Gratitude – How It Transforms Your Time

Gratitude Image

Experiencing and expressing gratitude transforms your time.

Gratitude is about how you look at your world, how you move through your days, and how you experience your moments.

It’s a fundamental value, and the ultimate way to make full use of your time. In “Character Strengths and Virtues” by Christopher Peterson and Martin E. P. Seligman, gratitude is defined as “an enduring thankfulness that is sustained across situations and over time.”

There are two types of gratitude, personal and transpersonal.

  • Personal gratitude is about thankfulness towards an individual, whereas
  • Transpersonal gratitude is a constant and fundamental appreciation of the world.

According to studies, gratitude develops between 7 and 10 years of age. However, I believe that if a child is raised in an environment of appreciation, both specific and general, and if it is spoken about often and consistently, gratitude will begin to develop at an earlier age. At the very least, the child will be surrounded by positive energy.

It is important to experience and express appreciation to others specifically and frequently. How many times a day do you actively thank someone? And how often do you feel the energy of awe and wonder?

2 Gratitude Exercises to Try:

As an informative exercise, jot down each time you feel grateful for anything. After 3 or 4 weeks, go over your documentation and identify patterns in your gratitude. Also document lapses. Are there days when you are so absorbed in the activities of daily living that you “forget” life’s gifts? What does this tell you? What happens to your energy? Do you habitually see the glass as “half empty” or “half full”?

There is a simple and wonderful exercise I’ve practiced for many years. Each night, right before sleep, list at least 3 gratitudes you are aware of for that day. These blessings can be anything you notice and appreciate. This is a powerful practice. Recently, I asked a client if she was continuing her nightly gratitudes. She vigorously nodded. “It keeps me positive,” she responded. And it does. It helps you maintain enthusiasm, even in challenging times. Soon it becomes automatic to appreciate your moments.

Bonus Tip:

Gratitude relaxes and energizes you.

Action Step:

Cultivate a glass-half-full perspective by writing a brief note of thanks to someone who’s brightened your day. Mail it without expectation of response, and warm yourself with your own inner glow.

Exploration:

By telling someone, either verbally or in writing, how much you appreciate them and their choices, you create a path for a positive connection. You let the other person know that she has been seen and that her actions are significant to you. It is particularly helpful that you validate others in concrete, specific ways. For example, you might say, “I really appreciate your suggestions for revising my project. Your feedback helped improve the outcome, and you provided ideas in such a thoughtful way.” This acknowledges both the concrete tangible
and intangible contributions that the other person made.

Genuine interactions such as these create a base of positive communication on which to build an open-handed relationship. Such validations demonstrate the sender’s lack of entitlement, which promotes harmony and good will.

Learning to feel and then express appreciation is, indeed, a gift. Notice how much easier it is to be in the moment when you are grateful!

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