How Maintaining an Attitude of Gratitude Can Help You Achieve Your Goals
There has been a lot of buzz about gratitude ever since Matthew McConaughey’s acceptance speech for Best Actor. He genuinely thanked God, his family, and his hero – the version of himself always 10 years into the future. During his speech, he declared, “it’s a scientific fact that gratitude reciprocates.”
While that seems to be a pretty big declaration, there’s actually some substance behind it. Here are some examples.
Research by the Institute of Heart Math shows the impact that expressing gratitude has on reaching a state of “coherence” – where your brain waves, heart rate, and breathing are together at levels for optimum performance. In this state, you are best able to combat stress and stay relaxed, despite what may be going on around you. Your heart rate variability is reduced, which is a major contributor to your stress management and performance levels.
According to their website, the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley is launching a $5.6 million, three-year project, Expanding the Science and Practice of Gratitude. They want to build on scientific research that finds people who practice gratitude consistently report a host of benefits, including:
- Stronger immune systems and lower blood pressure;
- Higher levels of positive emotions;
- More joy, optimism, and happiness;
- Acting with more generosity and compassion;
- Feeling less lonely and isolated.
As I look at the above bullet list, it is easy to see that these elements would lead to higher results. The optimism, happiness, and positivity alone would constantly fuel your ongoing attitude to “go for it” and encourage persistence during times you might otherwise quit.
You don’t have to win an Oscar to express gratitude, either. In fact, the daily expression of gratitude defines your character such that when something great does happen, you naturally appreciate those around you who helped get you there.
Here are some tips for developing a powerful practice of gratitude.
1) Notice what you already have. Rather than focus on what you don’t have which reinforces a sense of “lack” in your life, focus on what you do have and what is going well. This will create a sense of abundance that you can build upon.
2) Recognize that you have always had help. You have many teammates in the game of life. Your parents, teachers, friends, family, etc have all played a role in helping you get to where you are right now. Be OK with the fact that you don’t have to go through life alone, and feel grateful that people have helped you become who you are.
3) Find at least one person to appreciate each day. That one person can be one of the above “teammates” in your life, or a random person you encounter. Just be sure to show gratitude to someone each day.
4) Appreciate yourself each day. Often, we forget about our own contributions we make every day. Tonight as you brush your teeth before bed, look yourself in the mirror and express gratitude for the job well done today. Reflect on the positive attributes and say thank you to yourself. This is a great way to reinforce your self esteem as you get ready to sleep to rest up for another day tomorrow.
I believe gratitude is so important that I incorporated it as one of the daily habits I describe in my #1 International Best Selling book, Act Now! A Daily Action Log for Achieving Your Goals in 90 Days. Jack Canfield has written a book called, Gratitude: A Daily Journal, as a tool to help you practice daily gratitude. Whatever tool you use, be sure to turn gratitude into a way of life for you. Then, notice how gratitude reciprocates for you.