How to Live with Gratitude
By John Millen
It's Thanksgiving this week in the U.S., when we join our loved ones and –– somewhere in midst of travel, dinner rituals and football games –– we may take a moment to express thanks for our blessings.
Living through the pandemic may help us to realize how precarious life can be and how precious are the people in our lives.
But for many of us, with our constant distraction and busyness, this week may be the only time we consciously show our gratitude.
This is a shame because expressing our gratitude can play a powerful role in shaping our view of the world and increasing our own sense of joy.
Gratitude and happiness
In a rare instance of agreement, science, philosophy and religion have all recognized that giving thanks can produce happiness and an optimistic view of life.
This is because we spend so much time thinking about the past or the future -- what we had, what we lost, or what we want.
Living this way makes us miss the current moment -- the only moment we really have -- and once it's gone, it's gone forever.
I've recognized this in myself over the years and during the past year, I've taken proactive steps to live with gratitude every day. It's changed my life for the better, though I'm still a work in progress.
Here are three practical tips you may consider for developing a proactive gratitude practice:
1. Wake with gratitude
Each day is a gift and, before we check our phones, it can be helpful to give thanks: thanks for being alive, thanks for our material blessings, and most of all, thanks for the people in our lives. Upon waking, think of three people who you feel blessed to have in your life.
2. Try mindfulness
Speaking of phones, when that compulsion arises, instead of checking email, a few times a day substitute a few deep breaths and be in the moment.
Try this kind of mindfulness. Be present and see what this moment has to offer.
3. Express your gratitude
Take the time to write a note, call or, better yet, visit someone to tell them thanks and how much they mean to you. Perhaps one of the three people you thought of this morning.
I'd also like to take this moment to give thanks.
First, and most important, thank you to my family. I appreciate your love, support and patience through this great entrepreneurial journey.
Thank you to my readers. Your engagement and feedback over the past nine years have been enlightening and entertaining. Keep challenging yourself, and me, to grow every day.
Thank you to my clients. Starting my business 18 years ago, I promised myself never to work with clients I didn't like and respect. I've loved working with you. It's a joy to play a role in helping you to grow your career or business.
Thank you for your trust in me. My business has grown through personal referrals. I thank you for trusting me with your reputation as you've hired me and referred me to your business partners.
Thank you to my partners. I've had the pleasure of working with great people who bring their expertise, energy and collaboration to every endeavor.
As you become immersed in the holiday season, please consider developing a proactive gratitude practice.
You'll appreciate the results of living with mindfulness and gratitude.