Hello peeps! I’m trying out something new on the blog. Recently, I received an email from Michelle, who’s part of our #perfectionistproblems community, asking me a question about gratitude.
As I was typing my response to Michelle, I figured that you might benefit from my answer as well. And what better way to share this nugget of wisdom (*cough cough*) than on the blog? ;)
So, today marks the start of a new Q&A category on The Gratefulist blog. If you have a question about practicing gratitude, dealing with perfectionism, or any topic related to personal growth, feel free to leave a comment, use the contact form, or shoot me a DM on Instagram.
Here’s Michelle’s Q:
I've been thinking about gratitude because so many people say that it is instrumental in their happiness. What does gratitude feel like exactly? It doesn't come easily for me.
Now let’s get to the A.
HINT HINT, WHY DON’T YOU SAVE THIS PIN? :)
You know, gratitude doesn't come naturally for me either. I tend to have a 'my glass is half empty' outlook. Plus, our society and the media teaches is to focus on what we don't have and how we don't measure up. And that mindset used to make me feel miserable.
Gratitude is something I practice every day to change that mindset and to remind myself of all the things I do have. From my personal experience, I’ve come to believe that gratitude is a practice and a conscious effort to change perspective more so than an emotion.
The emotions that most often come up for me when I’m writing my daily gratitude list are:
Contentment: after writing my gratitude list, I realize that I’ve created a pretty great life for myself
Relief: after finishing my gratitude practice, I realize it’s the first time that day I’ve sat down and taken a breath in what was otherwise a stressful, hectic day
Wonder: after writing down that I’m grateful for a breathtaking multi-colored sunset, I realize there’s so much beauty in the world
And sometimes happiness and gratefulness.
A few years ago, I went on a vacation to the Azores, a group of islands in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. While there, I took a boat tour to go whale watching. Near the end of the tour we encountered a group of sperm whales - a few females and two young ones. Realizing how fortunate I was to get to see those majestic animals up close was when I felt the deepest sense of gratitude I’ve ever felt.
Gratefulness can be an emotion. Gratitude can be felt. But that isn’t the whole story, because most of the time we don’t feel grateful. We might feel contentment when practicing gratitude, but usually we don’t feel grateful.
However, just by keeping up with your practice, that grateful feeling can be triggered on occasion. And when it does, it is the best feeling in the world.
If you have difficulty with practicing gratitude because it doesn’t come easily, it might help you to think of gratitude as the practice of not taking things for granted. We spend so much time focusing on the 'lack' in our life, that we forget to be grateful for all the things we do have and take for granted.
Remember, you can't have a positive life with a negative mind. Gratitude steers you away from having a negative mind and your life will be better for it. And as a result, you might feel better too.
In the meantime, if you need a little help getting started with your gratitude practice, sign up for The Gratitude Toolbox. It’s a FREE set of resources to help you add more gratitude to your work and life:
a cheatsheet with ideas for being more grateful in your work or business
30 gratitude prompts for jumpstarting your first 30 days of practicing gratitude
a progress tracker for an extra boost of motivation and to help keep you on track
a checklist with tips to help set you up for success
AND several gratitude journals
Just click on the button below and you can get started with The Gratitude Toolbox right away.
Do you have a question about practicing gratitude? Use the comment section below and I promise to answer all of your questions. And perhaps, one of your questions gets to be featured on the blog! :)
Hi there! I’m Wendy, perfectionism coach and host of the #perfectionistproblems community for recovering perfectionists. I’m insanely passionate about helping you overcome your perfectionism, so that you can stop caring so much about what other people think and finally take on those dream projects that you've been putting off for so long.