Updated: Jun 20, 2019
The most life-changing lesson I have ever learned came from the motivational legend Mr. Zig Ziglar. He often talked about the attitude of gratitude.
He said that, "Of all the attitudes a person can acquire, the attitude of gratitude is the most important and by far the most life changing."
Gratitude is the appreciation of what is valuable to you, being thankful for what you have or have worked towards and showing this appreciation to others.
Practicing gratitude is beneficial to our emotional wellness and these benefits also carry over into other aspects of wellness.
Gratitude can increase our happiness and make us healthier by eliciting the relaxation response, which causes the brain to release chemicals that slow down our muscles and organs and increase blood flow to the brain.
It also helps you sleep better and is beneficial to your body (physical wellness), strengthens relationships and makes you a better friend to others (social wellness) and boosts overall well-being.
Here are two exercises I have picked up over the years to help me develop my attitude of gratitude:
Give me 5:
First thing in the morning when you wake up take a few minutes to think about 5 people in your life for whom you're grateful. Picture each one of them. Think about the many ways the individual has touched your life, Picture looking them in the eye, noticing the color of their eyes and saying thank you, then picture them laughing and being full of joy and happiness and send them your gratitude once again.
This will help you begin the day focused on what’s most important to you. This also helps you when you find your self in low self esteem moment you can simply close your eyes and repeat this process remembering the people who love you and care for you.
This reminds you just how rich you are in life and allows you to pull out of depressed mode. To help you start this habit place a sticky note on your bathroom mirror and when you walk into the bathroom for the first time and see it on the mirror I’m giving you permission to get back in bed and do this exercise.
Take 2 and call in the morning:
Each day before you drink your morning coffee or tea handwrite at least two thank you notes. Some days, it can be more, but the idea is to write them before you have your morning coffee.
Doing this forces you to become more aware of people in your daily life that help you. If you have never written a handwritten thank you note to your spouse or to your child I challenge you to do so and watch how they light up when they receive the note.
Or try writing a thank you note to the person who takes in your dry cleaning and watch how they greet you the next time you drop off your clothes. Life is filled with these little moments every day and we often take them for granted. So go ahead and write two in the morning and call me. I can't wait to hear how it goes.
Starting each day with a bit of gratitude, allows the rest of life to take care of itself. It doesn’t mean things will not go wrong. Or that everything is rosy, but it does mean that when things do go wrong, you will be in a better mental space to tackle the challenges.
I promise investing in building an attitude of gratitude will have a profound impact on your emotional well being.
Dave Quinn, CEcD is Chief Inspiration Officer for DaveQuinn247.com and President of City Services for Day One Experts, an economic development consulting firm specializing in economic development consulting to companies, communities, and organizations. If you'd like to set up a time to visit with Dave about possible speaking engagements or to find out more about becoming a member of the Day One family click here to set up a 30-minute discovery call.
Dave is a passionate keynote speaker and coach, encouraging others to be a positive influence in the world around them. As an economic development mastermind, wellness advocate and vision caster, he loves inspiring others through talks on Leadership, Wellness, Economic Development, and Personal Responsibility. Connect with him in the social media world: Twitter, Instagram, and others @DaveQuinn247.