I’m curious: are you making what could be the number one mistake, when it comes to gratitude?
How can you tell if you’re doing it? The gratitude exercises won’t work as well for you.
It’s such a simple one that most of us don’t even spot ourselves doing it – whether it’s about gratitude or any other area of our lives.
What is it?
Forcing yourself to do the practices.
Sure, there’s an argument that will power is an essential part of cultivating any new habit. But gratitude is about opening your heart to experiencing beautiful emotions – and sending those emotions out into the world. ‘Forcing’ tends to make your heart close, instead of opening.
Gritted teeth do not an open heart make…
Any time you do your gratitude practice – whether it’s your Gratitude Miinutes or your Bedtime Spiral or your Gratitude Jar or anything else – with a mindset of “I have to” or “I should”, you’ll be creating the physiological changes in your body and mind that put you into your stress state. And saying “Thank you” through clenched teeth is a very different experience to genuinely choosing to feel it.
What can you do instead?
It comes back to choosing.
Choose to play with your Gratitude techniques. Choose to experiment with them. Never force yourself.
Even the simple thought of “I choose to do this right now,” will shift you back into re-balancing your parasympathetic nervous system (the relaxed bit) so that the sympathetic nervous system (the ‘fight or flight’ adrenalin-junky bit) is no longer running the show.
When we are feeling more relaxed, it is so much easier to open up your heart to experiencing gratitude, love, joy, happiness, inspiration and all the other wonderful emotions that Gratitude brings with it.
Has “I have to” been sneaking into your practice at all? Or anywhere else in your life? How about letting it go and playing with “I choose to” today?
You could share your experiences and get answers to any questions over at the online community today:
Are you making the #1 gratitude mistake?
And if you already have the ‘choose to’ thing sussed, how about popping by that forum thread to offer support and advice to those who would love some today?
Here’s Your Week Two Project & Useful Links
Bedtime Gratitude Spiral[audio:http://]
- Before you fall asleep, choose three things you feel grateful for, to use for this exercise.
It might be something that happened during the day; it might be something from your gratitude jar. It doesn’t really matter what you choose, as long as it helps you to connect with the feeling of gratitude in your heart.
- Allow yourself to gently rest in the feeling of gratitude for the first thing.
- Really experience the grateful emotion. Feel the gratitude expanding and growing. Don’t force, just let it naturally work its magic.
- Really dive into the experience you are feeling grateful for. See what you would be seeing, if it were happening right now; hear what you would hear; feel the physical sensations that you would feel.
- Allow the intensity of your gratitude to increase, perhaps imagining that you have a dial you can use to turn up the feeling.
- If the feeling of gratitude starts to wane, move on to the second thing and repeat #2.
Then, just as you notice it start to wane, move onto your third thing.
- You can keep going, if you want to, until you fall asleep.
- Notice how your mood is shifted.
Perhaps say a heart-felt ‘thank you’ to yourself, for choosing to do the Bedtime Gratitude Spiral.
It can help to anchor this process into part of your bedtime routine, to help you remember to do it. For example, you could tie it in with turning off your light. If you read before you sleep, you could anchor it in with putting the book down. Or you could choose to do it when your head touches the pillow.
You only need to do this for a few days and already you’re creating a life-long positive habit.
I’d love to hear your experiences of playing with this technique. Here’s a special discussion thread in the forum, for you to share your insights and ask any questions you may have: The Bedtime Gratitude Spiral.
Here’s the members-only community (private) and even the Facebook Page (public), where you can ask questions, share your experiences and support others who are joining in with the Miracle Of Gratitude.