day,” Tony Robbins reminds us. “You just haven’t figured it out how to use it! Find good in everything.”
Any unpleasant, difficult, or sad event that is happening to us can destroy us if we let it. Or we can use this event and become better, stronger, and happier! Disappointment either destroys us or drives us – it’s our choice.
Know that there are no mistakes, and that there is a reason for everything. Learn from every single experience. Almost everything that happens to you has a reason behind it, (even though we do not always see the reason in the present). All of these experiences are there to benefit us and make us better, stronger, and happier.
It is a simple truth that whatever you focus on becomes your reality. You can see the same thing or event in a positive light or a negative light. We’ve all heard about seeing the glass half full or glass half empty. Pessimists see it as half empty, and optimists see it as half full. And there were times in my life when I saw it as half full, and there were other times …. half empty. But the most important thing that I have learned is that the glass is refillable.
You need to realize and recognize that your perception is your reality! If you concentrate and focus on the negative things primarily – you live a negative life; if you focus on positive things, events and experiences – you have a great life!
And some of you, I bet, were quick to jump to a conclusion: “Well, it’s not possible in my life to focus and concentrate on the positives…” One of my favorite quotes is from Henry Ford, who said, “Whether you think you can or you can’t, either way you are right.”