practice gratitudeThanksgiving brings up all kinds of feelings of thankfulness and gratitude but what if I told you that gratitude is not just a feeling but something you should do.

What if I told you that in order to have true gratitude you would need to be disciplined in putting things in place to have those feelings?

Today we are discussing how to DO GRATITUDE and how to put things in place in your daily life to live a life that is full of gratitude.

Gratitude doesn’t come from all you gather or obtain ,it’s not what you wish for or want it is something you can create. You can learn how to do gratitude.
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Yo! Welcome to today’s episode of the show. Today is about gratitude. Now, if you’re living in the United States, tomorrow, as you know, is Thanksgiving and the tradition that we have here in the States about Thanksgiving is you get together and you eat a shit-ton of food. That’s kind of the tradition. The more the better. Get to the place where you can barely move and there’s absolutely no room left, and then someone’s like, “You want to eat some pie?” and then you try to eat more. That’s what most people do.

I have a good friend actually. They go have an early dinner with his wife’s family, and then they go to his parents house, and they have a later dinner. They eat again with his family and he is like in this marathon where he kind of paces himself so they can make it through both dinners. That’s an interesting way of celebrating, I suppose, our gratitude and our blessings around food abundance but that’s kind of the limit of the tradition. I guess maybe there’s some time with family that people experience but that’s the core, I think. The idea of thanksgiving, giving thanks, is extremely valuable and that’s what I want to talk about today. And you don’t have to be based in the United States, I mean we all can benefit from more gratitude in our lives.

So let’s talk about gratitude. And if you want to go deeper in the show, go to shrinkfortheshyguy.com. You can ask me questions there. I’ll answer them in the bonus “ask the shrink” segments. You can give feedback and also you can get a copy of my book, “The Five Steps to Unleash Your Inner Confidence” which is going to help you learn the key five steps that I use myself and with all my clients to help them rapidly build their confidence. And you can get that sucker for free. So go to shrinktheshyguy.com.

Let’s talk about gratitude. The more grateful that you can feel, the better your life is. Now that might not be new to you. You might have heard that before. You might already know that intellectually. We all do, right? That when we’re in a state of feeling thankful, like “I feel blessed, I feel grateful,” then we feel appreciative of what we have. And when we feel appreciative of what we have, we don’t feel a sense of lack, inadequacy and scarcity, “I’m not enough,” and “I don’t have enough,” and “life is not fair,” and “it’s not giving me enough,” and “I’m lonely,” and “I’m feeling all the lack”. That is a lack of gratitude. It’s the opposite of feeling fulfilled, appreciative, and grateful.

So we all know that life is better when we feel grateful. And we all focus a lot on getting external things, thinking that we’re going to feel fulfilled and grateful when we have them. So we strive to get more… blank. More money. More love. Different or better relationships. More dates. More friends. More time out. More people liking us on Facebook or other social media. More! I got to get more and then I’ll feel fulfilled. Now this starts young. My son Zaim, we give him some raisins to put in his little oat cereal and he wants more. “I want more raisins!” It’s a human thing.

So we all want more and we think that by getting more, we’re going to feel grateful. But we’ve all also experienced this, when we get everything that we want, or we achieve a goal, or we get a date, or whatever our goal and whatever it is we want and maybe we feel grateful but maybe not even at all. Or maybe it’s super short-lived. And then it’s like, “What’s on to the next thing? What’s on to the next thing? What’s on to the next thing?” And I have experiences, I’m sure you have too. So that’s why today is going to be not just about the idea of gratitude, like “Oh yeah gratitude is a good thing, yeah that’s right. Eating vegetables, yeah.” in theory that’s great, right? This is about feeling gratitude. And that’s why I want to start with the idea of the discipline of gratitude.

I believe that gratitude is a discipline. Like eating healthy, like working out, like confidence in a lot of ways. I talk about this a lot. We have to have a discipline of confidence. We have to have at least one habit a day. One thing that we do every day that helps build our confidence. And if we don’t, it doesn’t matter what you want or wish for, it’s only what you create. And if you’re wondering about those, I have another show all about the discipline of confidence. I teach you some of the habits and disciplines that I use and clients use on a daily basis to maximize their confidence. But today is about the discipline of gratitude. And it’s the same thing. We have to have something that we put into place– that we “do”. We “do” gratitude. Just like we do all of our feelings. It doesn’t just happen to us, we have to create it. And the reason I call it a discipline is because setting up habits, doing daily rituals, at first requires some commitment, some willpower, some choice, some discipline. And then it becomes part of who you are. But we have to create that. And I want you to create that in your life, if you’re not already doing it. And if you are already doing it, I want to intensify it. I want to give you some fuel so you’re inspired to get out there and keep doing it more and more so you can feel better and better in your life, more and more fulfilled. And guess how gratitude affects our confidence. That’s right. When we feel fulfilled, when we feel appreciative, when we’re not in a state of lack, we are so much more confident and our energy is so different.

So let’s just take one example, say dating and relationships. If you are single and you are in a state of lack and no appreciation and no gratitude, I need something from you. I need your love. That’s your energy and you go talk to someone. How’s that going to go? You’re going to be nervous, you’re going to mess it up and you subtly push them away with your energy. Instead, to be attractive, we want to be filled up. We want to be filled up like, “I have so much going on, I have so much love in my heart, I have so many good things, I want to share these with you and I can. Come get into my world and hang out with me”. And when you come from that place, good things happen. You become a lot more attractive.

Let’s talk about how the discipline of gratitude… habits and patterns that you can do, rituals that you can do starting right now, that are simple and easy. I’m not a big fan of 35-minute-exercises you’ve got to do every morning and night. You’ve got to do something super fast, super easy. I have some great ideas I want to share with you. I want you to be thinking about your own ideas, what’s worked for you in the past, and then we’re going to do something together that will help you actually tap into that feeling in your heart, and feel a sense of gratitude which feels amazing. So this is going to be a fun episode.

What can we do to feel more grateful? One of the most common practices that you might’ve heard of, it’s very common, is a gratitude journal where you write things down that you’re grateful for. And there’s a bunch of ideas like that, but before we get into the specifics I think it’s important to realize this: Gratitude is not something we feel in our heads. It’s not a thought. So in order to experience gratitude, we have to feel in our body, which means we have to slow down. We have to slow it down. So if you’re going from thing to thing in your day, “I got to take care of this,” and you’re stressed out, and then you’re bothered by this, and you’re irritated by that, it gets to the evening, and you’re getting into bed, “Ah, shit, I got to do my gratitude journal. All right, what am I grateful for?” And you’re just trying to go through it. It’s not going to do anything.

We need to slow way down to feel grateful. Because you could list right now, we could all intellectually list, we have thousands of things that we could be grateful for in our lives. The fact that you are even hearing me right now, that you have ears, and your brain works in an effective way, and everything is working in that machinery and that circuitry and you can hear and understand what I’m saying, is a fucking amazing miracle. And not everyone enjoys that in their life. Not everyone can do that. So we can intellectually be grateful for thousands of things. But we don’t need to be grateful for thousands of things, we just need to be grateful for one thing. And in order to do that, we need to slow way down. And breathe. And feel. And guess what? When you slow down, and you breathe, and you feel, you are going to feel other shit before you feel gratitude. Maybe you are going to feel stressed out, if you’re in motion, “Next thing, next thing, next thing”. Or if you’re anxious, or if you are self-critical, or anything else that’s going on, you might have to settle into that soup for a few minutes, and breathe, and just feel. And then do a practice. Do a discipline. Do something that’s going to help you bring your focus to what you have, and what you could be grateful for. And this could be done with the journal. That’s a great way where you write it, or you can just do it in your mind. But it’s not coming from your mind in the sense you’re listing them really quick. You reel-in your body, you really slow down and then you ask yourself a question like this, “What could I be grateful for? If I wanted to be, what could I be grateful for?”

Sometimes I have a little bit of an “eh” effect, because there is this should story, especially in personal growth, like you should feel grateful, you should have a gratitude journal. Anytime anyone tells us that we should do something, part of us buys into it and feels guilty, and another part of us resists it, rebels. So, if that’s poking any buttons, you could also just look at the word “appreciate”. What could I appreciate right now? If I really wanted to.

I went to work on this a little while back and I made a practice of when I woke up every morning, before I did anything, I just keep my eyes closed, feel, and asked myself that question: What are three things that I could be grateful for right now? And really slow down, and feel them. So It wouldn’t just be, “Tick, tick, tick, done! Ding, I’m up!” And I wouldn’t judge what it was. Let’s say you’re like, “I feel grateful for my mom.” You’re like, “What about my dad? I should feel grateful for my dad too. Oh he’d be offended or hurt if it wasn’t him.” This is not the time to take care of others’ feelings. No one knows. This is for you. This is for you to tap in. And whatever pathway gets you into that feeling is good. So for me, it’s almost always, one of the first ones right there, is my core family. My wife Candace, my sons Zaim and my other son Arman. But it’s not all three of them always. Maybe just one of them comes to my mind first and I don’t judge it, I just let it be. So let’s say it’s Zaim. It’s often him because he’s such a delight. So fun, so sweet, so humorous, so much joy in just being in his presence. I feel that most of the time, sometimes it takes a shit-ton of patience, but… So I wake up, I just focus on that, and I think about him. I imagine him. I imagine a moment from the day before or something he does that’s cute or sweet or funny. And I feel it in my heart and my body. And I slow way down just to really experience that. “Thank you.” I say in my mind, “Thank you. Thank you for that. My life is so blessed, thank you.” And if you have any sort of religious or spiritual bend, you can say , “Thank you God. Thank you Allah. Thank you Creator. Thank you great mystery. Thank you spirit, thank you.” Whatever your word is for that thing that’s way beyond what we can all understand and make sense of, which may or may not be involved actively in the creation of fucking galaxies. I mean we don’t even really spend much time thinking about that, but that’ll fry your noodle. If you think about the immense vastness of space, and then within that space, a planet, and then beyond that, stars, multiple stars, multiple galaxies, hundreds of billions of trillions of gajillions. It gets pretty crazy. Whatever helps you tap in the sense of awe at that, thank that force, that thing.

Another way to access gratitude… because I’m all about accessing gratitude. I don’t want to do just an exercise and have a big long list, but feel nothing. One thing I realized that really helped me access gratitude is… have you ever hung out with someone who… maybe you spent some time with someone or you traveled to a country or something and you see people who have way less than you do. I remember I traveled to China with my brother. And we traveled to western China to the to the Xinjiang province which is not what you think of as typical China. Most of the people there are brown, they look more like Middle Eastern or… not even that. More like Mongolian or Afghani, since it borders those countries, Mongolia and Afghanistan. We traveled for weeks and it was, this is by choice, they don’t have toilets that go up off the ground, it’s kind of like a squatting toilet. We stayed in a friend-of-his’ house, where there is like 10 people living in a small house with dirt roads all around and the mom had like a cancer on her face and that was just how she was going to die. There was no hospital that she was going to go to. And I’m worried about my cell phone upgrade, right? Or anything like that or maybe you’re hanging out with someone who is in a wheelchair. And they’ve been that way for years, or for their whole life, or whatever, and you hang out with them for a couple of hours, and then you get up in there and like, “Woah, I just walked up those stairs, I can go run and dance and do whatever I want. I don’t have to even think about it. And this guy has got to think about how he’s going to get in the room, and which hotel room is he going to stay in and all that stuff. Being around people or someone who have less than we do brings that feeling to the forefront, doesn’t it? And then it fades, right when you get home. I remember when I got home back to the United States. For toilets, I was like, “This is great!” It felt like a throne. When I first got back, “This is awesome!” And then two weeks later, probably even less, ten days later, I don’t even think about it anymore. So I thought, “How do we access that?” And so I decided to pick something and just focus on it and think about it. So last week I was really thinking about being able-bodied. Having functioning limbs, arms, legs, fingers, toes, everything. All my senses are working. And I started thinking about what would it be like to be blind? And I would pick a particular thing like blindness, or the loss of my legs, or not having an arm, or whatever and I would just think about one of those for the day. On and off, not all day long, but just like, “What would it be like to be blind?” I ponder that a few times during the day. And that comparison, that contrast, gave me tremendous perspective to feel a sense of gratitude for, “Wow, look at what I can see with my eyes! I can take in color. Life is so much easier because I can see. Thank you.” My life is so blessed, and I felt it. I feel it right now as we’re talking and maybe you do too.

So these are some of the ways. And you are going to find what’s going to work for you, and you get to know because you are going to feel it. In fact, we are going to take a quick break right now, and when we get back we are going to do an exercise together. It’s going to help you tap in to this feeling even more and leave this episode with a sense of deep gratitude and appreciation for life for where you are, for everything that’s happening, even some of those challenges. And just feeling that sense of enough. Having enough, being enough, being fulfilled.

Let’s do an exercise together. For this, I highly recommend that you are somewhere where you can close your eyes and really go inwards. If you’re driving or something else that’s okay, or even at the gym or something, that’s fine too. You’ll get the most out of it though if you can really focus your attention inwards. But doing it is better than not and saying, “I’ll get back to that later,” but not really, right? Just roll with it if you’re not in that place, and you can always come back and do it again. This is something you can listen to again and again and again. This is the gift I want to give you, to be able and have this forever, so you can keep accessing this feeling in this state. Let’s do that now.

Go ahead and close your eyes, and slow down and just feel in your body, feel your breath as it goes in and out. Feel the coolness of your breath as you breathe in now. And as you breathe out feel the warmth of your breath– being heated by your body. Put your hand right over the center of your chest with your palms right over your heart. Even both hands if you want. And just focus your attention right now on your heart, as you breathe. Letting anything else go out of your mind. If it comes back just bring your attention right down, right to the center of your chest, right to your heart, and feeling your heart. This organ, this muscle that started beating long before you were born, when you were inside of your mother’s womb. The heart starts beating very early in the development of a fetus. A heart is there and beating before the brain grows. Your heart came first, and it began beating then, and it will keep beating, and as long as it beats, you live. Feeling the power of your heart, and feeling a sense of awe and wonder at this thing that just keeps going and going and going without us even having to think about it or do anything. It’s there reliably, dependably, and amazingly. The moment it stops, we’re gone. Feeling gratitude now for this. It’s your heart.

Maybe even your body. Can you feel grateful for your body, how you can move? Think about all the things that you can do. Can you walk? Can you run? Can you jump? Can you walk upstairs without thinking about it? Can you get from your bed, to the kitchen, to the bathroom without even having to give it a second thought? All the things that your body can do, the way you can use your hands and lift things and open things, and not even to mention, there are senses that you can see clearly and take in all of the world around you, that you can hear my voice right now, and the level of connection that gives you to the world. Imagine not being able to see, what would your life be like? Not being able to talk. Not being able to hear. How easy we have it, to be able to connect, and feel connected to the world around us with our sight, with our hearing.

Breathing in now, keeping your hands in your heart, still feeling your heart. What is one thing right now in your life that you could feel grateful for? Maybe it’s one of the things I mentioned, maybe it’s something totally different. What is one thing? Maybe it’s a person. Maybe it’s an opportunity. Maybe it’s an experience that you had. What is one thing you could focus on right now, that you could feel grateful for, that you could be appreciative of? Good.

Breathing in and feeling your heart and feeling that sense of appreciation, of warmth. You can even say, “Thank you. Thank you to that person. Thank you to that opportunity. Thank you for your body. Thank you. My life is so blessed, thank you.” Good.

What’s something else that you can feel grateful for if you wanted to? Good. Focus in on that. What do you see? Is it the person you think of? Is it something in your life, in your body, an opportunity, an experience? Whatever it is, hold it in your mind, and breathe it into your heart. And feeling the warmth of your hand on your heart, and feeling that sense of appreciation, that gratitude, intensify it. Let it be bigger and bigger, and stronger, and more powerful, let it get big inside of your body, big inside of your heart. Good. And then just say, “Thank you.” Or whatever the sound of gratitude is. Maybe it’s silence. I say this one a lot, “My life is so blessed, thank you, my life is so blessed.” If that feels good to you, say that now. And if you want to thank God, or your creator, or whatever helps you tap into this feeling even more, then do so. “Thank you God, my life is so blessed.” Good.

Stay in that state as long as you like, keeping your hand here as long as you like. If you like to pause this and just hang out here for a while, that’s great. And we’re going to transition now to your action step. We are not going to insert the “braaagh” action step music right now, because that’s a little jarring and abrasive, so we’re just going to transition smoothly to your action step. Your action step right now is to decide on what one gratitude practice you’re going to do starting today or tomorrow. This could be your gratitude practice for today, but maybe we’ll be starting today, later today, or tomorrow with one little thing that you’re going to do. You learn from me in this episode, or you learn from somewhere else, or wherever, but you’re going to start doing it each day and keep it short. It can be a minute, 60 seconds. Let’s just start with that. So then there’s no part of our mind that says, “I don’t have time for that.” 60 seconds. Slow down, feel, ask yourself a couple of questions. That’s all it takes. It’s just about a decision, and you can decide that right now. That is my invitation to you, that is your action step.

Thank you for being with me today. Have a fantastic Thanksgiving if you’re based here in the United States, and have a fantastic day and life of feeling grateful for who you are, what you have, for the rest of your days. Until we speak again. May you have the courage to be who you are, and to know on a deep level that your awesome. Talk to you soon.

Music Credit

All music is licensed or royalty free.

Intro:
DeepSound – Rain Clouds
(Licensed through Pond5.com)

Ask The Shrink:
Boccherini Minuet
(Licensed through Pond5.com)

Action Step:
Justin Crosby – Skrillit
(Licensed through Pond5.com)

Outro:
Lokfield – Terra’s Theme Dubstep
soundcloud.com/lokfield
(Creative Commons License)

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