Thanksgiving is coming up. How are you giving thanks every day?!
Did you know that gratitude is more than a thought or idea?
Gratitude is a way of being.
When we’re in touch with gratitude, it’s a full-bodied experience. That means feeling your appreciation when you are thinking about all of the things you’re thankful for. It is a game changing way of cultivating a deeper, fuller experience of gratitude. When we cultivate that fuller experience of gratitude on a regular basis, it enriches our lives.
Gratitude: An invisible, powerful leadership skill
Gratitude is a leader’s secret for success. When leaders are genuine in their appreciation, and they express it in natural ways, the people around them feel it and respond positively. Think of the changemakers you admire and the leaders you’d like to emulate. How is gratitude part of their magic?
When leaders practice gratitude as a way of being, they build a positive emotional reserve to draw on when faced with stressful situations, allowing them to stay grounded and present. Leaders connected to their internal gratitude easily express gratitude to others, which cultivates loyalty and goodwill, making individuals, teams and cultures more creative and effective.
Benefits of Gratitude
Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D. has devoted his career to studying gratitude. He has studied over a thousand people who kept a three-week happiness journal. Their experience found that gratitude:
- Helps you sleep better
- Strengthens your immune system
- Lowers your blood pressure
- Brings more joy, optimism and happiness
- Motivates you to be more generous and compassionate
- Decreases feelings of loneliness and isolation
So gratitude is really a superpower, in both personal and professional life.
How can you develop gratitude as a way of being?
UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center has some great ideas. Here are two different ways to experiment with cultivating gratitude:
First, try a savoring walk: a quiet, solitary walk for tuning into mindfulness and appreciating your surroundings. Dew drops on leaves, trilling birds, the dance of sunshine and shadow: experience them fully with all your senses and feel your appreciation for them.
Another tool: a guided gratitude meditation, directing you inward to experience your appreciation of the people and things which make our lives complete.
Embrace giving of thanks as a way of being. Really feel it and savor it, then share it. You’ll be grateful for the practice.
Hear some of my thoughts on the practice of gratitude: