There are so many aspects to our lives that can fill us with richness and joy, but often we are too busy or too stressed out to enjoy them. When you rush through life at 100 miles an hour, you miss out on a lot of things. I know that feeling and it’s exhausting. But I have discovered a simple way to slow down the chaotic pace of modern life. Quite simply, it’s the practice of being grateful each day and expressing that gratitude to others. Take a moment now, take a deep breath, and learn how you can unlock new levels of richness and joy in your everyday life.
So what if you got up each morning with a thankful heart instead dragging yourself out of bed with the usual worries and rushing? What if one of your first tasks for the day was to sit quietly for about five minutes, taking just that bit of personal time, and you would write out a note of thanks to someone who helped you the day before? And what if you did this little morning routine every day for a month? For a year? What would that look like?
I was skeptical myself at first if this simple practice could improve my life. I was stressed out and it seemed like maybe this was just one more good idea that I probably didn’t have time for. But I kept getting a nudge to try it, to do it, to see what would happen. My life was not feeling joyful or prosperous or settled at that time, so I really had nothing to lose.
Sure enough, within a week of starting my thank-you-a-day-practice, I started to feel quite a bit better. My mood improved with each little note that I dropped into the mailbox, and I became more focussed on what was going right in my life instead of worrying about what was going wrong. The simple act of sharing gratitude each day made me excited to see what each day would bring! I knew I had to find someone to send a note to the next day, so I became much more mindful of my interactions with people. And it changed my life!
I smiled when I greeted people who were serving me or when I met anyone new. I had a hopeful expectation that each interaction would go well, that each person was there for a reason, and I took a few extra moments to be polite to them and say something nice. In almost all cases, the other person responded with kindness, and very often with surprise! Honestly, some of them seemed shocked at first! Who knew that a simple smile or compliment would bring out such a warm response, even in a busy check-out line or while waiting at the doctor’s office? I began to enjoy each time I had to be out in public because I thought — my thank-you-person-for-tomorrow is just around the corner. And of course, they were!
I am still in amazement at how this actually works. I love how my positive expectations are consistently met with such lovely experiences and interactions. And on top of that, I began to notice that just about every aspect of my life improved. Good things kept dropping into my life with daily regularity. Really? Yes, really. Sometimes, these were little things but sometimes they were major wonderful incredible coincidences that I could not explain in any other way. It had to be the gratitude that was attracting all this richness into my life and all the happy interactions.
Over time, I believe that my whole body, mind and spirit have been rewired through gratitude and I have become a magnet for good things, good people and good outcomes. I love being in the flow like this. It’s now such a joy for me to share this message with young children, college students, adults of all ages, retired folks, basically anyone at any stage of life.
The beauty is that expressing gratitude works for everyone and it really doesn’t take much work at all on your part to prime this kind of pump. Once you start watching out for goodness and expecting it, that is what you will find. You will become more resilient and tolerant. Daily frustrations will turn into some better thing that you didn’t expect. An accident can have a hidden message. A miscommunication can turn itself around and you’ll find that you learned something new and important about your spouse, your partner, or your child. Gratitude helps you keep an open mind!
Joy and prosperity come to you when you trust in the richness of gratitude. If you’re wondering how to get started or how to stay motivated at first, I have all kinds of free ideas on my website or you could get a copy of my book, Spread Thanks. Thank you for sharing your own questions or ideas below, and thank you for spreading thanks in your corner of the world.