by Nicole Belanger
What are you grateful for right this moment?
When was the last time you stopped to reflect on that question?
When did you last make room for gratitude amidst the chaos and clutter that is in the mind of an entrepreneur?
I’m guessing it’s probably been a while…let’s fix that.
Old Fashioned, All-Natural Stress Solution
Entrepreneurship, while exhilarating and challenging, doesn’t always make for an easy life.
It can come with a great deal of stress and anxiety — and that’s only the business part of your life. Add on work-life balance challenges, family stress, and health challenges and life starts to look pretty rough.
But despite the many challenges we face, we know one thing to be true: that life — especially the entrepreneurial life — is a beautiful, special, and precious thing.
So what if we could ‘bottle’ all those great days filled with joy and positive energy and use them as a store to build us up when the grind is getting us down?
The good news is that we can and the even better news is that it is absolutely free and you can start today.
It’s called gratitude.
Gratitude Is Worth Your Time — I Promise!
Like anyone, I’ve experienced my fair share of challenges in life.
Over the years, I’ve noticed that the challenging times when I am actively practicing gratitude end up being far less painful and detrimental to my overall well-being than the difficult times when I refuse to make time to take note of all the incredible gifts that I have in my life.
Consistently practicing gratitude also has a positive effect on my relationships and my productivity.
But don’t just take my word for it — numerous academic studies done over the last several years have confirmed that has very real positive impacts on our emotional, mental, and physical health.
And on top of the personal benefits that we get when we are grateful, extending that gratitude to others helps to “share the wealth”, so to speak:
As Tony Schwartz, CEO of The Energy Project, explains “Feeling genuinely appreciated lifts people up. At the most basic level, it makes us feel safe, which is what frees us to do our best work. It’s also energizing”.
How to Incorporate Gratitude Into Your Daily Life
The good news is that your gratitude practice can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be.
In fact, the most important element of my gratitude practice takes all of 30 seconds, costs absolutely nothing, and requires no fancy tools: it’s a note on my iPhone.
It’s simple as can be: I keep a running note on my phone called ‘Gratitude’ where I jot done in point form all the things that I’m grateful for at that moment. I try to make time for it every night, but I’ve made the choice not to force myself to stick to a daily habit to preserve the organic and spontaneous feel of this practice. The notes range from the little things like finding a great parking spot, to the bigger things like my health and my family.
For those of you who are analog junkies out there, a paper gratitude journal works just as well. You can also try using a day planner, or a whiteboard in your office.
Practice Makes Awesome
As Dr. Robert A Emmons, Professor at UC Davis and author of Thanks! How Practicing Gratitude Can Make You Happier, has found in his research, individuals who maintained a gratitude journal for 10 weeks reported feeling happier, more optimistic about the future, and generally feeling better about their lives.
The key to successfully cultivating an attitude of gratitude is consistency. Kate Durie taught me, gratitude truly is a practice. It requires you to make an ongoing investment of time and energy. It doesn’t need to take hours, but it requires you to make the effort to show up for yourself on a daily basis.
I know that your life is full to the brim, but I promise that the return on even the smallest investment in your gratitude practice will dramatically improve your personal and professional life.