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Gratitude: Principles and Strength
Gratitude is a signature strength that can be tested and measured. It is an appreciation of someone else’s character. It is one of the most endorsed strengths around the world. Gratitude shows a strength of character that contributes to life fulfillment and satisfaction. It implies awareness and thankfulness. Gratitude can be built by focusing on positive aspects. Here is an example: “Universe, I am grateful that I have time to play with my pets.”
Try this exercise: Think of something you are grateful for in your life and express your gratitude.
Reliable and validated exercises can build your gratitude, such as journaling and writing structured gratitude letters. Studies show a directly proportional correlation between happiness and gratitude as well as an indirect correlation between gratitude and depression. This correlation is in line with the definition and diagnosis of depression.
Here is an example: “Doctor, I am grateful for all the valuable feedback you have provided so far. It has allowed me to improve my positive psychology, knowledge, and skills.” Think of another thing you are grateful for and share your gratitude, please.
Gratitude, or the expression of appreciation for someone or something else, produces the best results if it is practiced daily and in an honest way. Most philosophies agree that gratitude is a necessary manifestation of virtue and a necessary part of wellness. There is a direct correlation between optimism and gratitude.
Here’s another example: “When my coaching client expresses his gratitude at the beginning of his sessions, I notice that he tends to be optimistic and hopeful about the results and projected outcomes of his plans and actions.”
Think of an example and share it, please.
More research and coaching shows that grateful individuals make more, faster progress towards personal goal achievements. Individuals who score high in gratitude levels report more enthusiasm and energy than those individuals who score lower.
Grateful people put their focus outward, on helping others or external causes. As a result, they are socially well-positioned.
How do you think you will score in terms of gratitude on a scale one to ten, one being not grateful at all and ten being extremely grateful? Take a moment now to think of ways to give thanks, to increase your happiness.
Here are some suggestions for increasing gratitude:
1. Write thank you letters.
2. Journal daily about three things you are sincerely grateful for, and believe in it!
3. Notice inner-beauty in people and things.
4. Think outside the box and see positive aspects in everything and everybody.
5. Celebrate gratitude.
6. Play the gratitude game. It is an actual board game!
Gratitude brings out other positive virtues in people.
Overall, positive psychologists and clinical positive psychologists agree on the correlation between gratitude and human wellness. It is strongly hypothesized that gratitude also positively correlates to positive emotions and sociability. More studies are being conducted on this topic.
Exercise: Can you think of an example of this principle in your life?
After practicing gratitude for ninety days, my clients stated that they improved their overall life wellness by thirty percent. Their peers and I agreed on the improvement.
Gratitude can be a positive emotion when favors happen and when valued benefits occur. In this light, gratitude is a moral predictor of outcomes. It is interesting to notice that gratitude is given gratis, hence the word. Studies show that gratitude benefits the person being grateful and the person who receives the gratitude. The younger individuals are, the more they benefit from gratitude. That’s why it is important to promote gratitude at the youngest age possible. More and more research is proving this finding.
Exercise: How old was the youngest person you have observed showing gratitude?
For me, the answer is my therapy dog. She was trained to express her gratitude at four months old by giving people her paw or by giving a “five” when she receives a toy, some food, affection, play and exercise time. The consequent happiness she feels is evident from her wagging tail and literal jumping around in happiness.
The youngest human I saw consistently expressing and writing their gratitude was a 4 year old pre-schooler. During the day when he expressed his gratitude, he was rewarded with tokens, and he would get more tasks accomplished than during days when he forgot to express his gratitude or was not reminded of it.
More and more businesses are naming themselves with words derived from the word gratitude, including cafes, games, documentaries, movies, and more. At one of my favorite restaurants the Gratitude game can be played while waiting for food. The entire self-help, personal development, and spiritual movement is centered on gratitude.
Gratitude is like a muscle that needs to be exercised.
Action: Would you like to exercise it? If yes, how often? Would you like to commit to it now?
Gratitude is easy to practice, and there are no reasons not to practice this strength. Gratitude has only benefits, no drawbacks.
Gratitude exercises are starting to be implemented in schools, families, corporations, government agencies, clubs, and organizations.
Exercise: Have you experienced an example of gratitude in any of these settings?
People can use visual cues to remind themselves to practice gratitude, such as on a computer screensaver, cell phone wall paper, refrigerator magnet, or a strategically placed post-it.
Exercise: Create a gratitude reminder for yourself. My reminder is my alarm clock waking me up to the song, “Unwritten.”
The lyrics remind me to journal my gratitude daily in a process I call “journalution.” Play this song for free on iTunes, amazon, or on an internet search engine.
Here are the lyrics:
“I am unwritten, can’t read my mind, I’m undefined
I’m just beginning, the pen’s in my hand, ending unplanned.
Staring at the blank page before you
Open up the dirty window
Let the sun illuminate the words that you could not find
Reaching for something in the distance
So close you can almost taste it
Release your innovations
Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins
The rest is still unwritten
I break tradition, sometimes my tries, are outside the lines
We’ve been conditioned to not make mistakes, but I can’t live that way
Oh, yeah… “
Some studies show that gratitude can be a precursor of personal successes.
Given all the positive effects of gratitude, more and more gratitude templates are being created to motivate people to exercise their gratitude. Here is one I created, in cooperation with my supervisor, for my clients:
This quick and simple program assists in reprogramming for success. It is based on the premise that the inner world creates the outer world. The more people concentrate on their “roots”, the faster they will see new results in personal “fruits.” People are creatures of habit. Research shows that those who participate in a daily routine are three times as likely to stick with their program than people who participate six days a week and five times more likely than people who participate three, four, or five days a week. If a day is missed, it is encouraged to start again the next day. The mind does not like change, and this program is a change.
Choose a physical wellness container.
Write some Attitudes of Wellness declarations.
Begin each day by opening your workbook and filling in the date. Complete the wellness conditioning process for that day.
Daily Wellness Conditioning Processes:
1. Acknowledge your successes. Like attracts like. Success breeds success. The more you feel successful, the more success will come your way. What matters is that you acknowledge yourself for whatever you did do. Look specifically for the progress you made in any arena be it financial, health, fitness, relationship, learning, serving, and more. For example, “I completed my Health Conditioning exercises today.”
2. Insert an item in your Wellness container for each success you are grateful for, such as a written reminder, picture, a small piece of food, or a penny. The habit is important.
3. Do your VAKS. These include all four movements with your declaration. Each movement is half a minute. Rotate four different VAKS, one per day.
a. Simply declare, “I am healthy.”
b. Declare your big dream. For example, “I am the #1 best-selling author on the N.Y. Times Best-seller list.”
c. Declare a short term desire: “I will have an incredibly productive day today. I will go with the flow.”
d. Declare a supportive belief around health. A good choice would be opposite of the primary non-supportive belief you are working on: “Creating health is not a struggle. Being unhealthy is.”
(Note: Make sure you have some semblance of control in whatever you VAKS. Do not use VAKS that depend on others to do something.)
4. Attitudes of Wellness Declarations:
Put your hand over your chest to feel the “vibrational” energy of your statements. Read both of your Attitudes of Wellness declaration sheets out loud and with conviction.
5. Weekly Health Conditioning Processes: Every day you will do a different exercise that will recondition you for success. It is best to do these
exercises in writing in your workbook. Just do it!
1. Appreciation and Gratitude:
The object is for your subconscious to understand that you are already “healthy.” Since like attracts like, more success will come your way. By appreciating what you have, you will find you are a happier person. Describing why you are grateful for something adds importance and impact. Describing how you feel adds emotion, which strengthens the conditioning process.
2. Clarity of Intention:
The key reason most people do not get what they want is they do not know what they want. Clarity leads to power. It is imperative to know the objective — what you are going for. By doing so, you will engage you mind’s “reticular activator,” an internal heat seeking missile which will attract and alert you to opportunities which are in alignment with your intention. For example, “I will have ten-level energy six days a week.” You will describe how you feel when this intention becomes your reality. This again engages the emotions and strengthens the program.
3. Purpose for Health:
Another important principle of manifestation is to know why you want something. The reason most people do not have health is that they have no massively important reason to have it. Be specific. “The reason I want health is… ” For example, “I want health so I can complete my post doctoral research and affect humanity.”
The objective is to create the reality of what we want in our mind and allow our “reticular activator” to manifest it into our lives. Add each sense into the picture.
5. Belief in Value: To receive, you must give. Specify the benefits your value adds to people. For example, “I help people be more confident, more successful, more conscious, and more joyous in their lives.”
6. References for Ability and Deservedness: The object is to declare the reasons why you truly believe you can be and deserve to be healthy. “The reasons I can be and deserve to be healthy are… ” For example, “I add value to people’s lives. I am persistent and creative.”
7. Act in Spite of… The health conditioning value of acting in spite of fear, discomfort, uncertainty or lack of motivation builds courage and momentum. Each time you act in spite of your feelings, you reinforce the habit. Just as a muscle grows stronger with use, so will your ability to confront bigger and bigger challenges in all areas of your life. Do something you wouldn’t normally do. Communicate with someone you have a concern about speaking to. Take care of a task that needs to be done regarding your health even though you don’t feel like it. Notice non-supportive “mind chatter” and the feelings that go with it, and
recognize that they have no power to stop you. Your protective mind is an over worried mother. Simply say, “Thank you for sharing,” and proceed.
Managing Your Grateful Energy 1. The biggest difference between the healthy and the unhealthy is the ability and willingness to manage energy. Every day you have the opportunity to divide your time, energy, and money into healthy actions.
2. Show your healthy container to your coach and receive a reward. After the 90 days is complete, follow this pattern for the rest of your life!
3. Use your designated “play” money, even if it is just one dollar, to nurture yourself during the coming week. If you do not allow your spirit to play, it will rebel against the logical side of you and sabotage your goals. You must “blow” this money on a monthly or quarterly basis. Enjoy it. Do things out of the ordinary. Get a massage. Buy that bracelet you have had your eye on. Throw a party.
4. Mark your progress on your Healthy Freedom Tracking Chart in a workbook. The law of manifestation states that what you focus on expands. What is tracked, increases.
5. The objective is to focus on your health worth and see progress.
• By following this gratitude program, you will be more successful and happier.
• Remain open and watch for miracles. The universe works in strange ways.
• Mini miracles happen all the time. Notice them.
• If you find yourself fortunate at any time, thank the universe and acknowledge that the program you are working is working for you.
Attitudes of Grateful Health
1. I AM TRULY GRATEFUL FOR ALL I HAVE NOW.
2. I ADMIRE AND MODEL MYSELF AFTER HEALTHY AND SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE.
3. I GET HEALTHY DOING WHAT I LOVE.
4. I DESERVE TO BE HEALTHY BECAUSE I ADD VALUE TO OTHER PEOPLE’S LIVES.
5. I AM A GENEROUS GIVER AND AN EXCELLENT RECEIVER.
6. WONDERFUL OPPORTUNITIES ALWAYS COME MY WAY.
VAKS EXERCISES are 1) Visual, 2) Auditory, 3) Kinesthetic, and 4) Spirit. These exercises integrate the left logical, brain and the right, creative brain. VAKS exercises are the most effective way to change beliefs and drive the conditioning process deep into the subconscious. While doing these VAKS exercises, repeat aloud your affirmation (e.g. “I am healthy and happy”) over and over again for thirty seconds.
1) Extend your arms in front of you. Clasp your hands together with interlocked fingers and your thumbs pointing up towards the ceiling
2) Massage the outer rim of both ears simultaneously with your thumb and index fingers. Start at the top of your ears and gently roll and pull outward and back to the bottom of your ears.
3) From a standing position, arms raised and bent at the elbows, slowly raise your left knee off the ground, twisting your body to meet and touch your right elbow. Return to your original position and repeat with the opposite knee to the opposite elbow. Alternate in a slow, flowing motion.
4) Place one hand on top of the other over your heart, feeling the voice vibration. Close your eyes.
The Wellness Conditioning Program
DAY ONE DATE: ____________________________
1. Acknowledge your successes. List at least five successes you enjoyed and are grateful for today.
2. Insert one item of gratitude in your Wellness container, such as a written reminder, picture, a small piece of food, or a penny.
3. Do your VAKS exercises for Wellness Freedom. “I am healthy.”
4. Clarity of Intention: Write the actual amount of health you intend to create in the form of a declaration. Then read it aloud at least three times slowly. For example, “I have enough energy to volunteer at the hospital twice a week for six hours total.” Describe how you would feel if this intention was your reality.
5. Attitudes of Wellness Declarations. Repeat the process for ninety days total.
Day 91 and Beyond:
Congratulations! You have completed the 90 Day Health Conditioning Program. By doing the exercises daily, you ingrain several positive new habits and ways of thinking and being into your life. Chances are you are happier, more peaceful, and have already experienced significant results. This could be new opportunities and enhanced productivity from unexpected sources. The only difference between happy and healthy people and depressed and unhealthy people is that happy people have better habits and more empowering ways of thinking about life and health. You now have a good start on both. Continue with the same habits until the goal is reached. It is important to acknowledge your progress and successes and to consolidate the learning. Take a moment to do the “completion exercise” to give you the momentum necessary to continue forward. For Your Power!
Over the program, describe your progress in terms of:
1. Happiness, wellness and managing your energy.
2. Opportunities that came your way or previous ones you now decided to take advantage of.
3. Enjoying your “play”.
4. How you feel about yourself.
5. How you feel about life.
6. How you feel about others and the universe. What did you learn about yourself? What will you do
now to keep your momentum?
REWARD YOURSELF. You deserve it!
The Health Conditioning Program can enhance people’s lives.
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