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Tracy Winchell

How to feel grateful when you are not. Without a daily journaling discipline

published4 months ago
2 min read

Hi Reader,

Do you believe in the power of transformation through gratitude, yet still struggle to find the good in your life?

Psychologists call this a knowledge-to-performance gap.

Our brains on gratitude make it easier for us to close the knowledge-to-performance gap. But when gratitude is the gap, we are experiencing what I call The Gratitude Paradox.

The second edition of our 4-part series, Gratitude When Gratitude Is Hard to Find, you will learn a handful of unbelievable actions you can take to foster gratitude in your life.

GRATITUDE GREASES THE SKIDS

Source: Gratitude Works! by Robert A. Emmons

When your brain is on gratitude, a body of research led by Robert A. Emmons reports you can close the knowledge-to-gratitude gap and achieve results like:

  • Improved relationships.
  • Sleeping 30 minutes more each night.
  • Boosting self-confidence and self-worth.
  • Decreasing fat intake by up to 20 percent.
  • Increased feelings of energy, alertness, and enthusiasm.

In my personal experience -- and in watching clients achieve remarkable results through gratitude -- all of these benefits help you take on a challenge, learn from failure, and implement habits that further increase your fitness levels.

Keeping a gratitude list helps me get through the immediate grief of losing someone I love.

Keeping a gratitude list does not inoculate me from experiencing depression. It does help me cope as I work my checklist toward improved mental health.

Sir John Templeton was a gratitude evangelist. In 1962 he stuffed Christmas cards with a letter. No family updates. No list of accomplishments.

In this holiday letter, Templeton reminded recipients how we are responsible for "tending the garden of our minds."

Circumstances outside the garden of your minds do not shape you. You shape them. For example, if you expect treachery, allowing those thoughts to dwell in your mind, you will get it. If you fill your mind with thoughts of love, you will give love and get it.
ā€‹Sir John Templeton

Of course, it takes more than a single decision to embrace gratitude or any other emotion.

In his book Gratitude Works! Robert A. Emmons describes what he and his team of researchers continue to learn from a control group of gratitude practitioners.

Emmons offers a list of surprising activities that get you to gratitude -- and none of them involves a 7-day per week gratitude journal. In fact, Emmons' research shows that trying to perfect a daily gratitude practice can be detrimental to your pursuit of a grateful brain.

Here are the 3 lowest-friction things you can do to experience gratitude.

1. WATCH A DEPRESSING FILM.

Sad movies tend to enhance your ability to experience gratitude more than watching a comedy.

Grab a pint of ice cream & curl up with a tearjerker.

2. REFLECT ON A PAINFUL PAST.

Remember a difficult moment -- or season -- in your life. Then recall the breakthrough. Finally, appreciate how far you have come.

3. STOP TELLING YOURSELF YOU WILL WRITE DAILY.

The pressure of expecting yourself to write every day can ruin your gratitude practice.
ā€‹Writing two times a week is often much more effective than attempting daily practice.

THIS WEEK'S CHALLENGE

  1. Do one of the surprising activities above.
  2. When complete, write about how the experience broke through the Gratitude Paradox or closed the gap between knowledge and performance.

Thank you for reading. As always, questions and feedback are appreciated.

-t

P. S. If this newsletter edition helped you, I hope you will forward to a friend.

HOW TO RESPOND
WHEN GRATITUDE IS HARD TO FIND:
A WORKSHOP

Tuesday, October 18th
11:00 a.m. Chicago time

  1. You will meet others who want to build a gratitude practice, with whom you can partner with as an accountability crew.
  2. And I'll be providing weekly emails to all workshop participants through November & December.

ā€‹

NOTE: If you are clinically depressed and considering self-harm, do not try these without consulting a mental health professional.