Several people commented last week about Adding Gratitude. It hit a chord. Some of you were grateful for the reminder. Some wonder how. Here are some practical ways to add gratitude over the next few weeks.
- Service People - Say a genuine thanks for their service in restaurants, bars, transport, shops, entertainment and more. At this time of year service people often bear the brunt of people's frustration. Stop and consider for a moment how this busy time of year is for them and what their service enables you to do. Say thanks and tell them why you are grateful.
- Booze Busses - Imagine the impact of looking the cop in the eye and saying "Thanks for the delay - I'm grateful that you are helping keep our streets safe.
- For leaders - Your people! What have you been able to achieve this year with them. You might express gratitude to them individually, or in a card. Maybe you'll do it a a big function.
- For Followers - Your Leaders! Leaders rarely get thanked. It's more common that they will see only the issues and problems that people want them to solve. What opportunities have been created for you by the leaders in your life.
- When you get a gift - Ok so it's not what you wanted. If all you do is compare your gift to your expectation, you are likely to be disappointed. Be grateful for the time and thought that someone has taken to get you a gift.
- Loved Ones - Often the people closest to us see us at our worst. At busy times of year like Christmas, it can seem like you are just plowing through endless lists of things to do. Deliberately set the intention of being kind and gentle to each other. Tell each other why you love them. Take the time to notice and tell them about at least one thing a day that they did to make your life easier, feel more supported, or put a smile on your face.
- Yourself - What are some of your greatest strengths and passions. What opportunities have you had. What skills do you possess.
- Connect with Place - Some times life throws massive challenges our way. In times like this gratitude can be hard. For many Christmas is a sad and depressing time of year filled with challenges. If that's you, if it's hard to find gratitude in any of the above, then maybe you can find it in this place. Australia is a very safe, very prosperous place compared to many other spots in the world right now. If even that seems to big a stretch for you focus on the micro in the place. Notice trees and their shade, clean drinking water, the song of a bird, warm sun on your back, the smile of a stranger, colours in the sky the sea and the land, the smell of summer rain, or the first hint of a sea breeze on a hot day.
Research tells us that a daily habit of gratitude profoundly impacts our wellbeing. It significantly reduces depression, increases resilience, brings genuine happiness, creates a sense of progress and physically rewires our brain for greater creativity, problem solving ability and personal effectiveness. It's one of the easiest, quickest and cheapest gifts we can give ourselves and the people around us. And it also turns out that the impact on our wellbeing is about the same, regardless of whether we are grateful for big or small things. I could be grateful that I'm not living in Mosul right now, or grateful for a silly conversation with my wife that made me laugh. The scale of those things is vastly different, but their impact on me when I am grateful for them is similar.
There's so much to be grateful for, both big and small. All we have to do is take the time to find it.
I'm signing off for Christmas. I hope you and the people around you find many reasons for gratitude that refreshes you, strengthens you and sets you up for a great 2017.
One of the things I am grateful for is the time you have take to read my content this year. I greatly appreciate it, especially given all the other things you could choose to read.
See you next year.