While on my journey to uncover what was next, now that my youngest of three children left for college, I was struck by an overwhelming reminder about the importance of being grateful everyday for where I was and what I had in my life as opposed to focusing so much on what was now missing.
I have always been grateful and so incredibly blessed but when hit with a big change in life, I found it can be hard to practice gratitude. At least for myself, this was the case. I also discovered it’s so much more than just being grateful, you must PRACTICE being grateful.
SELF HELP JUNKIE
This all happened one day while I was doing some research online (Yes, I’m a self help junkie so this is a daily ritual for me). There is an overwhelming amount of science behind the correlation between overall happiness and practicing gratitude. Studies have shown that those who frequently feel an authentic level of specific gratefulness have so much MORE....MORE happiness, MORE social connections, MORE optimism, and MORE energy.
Being where I was at the time that I read about the studies on gratitude (feeling pretty unsure of what’s next and not very happy), I decided that I would try and make this a new daily practice of mine. At this point, I knew I needed to do some more research to figure out the best, most effective ways of doing this….(again can’t help myself, part of my daily ritual).
It was soon clear that most "experts" all had this one common component that their research found was the most effective way of practicing gratitude...Journaling! I also found a pretty consistent trend in the recommended ways of getting the most out of your time journaling in an effort to be the most grateful. Check out the infographic at the end of the blog to see what they recommended.
I TRIED IT...I DID IT...I'M HAPPIER!
I found that following the steps that the "experts" recommended on a daily basis, has made a huge impact on my happiness and my ability to discover and love what’s next. It was so powerful that practicing gratitude is a foundational element to a participant's success in the Love What’s Next Project. In my experience, I found that you can’t effectively achieve big dreams or fully redefine your normal until you have a strong grasp on gratitude and practice it regularly. This can be as simple as knowing and acknowledging those little things that bring you Simple Bliss each day or taking a minute to authentically tell a friend how much you appreciate them for the joy they bring into your life. Gratitude propels you towards your future goals and lays the seeds for change because of the foundation of positive emotions one gets from being grateful for what they have NOW.
Nicole Cavey is the Chief Pursuit Officer of Love What's Next. Through her personal journey to uncover what was next for her, she discovered that you can love where you are no matter what stage in life you are in... as long as you know how. Her mission is to show YOU how!