A Coaching Power Tool created by Cameron Popp
(Life Coaching, UNITED STATES)
What if there was a pill that could improve your health, help you sleep more soundly, improve long-term relationship satisfaction, and lessen anxiety and depression. Would you take it? Before you decide, know that this pill also has no side effects, is completely free, and its benefits have been reproduced in the lab. The pill is called gratitude.
Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance. Eckhart Tolle
Gratitude is the act and feeling of authentic appreciation for someone or something. It is an action that makes you fully aware of the benefit you have received or will receive. Feeling grateful is different from a debt you feel you must return. Unlike indebtedness, gratefulness is free of shame and guilt; instead it is a deep appreciation felt by your whole self. More than simply producing good feelings, gratitude is a tool can be used to reappraise challenging situations, build emotional resilience, and free up energy for meaningful growth.
There are many ways of cultivating gratefulness. Writing “Thank you” notes, making in-person visits, meditating on grateful events, and counting your blessings are all great ways of experiencing thankful energy. In this power tool I focus on writing down things to be thankful for, but remember that developing your own gratitude practice is essential to reaping its benefits. Based on research1, the ideal frequency of doing gratitude exercises is around once per week. Those who did gratitude exercises three times a week did not achieve increases in their wellbeing, whereas those with a once-per-week practice did.
As you use this power tool, watch for the energies flowing within you. The potential for authentic gratefulness exists within everyone, but it can take a while to awaken thankful feelings within. Be patient as you go through the exercise, and make sure to write things you feel truly grateful for. Make a sincere effort to think of worthwhile answers to each of the questions. Once your potential has been awoken, you’ll be able to feel the grateful flow in every moment of your life.
Say thank you, always. Gratitude is the closest thing to beauty manifested in an emotion. When you’re grateful, people are attracted to you. Mindy Kaling
1. Start by writing down something that benefitted you today that you took for granted. Take your time, making sure to feel grateful for whatever you think of. A warm shower, nourishing food, chirping birds, or something important you learned are good examples.
- What about this thing or event makes you grateful?
- How would your day be different without the thing you wrote down?
2. Now think of an enjoyable experience you’ve shared with someone recently. As you think of this person and your shared experience, feel your heart flow out to embrace that person and your memory together. A meaningful conversation, beautiful walk, or acts of service are all great examples.
- How did this experience benefit your relationship?
- How can you ensure the benefits of this experience in the future?
3. Finally, think of something influential that has happened in the last year that has shaped your life today. Feel gratitude as you notice all the positive changes that have filled your life as a result of this decision. Enrolling in school, adopting a dog, changing careers, or a new relationship are good examples.
- What positive changes have happened as a result of this decision?
- How would your life be different without this situation?
Channeling Thankful Forces
Now that you’re familiar with the feeling of gratitude and its higher forces at work within you, we can use its powers to build resilience.
True forgiveness is when you can say, ‘Thank you for that experience.’ Oprah Winfrey
1. Write down an event that has challenged or bothered you in the past week. As you remember this uncomfortable or painful event, find out if you can be grateful for it. If you cannot, ask yourself what is keeping you from appreciating it. Disagreements, miscommunications, or hurtful feedback are all good examples.
- What good came out of this situation?
- What will it take for you to appreciate this event?
2. Now think of someone in your life whom you haven’t completely forgiven. Find out if you can thank them for their presence in your life. Someone who brings heaviness, sadness, or old patterns into your life is a perfect example.
- How have you been positively shaped by this event or person?
- What have you learned or taken away from this situation?
3. Finally, think of a very difficult situation in your life, preferably someone or something you never fully gotten past. It can be over any time period, but more recent events are most helpful. Illness, death, or broken relationships are all good examples.
- What do you have to be grateful for about this event?
- How has this event shaped who you are today?
Reaping the benefits of gratitude in a coaching setting can be done in a multitude of ways.
- Invite the client to do one of the exercises above.
If the client is experiencing, heaviness, invalidation, sadness, or melancholy, ask her or him, “Would you be interested in doing a gratefulness exercise?”
- Ask the client powerful questions that bring out gratefulness.
Questions like “What are you grateful for from this week? What good came from this event/action/situation? How can you be grateful in the future?” are profound in helping the client improve their wellbeing with grateful forces.
- Acknowledge the client’s thankful energy.
When a client expresses gratitude about an event, situation, or action, acknowledge the win but also their gratitude for it. If appropriate, remind them of the benefits of being grateful.
- What are some specific situations—from working with a certain coworker or doing mundane tasks—that could benefit from thankful feelings? How can you bring these feelings into your daily life?
- When you consider your inner journey—what you’ve learned, uncovered, or achieved—what are you grateful for?
- When you look back on your life 1, 3, or 5 years ago, what are you thankful for?
- When you look back on your most important relationships in the past year, what have you achieved that you’re grateful for?
 Emmons, R.A., & McCullough, M.E. (2003). Counting blessings versus burdens: An experimental investigation of gratitude and subjective wellbeing in daily life. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84, 377-389.
Toepfer, S. (2009). Letters of Gratitude: Improving Well-Being through Expressive Writing. Journal of Writing Research, 1(3), 181-198