This year I decided to take GRATITUDE very seriously. I have heard and read about the power of expressing gratitude for years. In the past I have made lists of things I am grateful for, but nothing consistent, nothing daily. Looking back I recall friend, Michael J. Maher, author of the wildly popular Seven Levels of Communication and co-author of The Miracle Morning For Real Estate Agents telling me a few years ago “Shannon if you could do one simple thing that changes everything, practicing daily gratitude is it!”
So why the change in attitude? Why gratitude this year? That’s easy, 2020! Last year put everything in perspective for me. Being on “restriction” a.k.a. “lock down” gave me time to reassess and consider what and who I value in life. I feel like I have always been a grateful person, but now I was going to start being intentional about it.
What I did not realize is there is scientific research on the health benefits of gratitude. According to an article in Forbes the act of writing down daily gratitude’s can reduce stress, improve sleep, increase mental strength and improve health physically.
It really is quite simple and costs you almost nothing except time. What do you need to get started? A notebook and a pen. Make your journal as meaningful or personal as you want! Buy a fancy notebook and colored pens or just use what you have; it doesn’t matter as long as you commit to it. There is something powerful about the written word that goes beyond explanation, so rather than only reflecting on your gratitude, write it down. Your gratitude then becomes concrete, intentional, and powerful.
Feeling inspired but not sure how to start? The best way is to make gratitude a part of your daily activities. It could be a morning ritual, an evening ritual or both. There is no right or wrong way to acknowledge gratitude. You can write a set number of things you are grateful for (5 or 10) or write until you run out of steam. Struggling to think of something? Go macro or micro; it could be as broad as a sunny day or as tiny as a bee that pollinates the flower outside your window. The key is to make it a routine. I do it daily and it take me 5-10 minutes. Sometimes on a challenging day I write down what I am grateful for both at the beginning and end of the day.
Gratitude can be a life preserver. When everything is going wrong and you feel like you just can’t get back on track, taking a moment to stop and think of one thing you are grateful for at that moment (sometimes a challenge) can help reset your perspective and attitude. Being intentional and sometimes reframing the problem can also be helpful. Instead of complaining that the house on Smith Street will never close and the clients are a nightmare try expressing gratitude for Smith Street closing easily with happy clients. This may not change the outcome but it may help you shift your outlook and deal more effectively with a difficult situation!
Want to know more about Gratitude? Positive Psychology shared a list of books and resources here. Looking for a more guided journaling experience? Click here for a list of gratitude journals. Prefer an app? And maybe more guidance? There are many and some also have free versions like Gratitude: Diary, Vision Board or Grateful: A Gratitude Journal.
Today I am grateful to share my attitude of gratitude with YOU!
Shannon Gilmore, CRS @Washington Fine Properties. She assists buyers and sellers in Northern Virginia and Washington D.C. www.theshannongilmore.com