By Brittney Bergen
Practicing gratitude used to feel like a chore to me. I thought I was already thankful, so why did I need to take the time to write it down? Would it really make a difference?
About two years ago I began a regular gratitude practice. It’s literally transformed my life. Today I want to share with you the why and how of a gratitude practice.
“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more.” – Melody Beattie
1) Gratitude Polishes Your Perspective
Our minds are programmed to look for danger. It’s an evolutionary trait. Our ancestors had to avoid predators and battle with nature, just to survive.
Most of us don’t need to fear for our lives anymore, but our Reptilian brain (the part that’s responsible for the fight or flight response) is still running the show:
- We turn our bosses into predators
- We blame nature for our moods
You have the power to control your mind. You can choose to relax the Reptilian brain and feel the resonance of gratitude throughout your entire body, beginning at your heart.
By focussing on the things in our lives we are grateful for, we actually reprogram the way our mind works.
Instead of noticing potential danger (what if I can’t afford rent? What if my partner cheats on me? What if I fail this lift in the gym?) our brain starts seeking out the things that bring us joy:
- The coziness of my sheets this morning lulled me into a state of absolute bliss
- My partner’s been helping around the house so much lately; I feel totally loved
- It feels so good to be able to lift over 100 lbs over my head; I feel powerful
See what I mean?
By practicing gratitude, you’ll change your life because you’ll perceive it in a completely different way. Perspective is everything: choose a grateful one and your heart will swell with love and joy for the life you are living.
2) Gratitude Boosts Your Vibration
I’m getting a little metaphysical on you here, but I imagine you’ll feel what I mean.
- What does it feel like in your body when you focus on a negative thought? Close your eyes and think about something that’s worrying you now. How do you feel?
- Now, try imagining something or someone that you absolutely adore. How do you feel in your body?
What you just felt was vibration.
I imagine you’ve heard before, “Like attracts like.” The metaphysical principle is that if you’re vibrating at a level of joy, love, and gratitude – that’s exactly what you’ll attract.
If you’re stuck in your low feelings, you’ll continue to attract situations and people that help you stay there. (Think of the last time something bad happened in your life, and your day spiralled out of control.)
“Gratitude can transform any situation. It alters your vibration, moving you from negative energy to positive. It’s the quickest, easiest most powerful way to effect change in your life — this I know for sure.” – Oprah Winfrey
“Gratitude is the antidote to despair.” – Robin Sharma
By practicing gratitude every day, you’ll continually be vibrating at a level of joy, excitement, and love. With ease and effortlessness, you’ll draw in more experiences, people, and things that magnify this feeling in your life:
- You’ll be offered jobs that fill you with joy
- You’ll find yourself surrounded by people who make you smile
- You’ll PR your lifts in the gym because you’ll be pushing the barbell with a body filled to the brim with love – the source of all great super-powers
Now that you know why gratitude’s important, it’s time to crack a journal and get practicing! (But don’t worry, if the thought of a journal makes you quiver, I have alternatives!)
Here are my two favourite ways to practice gratitude:
1) Text Your Gratitude Buddy
For probably 6 months, one of my friends and I have texted each other three things we’re grateful for almost every day! The beautiful thing is, by sharing gratitude, it grows!
I get to read about what’s making her heart smile, and in turn, I catch myself grinning at my phone like a dork.
The other great thing about this practice is, it has built in accountability: it’s harder to forget about your gratitude practice when someone’s at the other end of it!
Some days I’ll forget to text her, and she messages me. If she forgets, her phone goes off with a message from me!
- Who’s a friend you’d love to share your gratitude practice with?
- Message that person right now, send this blog, and see if she or he is down!
- Pick a time of day you want to remember to message each other (we picked noon. It’s nice because I usually do it when I sit down to eat.)
- Message three things you’re thankful for, and don’t be afraid to share the deep details that make your heart swell! #swoleheart
2) Fill Out Your Daily Difference Maker
This is the 5-minute journal I created to help people realize their big dreams in small daily steps!
- A place for a daily affirmation or mantra
- A section to set intentions or goals for the day
- A place to celebrate small daily wins (so long, Reptilian-brain-worries! Hello, victorious perspective!)
- AND you guessed it! A morning AND evening spot to practice gratitude.
In the morning I keep it brief but use enough words to start my day in the vibration of gratitude.
Example of 3 simple things I’m grateful for:
- My cuddly wiener dog
- The deep, restful sleep I had last night
And in the evening, I share the full deets in my Gratitude 5. Here are two examples:
- I’m so grateful for the way my little wiener dog curls up on my clothes whenever I leave them laying around the house.
- I’m so grateful for the opportunity to spend my mornings writing about the things that have changed my life, and sharing those things with the people ready and willing to change their lives.
There you have it, sister or bro: the WHY and the HOW of the gratitude practice. But before you go, let me leave you with:
The One Key to Unlocking the Power of Your Gratitude Practice:
Get into the feeling of gratitude in your body.
A gratitude practice is especially effective in the mornings and evenings; when our subconscious mind (the one that dictates around 80% of our actions) is the most pliable.
Before you know it, you’ll be living a life more epic than anything you could’ve imagined. Your everydays will be filled with moments that make your heart explode with love, joy, and excitement. Your relationships will fill you up. Your career will satisfy your soul.
Now go and get those gratitude gainz, my friend, and prepare to watch your life become utterly transformed.
If you liked this post please share about your gratitude practice with the hashtag #gratitudegainz and tag @idealisticisabel to be featured on our page. Let’s #uplifttheworld together!
Photos: Emma Love Photography
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