Gratitude or being grateful or thankful for something or someone is pretty cool. Not only does it help you to feel good about yourself but it has a ton of other positive benefits. Things like better sleep at night and greater compassion for others. There is also a ton of research on gratitude and yes we will get into that a little later but right now let’s dive a little bit more into what gratitude is.
Why should you care?
This is important because people are always telling us we need to show gratitude or start a gratitude journal but what the heck is gratitude anyway?
The Unicorn The Princess and The Birthday Party…
So there I was a 40 year old man surrounded by what seemed like a sea of 6 year old girls. It was lovely. It was my daughters (the princess) 6th birthday party and she wanted a unicorn. Not a stuffed unicorn or a remote controlled unicorn (yes they flippin’ exist) or a Lego unicorn set but a real live freakin’ unicorn.
So… I go about trying to find a ahem… real unicorn. You would think someone would rent a damn mini horse with a fake horn on it but nope. The farmers I called that rented mini horses seemed affronted that I would ask them to debase their beautiful tiny ass horses with a fake horn. So nope no real unicorn. What about two dumb asses in a unicorn costume. I of course would have been the lead dumb ass. Nope couldn’t find one to rent. What I did find was an adult unicorn costume for one person. Yes you read that correctly… they make unicorn costumes for an adult. And not just any old adult this here adult.
Tim Dresses Like a Unicorn
I would like to say this is the first time I have dressed up in a strange children’s costume but unfortunately it is not but that is a story for another time.
You can obviously see where this going. I got the costume, dressed up as a flippin’ unicorn and this brings us back to the beginning. There I am a 40 year old man surrounded by a sea of 6 year old girls and oh yeah… I’m wearing a unicorn costume.
Up comes the princess to get her picture taken with her “magical” fat ass unicorn. She sits on my lap which was no easy feat in my unicorn costume. She leans in and kisses my little horsey cheek and whispers “Daddy, I know it’s you” (I’m thinking no shit it’s me) “Thank you, best birthday ever! Even though you’re not real.” The f you talking bout. I’m all horse!
No but seriously, that my friends, is gratitude for me. The deep feeling I get when I realize I am so blessed or lucky or whatever and I do not deserve any of it but it’s there anyway.
Story Time Over…
All right, so as you can see. Gratitude is dressing up as a unicorn and taking pictures at your daughters birthday party. Not really but you get my drift.
So now with a better understanding of gratitude (maybe?) lets get into the 7 truths I promised you in the amazing title to my post. They have helped me and I hope they do the same for you.
Gratitude wakes us up to the illusion of a past or future
Just sit with that for a minute. Really let it sink in. That’s some deep shit.
When we affirm the goodness all around us and realize that it does not come from us we feel that deep feeling of gratitude and we awaken, sorry for this but it’s gotta be said, to the now. The present moment.
Or as Dr. Robert A. Emmons, arguably the world’s leading scientific expert on gratitude, (Henceforth know as The Smart Dude) puts it in a presentation he gave about “What good is Gratitude.” “Gratitude allows Celebration of the present moment.” He goes on to say it “allows us to participate more in life. You notice the positives more and that magnifies your experience.”
So there it is gratitude helps us stay right where we should be, in the present. Pretty awesome right?
It blocks toxic emotions
This one is kinda a no brainer when you really take time to think about it but it is still life changing. If our thoughts are focused on things that we are grateful for, creating that deeper feeling of gratitude, how in the world can we be caught up in shitty thoughts? We can’t! Imagine the following for a moment.
This is a retelling of the story by yours truly so its gonna be a little funky.
A man travels across India soaking up knowledge and information from several “gurus” on his way to see a true master. Once he arrives he is ushered i to see the master. “Sit down,” the master says. “What have you learned on your travels ?” “Master, I have discovered a great many things about life and how we as humans work.” The man tells the master all he has learned and once done the master calls for tea.
The master pours the tea but the man is concerned as the master does not stop once the cup is full. The traveler wants to tell the master to stop but he dares not insult the great one. Finally he can take it no longer. “Dear master, the cup is full it can take no more tea!” “Exactly!” The master proclaims. “Your mind is now like this tea cup. It is so full of you cannot take on the true wisdom. Go away and return when you are empty.”
Our minds are finite if we fill them up with thoughts of gratitude there is no room for envy, resentment, regret or even depression.
Gratitude supercharges our innate Resiliency
We are all born with innate resiliency. We are all able to bounce back from any situation no matter what it is. A death. A divorce. Loss of job. On and on.
We a hardwired to get over shit and move on with our lives.Tim
This innate superpower gets blocked when we allow crappy thinking to take over.
When we show gratitude. When we affirm the good and understand we a not the source we force out those crappy thoughts allowing our natural resiliency to emerge.
It is always there, always waiting for you to give it chance to show that you are going to be OK. Because you are naturally kick ass. We just forget this sometimes.
You could say that a resilient mind is our default setting and gratitude is the antivirus that enables it to remain in good working order.
So come on show some gratitude already!
Oprah thinks gratitude is important
Now I know many of you are probably screaming at your computer. “Why the hell is this not number #1?” And I would agree with you that this is definitely an example of burying the lead but at least you get to read about why Oprah thinks gratitude is important. So… chill out!
In a blog post on Oprah.com, she talks about keeping a daily gratitude journal for ten years and always encouraging her followers to do the same. She goes on to say that as life got busy her journal ritual started to be put to the side for what she thought was more important things.
When she came across an old gratitude journal entry she questioned why everything in her life had grown exponentially except her happiness.
In her words. ” How had I, with all my options and opportunities, become one of those people who never have time to feel delight? I was stretched in so many directions, I wasn’t feeling much of anything. Too busy doing.
But the truth is, I was busy in 1996, too. I just made gratitude a daily priority. I went through the day looking for things to be grateful for, and something always showed up…”
She talks about how she has renewed her gratitude journal ritual with one change. it is an electronic gratitude journal.
“The difference is, I’m back to journaling—electronically—and whenever there’s a grateful moment, I note it. I know for sure that appreciating whatever shows up for you in life changes your personal vibration. You radiate and generate more goodness for yourself when you’re aware of all you have and not focusing on your have-nots.”
This is worth saying again.
You radiate and generate more goodness for yourself when you’re aware of all you have and not focusing on your have-nots.Oprah
Gratitude can help boost your immune system
Yeah, I didn’t believe it either when I first came across this one. But there is research that being grateful will help you get sick less. Now if there was ever anything bad ass that would be it, fosho.
Remember Dr. Robert A. Emmons (AKA The Smart Dude)? You know, the worlds leading scientific expert on gratitude, dude. Yup we have more from him on this one.
“Grateful people take better care of themselves and engage in more protective health behaviors like regular exercise, a healthy diet, regular physical examinations.” Emmons tells WebMD int this post.
Stress is a killer so much so that it lays claim to up to 90% of all doctors visits. Here’s what The Smart Dude has to say about the relationship of stress and gratitude.
“Gratitude research is beginning to suggest that feelings of thankfulness have tremendous positive value in helping people cope with daily problems, especially stress.”
So there you have it…
Gratitude can help boost our immune systems. Kerpaoww!! Mind blown! 🤯
Gratitude lets us see it’s not all about us
Now this one is another no brainer. But I think it needs to be said so Imma say it.
Gratitude helps us to stop being self centered little shits. Yup, I said it.
If you remember waaaaayyy back to the beginning of this post where we talked about what gratitude is:
- Affirming the goodness that is around us
- Understanding this goodness does not come from us
If you notice item number 2 it does not come from us. That is the opposite of self centered. So when we exhibit gratitude we naturally take our attention off of ourselves and place it where it should be in the first place. On others…
Gratitude helps us to be more self aware
You will find yourself in what you are grateful for.Tim
Welp, we have finally made it to truth #7 about gratitude and boy is this one a doozy. We are constantly hearing about how important it is to know yourself. To find your passion. And I have always found this confusing and difficult. Well, mostly confusing. Of course I know myself I’m all I have. Right?
Its true that you are all you have but we get caught up in what others want and what other feel that we lose the true essence of ourselves. How can we be sure that this is important to me? How can we be sure if I am passionate about this or that or am I just letting others passion and others important “things” project onto myself?
Yeah, you guessed it, gratitude. It’s pretty simple. If you have a daily gratitude ritual, whatever that may be, you will find yourself in what you are grateful for. Now I believe this will work if you do not have a consistent practice but perhaps not. The true key here is consistent practice. I will dive into several daily gratitude rituals on a later post.
When you discover what you are consistently grateful for you see your true passions and you get s deeper understanding of yourself.
A daily gratitude ritual is the quickest and easiest way I know of to do this and it can take as little as 30 seconds.
So if you are curious about “who I am?” Or “What I am passionate about?”
Start with gratitude.
Phew, that was a lot of gratitude
There you have it! As promised, 7 truths about gratitude that will blow your mind! I’m gonna do a quick list style recap for those of you with short attention spans, myself included.
7 truths about gratitude that will blow your mind – RECAP
- Gratitude wakes us up to the illusion of a past or future
When we are grateful for what we have we live in the present and the past and future does not bother us as much
- Gratitude blocks toxic emotions
It is impossible to feel envy, resentment, regret or depression at the same time as gratitude. Give it a shot.
- Gratitude supercharges our innate Resiliency
We all have innate resiliency which gets clouded and blocked by our stinkin’ thinkin’. Gratitude allows our innate resilience to shine back through. We are hardwired to get over shit and move on with our lives.
- Oprah thinks gratitude is important
“You radiate and generate more goodness for yourself when you’re aware of all you have and not focusing on your have-nots.” – Oprah
- Gratitude can help boost your immune system
“Grateful people take better care of themselves and engage in more protective health behaviors like regular exercise, a healthy diet, regular physical examinations.” – Dr Robert Emmons
- Gratitude lets us see it’s not all about us
When we exhibit gratitude we naturally take our attention off of ourselves and place it where it should be in the first place. On others…
- Gratitude helps us to be more self aware
You will find yourself in what you are grateful for.
OK, I know that was a hell of a lot about gratitude but… I did not cover it all or maybe I did I am pretty awesome. Now back to reality.. What I want from you is what you think is the most important benefit of gratitude. Comment below with your answer.