Working the Gratitude Muscle
When you speak of gratitude as a constant, not a variable, people usually ‘yes’ you quite a bit, nodding and agreeing ‘absolutely’ with what you’re saying. But in practice it can be very difficult to keep a sense of gratitude foremost in your thoughts as you go through your life, even after learning about how gratitude positively affects every aspect of your life.
There are a few main challenges that can challenge anyone’s sense of gratitude:
• Separating things to be grateful for from life’s disappointments and conflicts isn’t easy – many people find it hard to be grateful for some things when other aspects of life aren’t going so great.
• That healing sense of gratitude often fades under the routine of life – work, emotional conflicts, finances, raising children, etc.
The real problem isn’t with your sense of gratitude or ability to keep it fresh in your mind: It’s in assuming you can go from zero to sixty on the gratitude scale without any work. The real secret is to treat gratitude as a muscle, and work it.
Exercising for Gratitude
This is especially true for anyone who hasn’t previously worked to acknowledge what they’re grateful for on a daily basis. Like any other mental effort, you can’t simply decide one day to be more grateful – you have to build up to it, because in the early days your brain doesn’t have the thought patterns ‘burned in’ that will cause it to automatically reflect on gratitude every day.
Science tells us it takes at least two weeks to break or change a habit – whether it’s a physical habit, like biting your nails, or a mental habit. If you want to enjoy a calming, healing sense of true, heartfelt gratitude, you have to start small and use rituals and props to remind yourself.
The Appreciation Station is designed to help you in this. It’s like hitting the Gratitude Gym. Every day you simply take a moment to write down something you’re grateful for. The physical action helps train your brain, and the beautifully designed Station also serves as a visual reminder – put it someplace where you’ll see it every morning without fail.
By performing this simple action every day, you’ll build up those gratitude muscles and establish a thought pattern that will slowly become a permanent habit of pausing daily to reflect on what you’re grateful for. Eventually, you might not even need the Appreciation Station any more – though you’ll like still want to use it, if only for the peace and tranquillity of this daily ritual.
It’s not just physical and ritual – there are other ways you can train yourself in gratitude. Whenever you’re unhappy or angry about a situation, take a breath and force yourself to find one aspect, however small, you can be grateful for. Then give yourself permission to go back to being angry – you’ll find it’s not so easy to return to the same negative state.
If you are keen to start working the gratitude muscle, preorder your Appreciation Station here.
With Grace x