A Formula For Gratitude
I don’t know about you, but all around me I hear the benefits of gratitude. Many famous and successful people have touted the results they get because of it.
I’m living proof myself. I had a massive setback in life, my own midlife crisis back when I was 39. I was diagnosed with glaucoma, my cholesterol was so high they couldn’t measure it, and I had shingles. All in the same month.
The stress of life had caught up to me, and I had to change. My body was sending me clear signals that what I was doing was not sustainable.
So I started a morning routine designed to have me stop and reflect on the day. It’s called the 10-10-10 method.
First thing in the morning, 10 minutes of gratitude for anything and everything. Then 10 minutes of inspiration, either a book, reading, or video. Then 10 minutes of journalling. That’s the 10-10-10.
This simple practice did wonders for me, but I never understood why until today.
The great curators at TED posted a compilation on gratitude and in it, was a profound statement by David Steindl-Rast.
“We all know quite a number of people who have everything … and they are not happy because they want something else or they want more of the same. And we all know people who have lots of misfortune, misfortune that we ourselves would not want to have, and they are deeply happy … Why? Because they are grateful. So it is not happiness that makes us grateful. It’s gratefulness that makes us happy.”
It’s the gratefulness that makes us happy. I couldn’t agree more.
Even when I was 39 I had everything you could want to be happy, but something didn’t line up. Why was my body sending this message to me? In retrospect, it was because I wasn’t grateful for it. I was always striving for more, and what I had wasn’t good enough.
What I’ve learned is it’s OK to want more. Wanting what you want because you want it is OK, despite the way we were raised, and the guilt that people lay on you for continuing to want more.
The key is to measure not just how far you want to go, but how far you’ve come. Your goal was $1,000,000 when you had nothing. You’re feeling disappointed because you only have $100,000. Think about how far you’ve come! You had nothing, now you have $100,000! Or you have that amazing partner! Or that accomplishment at work! Whatever it is, you’re ahead of where you were. Celebrate that!
I know it’s hard. Say your goal was not to yell, and your temper got the better of you and you screwed up. Think about all the other times you didn’t yell, not the one time you did.
Or you couldn’t think of the word in that conversation, and you think about how dumb you sounded, but you forget you knew nothing about that subject just last year.
There are moments every day where we have to stop and think about what we have. The day can be wasted by reacting to the world around us. If you can be a little more deliberate in your thinking, pause and think about how far you’ve come, and be grateful for it. That gratefulness can make us happy.
Give it a try, it’s worked for me, and I’m grateful you’ve read this. Thank you!