Gratitude is one of the most powerful, but often overlooked, tools of everyday life
In November we are celebrating Gratitude in at ICA. You can check out the Gratitude Bootcamp here.
The following blog post was written using material from our Accredited Coach Training Program, hope you like it 🙂
Developing an “attitude of gratitude” is one of the simplest ways to improve your satisfaction with life. In fact, gratitude may be one of the most overlooked tools that we all have access to every day. According to many researchers, cultivating gratitude has enormous benefits.
Gratitude reduces a multitude of toxic emotions, ranging from envy and resentment to frustration and regret. Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D., a leading gratitude researcher, has conducted multiple studies on the link between gratitude and well-being. His research confirms that gratitude effectively increases happiness and reduces depression.
And gratitude increases mental strength. For years, research has shown gratitude not only reduces stress, but it may also play a major role in overcoming challenging life events. Recognizing all you have to be thankful for – even during the toughest times of your life – fosters resilience.
This is especially key for coaches as we are employed to support a client to enhance their happiness, productivity and life satisfaction. As coaches we have a powerful role to play in supporting our clients to not only have a better life but to love the life they have. When gratitude is absent, clients may find themselves on the “hedonistic treadmill” constantly accumulating things and experiences but never feeling contented.
Where gratitude is present, life is lived in an engaged and meaningful way.
ICA Training Curriculum
Have you ever been in a situation where you feel angry and frustrated and you take a deep breath and think of something that you have to be grateful for? Maybe it was a friend in your life, maybe it was your health, maybe it was your family. Whatever it was, do you remember the shift in energy that occurred in you at that moment in time when you made that shift?
Developing an “attitude of gratitude” is one of the simplest ways to improve your satisfaction with life. We all have the ability and opportunity to cultivate gratitude. Simply take a few moments to focus on all that you have – rather than complain about all the things you think you deserve.
A natural extension of gratitude is generosity. Grateful people notice the contribution of others to their success. They see when others are behaving at their best and, when others make mistakes, they look behind the mistake to the other person’s intent. They give others “the benefit of the doubt”. They so clearly see the “gifts” that others give them that they automatically want to give something back.
Generosity is about dynamic exchange, the act of giving and of receiving. Stop for a moment and imagine creating each day where you are committed to giving to each person you meet. It may be the gift of a flower, a compliment, an acknowledgement, a caring thought. It isn’t about the commercial giving of gifts or physical things. In giving you create a dynamic exchange in that you also open yourself up to receive. Giving creates confidence in giving. The more you receive the more you will give.
Fear vs. Generosity
Some people fear being generous because they think it will make them vulnerable. Often they count the things they have done for others and simply don’t see what comes back their way. Or if nothing comes back their way, they feel like they have been taken advantage of. They begin to harden their hearts to other people and focus on what they are not receiving rather than what they are. Their lack of generosity with others is uninspiring and repels people. Their lives can become a self-fulfilling prophecy: they receive nothing back, and then think that this proves they were right not to be generous in the first place.
Giving unconditionally is the same as loving unconditionally. If you give to receive then you give conditionally and this is not increasing energy in you but rather taking energy from you. You may have observed people in your life who believe they give all the time but are resentful that they never get anything back in life. This person does not value generosity, this person may value desire. Desire has to do with accumulation and greed. Do not be confused by this.
One of the most powerful strategies is acknowledgement. By acknowledging how far you have come, you not only encourage yourself to strive further, but you actually force yourself to stop, recognize and enjoy the wonderful things that you have achieved. Reflect for a moment and recognize the positive things in your life and the things that you have done to make these things happen. Acknowledge others around you.
What does the following quote bring up for you today?
Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow. Melody Beattie