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I've got a new feeder and the birds are off the hook!
I don’t know about you, but there’s something reassuring when our little feathered friends show up and sing their little hearts out. And the flowers - blooming with such hope and optimism.
Despite the troubles in our crazy world - mother nature has a way of reminding us that we have so many things to be grateful for. That’s why I’m . . .
giddy with gratitude
What’s so great about gratitude? It helps us find our joy.
This may seem like a naive notion, but it's actually a strategy you can use to counterbalance your natural negativity bias that, if unchecked, can lead you to take things for granted, giving your full attention to your problems as you loop through all the things - big and small - that aren't quite right in your life.
On the flip side, when we reflect on the things in our lives that we're grateful for, even the "smalls" (as my Auntie Ev calls them), it helps us balance out negative, depleting thought patterns, like the recurring message that there's never enough time.
Instead of go-go-go, when I take a moment to pause, reflect, and celebrate the goodness that I already have, I give myself permission to enjoy my life and show up with energy that's more positive and beneficial.
And it only takes 2 minutes, Love.
If you're just getting started, it's all about repetition - like doing reps at the gym to get your body in shape. The mind works like a muscle in this way, too. As you tone your grats each day, you build resiliency and your overall happiness levels go up and up and up.
BONUS: no gym membership required.
Training your mind to see the joy that's all around you cultivates “a positive mood, hope, and resilience” says Dr. Kathi Kemper at Ohio State University’s Center for Integrative Health and Wellness.
Growing your gratitude can also elevate:
- your awareness
- your creativity
- your relationships
- AND your problem-solving abilities!
According to physician turned mindfulness teacher, Dr. Christiane Wolf, gratitude shifts our attention to peace, contentment, and calm - instead of endlessly craving the next best thing.
These are powerful contributions that make you more effective at EVERYTHING you do.
Plus, you're cultivating a sense of “enough”, rather than an automatic tendency to feel that there's always something missing.
This is so true for me - how 'bout you?
One of the best parts of getting giddy with gratitude is that it's always there for you. But don't wait until your life feels out of alignment to kickoff or freshen up your gratitude practice.
You can start now.
LET'S GO, GRATITUDE!
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3 good things: daily
When the kids were little, we started a tradition taking turns sharing our gratitudes at the dinner table. Each of us would come up with three things we’re grateful for - and why. To keep it fresh, we’d focus on the past 24 hours.
On top of the good vibes, you might be surprised how much I learned about my kids - especially during the high school years when it seemed impossible to get them to tell me anything!
These conversations were refreshing and fun. A welcome alternative to the stressful and divisive topics that are bound to come up. AND, better for digestion.
Now that the kids are older, we’ve moved our grats from the dinner table to a group text.
MAKE IT SOCIAL: You can practice with your family or your favorite friends to deepen your connections and grow your heart.
* * *
best of: weekly
This year, my niece, Alice, asked if I’d be her gratitude partner!
Every Sunday, I peruse our Team Brugger text thread and cherry-pick 3 highlights to share with Ali.
She lives on the East Coast, so I don’t get to see her as much as I’d like. But sharing grats keeps us connected in the most incredible way! And when she goes off to college in the fall, I'll get to be a freshman all over again. 😉
end the year on a high note
After texting Ali, I write my top three weekly grats on an index card. At the end of the year, I’ll have 52 cards expressing 156 highlights from the year.
This deck of grats makes a wonderful year-end ritual to reflect on all the goodness that’s come my way.
A Gratitude Jar is another option for work or home.
Every time something good happens for you, your family, your team - write it down, date it, and put it in the jar to capture your winning moments throughout the year.
Whether you make your year-end goals or not, you’ll have a jar full of things to be grateful for. You can put them in chronological order and share them at your annual holiday party or New Year's celebration!
* * *
keep it classic, get a journal
Shawn Achor, a happiness researcher and positive psychology advocate, includes gratitude as one of 5 DAILY HAPPINESS HABITS in his book, The Happiness Advantage.
He recommends writing down three things you’re grateful for in the past 24 hours, and why. (Sound familiar? This is where I got the idea to share grats at suppertime).
As you scan your day and jot in your journal, you're training your mind to be on the lookout for the beauty, joy, and happiness that surrounds you.
Shawn recommends you try it out for 21 days and see how it changes your optimism levels. Then do it for the rest of your life!
It's short, sweet, and satisfying.
* * *
These cards are from my Live Your Values deck by Lisa Congdon & Andreea Niculescu. It’s a 78-card deck that helps you hone in on your core values with tips on the back!
grateful for you
From my heart to yours, thanks for helping me spread some gratitude.
May your practice deepen your connections and grow your happiness.
Please comment below and let me know what's working for you! Or click here to send me an email.