You’re hearing a lot about gratitude at the moment. Every time you check in with your social media channels, you’re scrolling through daily posts that list the things your pals are grateful for. There are articles pontificating on the benefits of being thankful. (Who can blame them? I’ve shared my thoughts on the matter, too!) As we approach Thanksgiving, its natural to reflect on our blessings. While I certainly hope you are taking the time to do so, I want to challenge you to turn the dial up a notch and try something new: Don’t just talk about your gratitude. Live it out.
Taking time to sit and reflect about what we have to be grateful for is a good thing. Soak in all those positive vibes. Recognizing it, though, is not the same as living it. What would happen if you lived in abundant gratitude? Author Melody Beattie sums it up well:
“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion into clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.”
Just let that sink in for a moment.
Yes, abundant gratitude is a mindset that colors your perspective. It helps keep your molehills from becoming mountains. It helps you begin to make a plan about how you’re going to reach the summits of the mountains you do face. It’s a mindset that rubs off on the rest of your team. When you’re affirming and hopeful, when you greet challenges as potential victories vs. pending defeat, when you see the lesson to be learned from setbacks and failures, it encourages others to do the same.
When you raise the volume on your lifestyle of gratitude, you recognize it as a catalyst to give back. Let’s start with something small. Something as simple as a smile can give a boost to others. It’s true! Scientists say that seeing a friend smile can nudge the muscles in your own face to mirror the expression whether you will it to or not. On a scientific level, we can thank mirror neurons for this one. On a heart level, a smile conveys good intentions and the person you’re grinning at wants to acknowledge those good vibes by flashing a smile back at you. Even better, they’ll often pass along their own smile to someone else, creating a chain reaction of happiness.
Smiles are awesome and I hope you’ll take this tidbit to heart and flash your pearly whites around. Just don’t stop there. Let your own gratitude inspire you to give others the opportunities to experience the same. Enjoy career success? Pay it forward by mentoring a colleague. Grateful for child’s teacher? Let him know. Better yet, send an affirming, grateful note about the teacher to the principal and copy the teacher on the note! Feeling particularly grateful for job? Let your co-worker know she’s part of the reason your work environment is a positive one and that you appreciate her for it!
Really feeling the warmth and energy associated with gratitude? Scroll through the list at the Random Acts of Kindness blog and try a few of them out. That’s my challenge to you this November. Don’t just say you’re grateful for a list of things. Live grateful by paying it forward.