The Practice Of Gratitude
‘If the only prayer you ever say in your life is thank you, it will be enough’ Master Eckhart
Gratitude is a simple, transformational practice that induces awe, fills us up, changes our perspective, brings us more, and is backed by science. There is mounting evidence of the many benefits derived from routine practices of gratitude.
Research shows that our brains, our bodies, and our lives can change over time thanks to gratitude. Through regular practices of gratitude, we can enhance our physical and psychological health, we can improve our self-esteem, empathy, generosity, and mental fortitude. We can also improve our levels of optimism, joy, and happiness, whilst decreasing stress, isolation, and aggression. Taking all this into account, it’s no wonder that gratitude can improve relationships.
Despite divorce being the least likely time you would expect to be grateful, it is something I encourage my clients to practice.
I ask them to
- Devote a section of their journal, or even buy a brand new journal, to gratitude. By creating a list of things they are grateful for right now and for those that are yet to come, their mood improves daily.
- Practice injecting moments of gratitude into every day; first thing in the morning and last thing at night, when they notice something wonderful about themselves, their friends, their family, or just the world, when they feel they need a boost they should take stock of all that is good and plentiful and going right and the things they will be and do in the future.
Doing this every day, they soon feel appreciation welling up inside them
The Process Of Gratitude
Many coaching modalities don’t cover gratitude as part of coach training, but gratitude is an essential element of change. Gratitude is not just being thankful for what we’ve got now, but it is being thankful for the things that you don’t have yet. Thinking into the future about something that is coming towards you. You can be grateful without having a reason. Maybe your clients, like mine, are in tough situations or circumstances. I remember when my mum was dying, even though it was really tough, I was intentionally grateful that I got to spent the last few days with her and that my children, and nieces and nephews all got to see her too, and were there with her when she took her last breath.
After I got divorced, and started to achieve things that would never have been possible when I was married, I started writing in my journal: thank you to my ex for releasing me, to find the real me, and allowing me to be who I was always meant to be. I had always been scared of outshining my ex-husband so I hid my light under a bushel. My new husband encourages me to fly as high as I can, and I am grateful for his wind beneath my wings.
Helping Clients To Find Gratitude
If your clients are in transition between working full-time in employment, and following their dream in their own business, or are in transition between being married and being single, to help them realise their dreams you can build small achievable steps – five sales, a first solo outing; getting them to imagine what it will be like
By creating a strong vision, an image for them to follow, a goal for them to attain, a change of focus from outcome to activity, change will happen. If clients focus only on outcomes, and those outcomes are not always successful, they are going to build negative energy. By focusing on the activities that lead to the outcomes, the energy changes. For the sales person, focusing on, and being grateful for, each conversation, rather than whether they get a yes or a no, can bring positive energy which in turn will rub off on their customers and lead to more sales.
For the client in transition from being married to single, focusing on choosing the right outfit, the makeup, the hair, planning the transport, etc, stops them from thinking they are doing this alone. Arranging to meet a friend for the first solo trip and being grateful for a change of scenery can make it much easier to leave the house. Helping them to build a bucket list of all the things they’ve ever wanted to do, but couldn’t because they had to consider their ex, builds gratitude and hope where previously there had been none.
When you are grateful, you reduce stress, you increase creativity, you increase your ability to problem solve, which means your effectiveness in your thinking is increased. Because of this, you are able to see options and choices and you naturally have a better attitude. When this happens, you attract the people, the money, the resources, everything you need to get to your result comes to you almost as if you’ve done no work at all.
For clients, working with gratitude, keep it simple, set aside a few minutes each day to start with to keep track of things to be grateful for. It can be one thing or ten things; they should be challenging though, not just a tick box exercise. Get them to make a note of how it affects their mood and thinking. Try it on yourself first. Check in and ask ‘how does it feel?’