This week my focus is on gratitude. I’ve noticed that some of my FB friends post frequently about what they are grateful for and, although I don’t do that regularly, I did post that I was grateful this week about trying aerial yoga for the first time. I saw it on a television show recently and was happy to see it offered at a wellness spa I visited this past week. One of the requirements of the MKMMA program is to write down at least three things we are grateful for on our index cards every day. I have found this practice to be very beneficial to my overall happiness.
So much so, that today, while driving home from a great Pilates class, I was listening to a pop music station that I normally don’t listen to and a rap-type song came on with something about being grateful for what you do have instead of upset about what you don’t have. All of sudden, I found that I was crying — but it wasn’t because I was sad. I think this is one of the few times — maybe even the first! — that I was crying because I was grateful and happy instead of sad. Wow! Now I finally get what tears of joy means!
While at the wellness spa, I attended a lecture by Jerry Posner, an expert in happiness. He spoke on “The Practical Power of Gratitude” and gave us “Grati-tools” to increase our intentional gratitude practice. I shared how we are working on gratitude in this MKMMA course. Of the seven he gave us, my favorites are as follows — note that the third one uses emotion, as we have learned to do from the brain science folks. These are taken directly from handout.
- List ten people (or animal companions) from your past or present, who have positively contributed to your life. Once a week, read your list and add ten more names. Think about what you would write to them in a thank-you note. And, maybe, write that note!
- Make a gratitude list on your birthday with one item for each year of your life.
- Close your eyes…relax…and for one minute, focus your attention on a person, thing, circumstance, situation, accomplishment, talent, ability, etc. that you’re truly and deeply grateful for. If you can, imagine/visualize him…her…it. If you mind wanders, just bring it back. FEEL the gratitude and happiness as you focus your attention. Make a mental movie, or create a mental collage — also fine! Do it once a day, or when you’re feeling stressed. Or, invent your own “gratitude break!”.
Thank Jerry, I’m grateful for you! If you want more info, go to www.jerryposner.com