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Three Elements of a Successful Gratitude Practice

SUCCESSFUL GRATITUDE PRACTICE

There are many ways to practice gratitude alone and with others.  Gratitude benefits us most when practiced outwardly in the world. Think of gratitude as an opportunity to give a gift to those you love with no strings attached.

Assess your motive for using gratitude.  Gratitude is best given genuinely, openly, and with clear intention.  Here are a few tips to practice these essential elements of gratitude:

Genuinely


You can't force anything good- as a mentor once told me.  This is especially true of gratitude.  Don’t try to force yourself to feel grateful when you don’t.  When you feel stuck sit with it for a minute until a space for appreciation or admiration opens up.  

Openly


Gratitude can be practices solo- in a journal or meditation.  But it is most successful in boosting happiness when shared openly with others.  Challenge yourself to express it out loud and encourage others to share gratitude.  You might be surprised the ripple effects of happiness you create.  

With Clear Intention


Gratitude is best with no strings attached.  It isn't an apology, or an excuse.  When you share gratitude its important the gratitude is pure kindness without attachment to outcome.

Try describing how you feel (such as, I feel “safe,” “appreciated,” “hopeful,” or “excited”), rather than what you think or perceive (i.e. “it makes me ‘feel’ like you actually care,” or “it makes me ‘feel’ like you’re going to be more honest with me).   The latter places an expectation on others and makes it more hard for them to empathize and connect with your experience.

Keep in mind that your objective is to uplift a person, to nurture the relationship space between the two of you, and to foster a more healthy world-view within yourself.

Gratitude is a powerful tool that can deepen connections, provide hope and joy, and invite inner peace.  Keep these three elements in mind in your gratitude practice this week.  

What to Watch When You Feel Alone

WHEN YOU FEEL ALONEThe Post Secret project started as a post card art exhibit allowing people to anonymously tell their secrets.  The artist, , shared many of the cards in a coffee table book series called Post Secret.  The books are wonders, and often help my clients (and I) remember we are not alone in our fears, shame, loneliness.  We are all a little mischievous, and we all make mistakes.  

I am including three of my favorite videos from their new series, turning these images and recorded stories into animated stories about the truths we often hold- and are afraid to tell.  Check them out below and let me know what you think in the comments

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2W9YAF22VYA

One thing I love about the series, is that almost every episode shares just how hard it is for the participants to let their secret out.  They all worry- as many of us do- that we'll lose something or someone important if we let our secret out.  And a lot of participants shares some kind of relief they feel when they share their secret- a weight is lifted by being witnessed, even if by anonymous strangers.  

What kind of weight is holding you back within your secrets?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1GMu19A9dx0

Another part I love about these is the kind of relief we feel as witnesses.  Compassionately hearing someone else's vulnerability- even anonymously on the internet- allows us to connect to the parts of ourselves that are vulnerable and scared.  We can tend to our own healing by holding space for the healing of others.  

How can you compassionately connect with another person's healing this week?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Hb_EmxmCmY#t=152

Sharing our secrets with compassionate folks- and empathetically connecting with the vulnerability of others is one of the paths to happiness we can easily take each day.  Who do you need to connect with? What do you need to let out this week?  

I have a few openings in my private practice right now, if you are interested in talking with me about counseling, or finding a referral to someone in your area please click the link below.

authentic life

 

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