“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” – William Arthur Ward
Am I the only one that feels like a dark, COVID-related cloud is finally lifting? Being pregnant and having a newborn during a pandemic (or whatever you call this thing) had my family keeping to ourselves a lot more than we’d like.
But, with our little guy getting a little older, some big family events on our calendar, local COVID stats dropping and just tired of being cooped up, we are starting to get out more.
And it’s awesome. I’ve missed people. I’ve missed gatherings. And this South Georgia winter weather is fantastic!
I am thankful and when I’m thankful, I’m happier, healthier and more productive. Granted, I am not thankful all the time. I can throw my sucker in the dirt as quickly as anyone. But, I am getting better at this gratitude thing.
As a confirmed business and data dork, here is the really cool thing – gratitude pays dividends!
– Shawn Achor found that workers who participated in a gratitude challenge increased sales by 37%, productivity by 31% and accuracy by 19%.
– Thankful people are more likely to exercise. Why? Because we take care of things we appreciate – like our body. The more we exercise, the better we feel and the longer, healthier lives we live.
– Grateful people sleep better. Instead of counting sheep, count your blessings.
– Thankfulness improves your immune response. Stress does the opposite.
– Gratitude improves well-being scores by 10%. That is the same impact as doubling your income.
The Bible is full of instructions to be thankful. Here are a few:
– Philippians 4: The chapter that tells us to not worry about anything, starts with the command to “rejoice always” (v.4) and then tells us to put our minds on things that are pure, lovely and praiseworthy in verse 8.
– 1 Thessalonians 5:18: Tell us that it is God’s will for us to give thanks in all things. How much time have I spent wondering what God’s will is? His will is for me to be more thankful.
– Psalm 118:24 instructs us to rejoice in the day the Lord has made.
– Ephesians 5:18 tells us to give thanks in all things.
Research proves gratitude is good for us. The Bible tells us to do it. But, gratitude can be really difficult.
I am not always thankful despite the ridiculous blessings I have been given. Instead of beating myself up after every pity party, I have started measuring my success by the depth of my slumps. How fast did I recover? How quickly did I turn my mind to praise or at least just go to bed before I did something dumb?
Count every small victory in your battle for thankfulness. You can’t beat yourself up and be thankful at the same time.
Here are some tips and tricks that I’ve found helpful and so have many others.
– Recognize progress.As I mentioned above, pat yourself on the back when you put forth an effort to change. Mental ruts are hard to undo. We repeat what gets praised, so give yourself credit for every little step.
– Fire back up that gratitude journal. Make it part of your daily quiet time. Rather than listing the same things every time, force yourself to find things that happened within the last 24 hours to be thankful for.
– End your day with gratitude and you’ll sleep better. Start your day with gratitude and you’ll live better.
– Write for two minutes a day about one positive experience you had within the last 24 hours.
– Exercise for a minimum of 10 minutes per day. Exercise brings a host of mental and physical benefits.
– Sleep more. When I am under-rested my self-discipline is amazingly low. I binge eat, I throw pity parties. It is bad. Try more sleep.
– Imagine not having some of the things and people in your life that you currently take for granted. Imagine people you love (who might currently be on your nerves) being gone. Imagine being without the physical comforts we take for granted like air conditioning, a bed and a roof over our heads.
– Give thanks. Drop an email, send a text or even write a note. Recognize someone for being awesome.
On this Thanksgiving week let's go beyond being thankful for just this season. Let’s make thankfulness and gratitude a habit.
I am very thankful for the opportunity to write for this great paper every week and to you for reading it. Thank you.
From my family to yours, we hope you have a very blessed Thanksgiving!
– “Gratitude is riches. Complaint is poverty.” – Doris Day
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Curt Fowler is president of Fowler & Company and director at Fowler, Holley, Rambo & Stalvey.
Curt and the team at FHRS help leaders build great companies through Fractional CFO, strategy, tax and accounting services.
Curt is a syndicated business writer, keynote speaker and business advisor. He has an MBA in strategy and entrepreneurship from the Kellogg School, is a CPA, and a pretty good guy as defined by his wife and five children. (Welcome Baby Owen – June 2021!)