All of a sudden my email inbox was filled with experts telling me to “be more grateful” – and I haven’t always felt like I had a ton to be grateful about!
Facebook friends invite us to participate in “Gratitude Challenges” – who has time for that?!
And our Instagram feeds are full of curated pics followed by hashtags like #grateful, #blessed, or #givethanks – ?
Uuugggghhhhhhhh….. it’s all so much pressure, isn’t it?
I mean, when we’re going a million miles a minute, feeling like we’re perpetually herding cats (or children with ADHD), and dealing with all the things that ADHD imposes on our families, one of the last things we have time for is phony gratefulness.
And that’s often how “scheduled” gratitude feels to me – phony. Can you relate?
And yet, we hands-down know that living with a grateful mindset results in happier people.
That’s not just an anecdote – it’s actual science. People who have a practice of gratitude and have cultivated habits that allow them to more frequently access an attitude of gratitude (rhyme not intended), experience more joy and happiness than people who don’t.
So what’s a busy mom or dad to do when life is tough and adding some sort of gratitude practice on top of your already full plate seems impossible?
Today I’m going to share a little secret about a gratitude practice that has the ability to truly change your perspective on life’s most mundane activities.
It’s so simple that you might not believe that it will help you feel more grateful and alive. Try anyway.
It takes ZERO extra time. It takes ZERO extra effort. And it can result in INFINITE benefits when practiced regularly.
Let me walk you through it:
Every day I – like you – have a long “to do” list – the things I HAVE to do in order to keep the wheels on our family bus. Today, for example, I HAVE TO:
- Write this blog post
- Meet with two coaching clients
- Hold Office Hours for my Transformational clients
- Jog on the treadmill
- Prep dinner for my family
- Pick up my daughter from after school care and
- Pick up milk and breakfast for tomorrow on my way home
This doesn’t include all the mundane daily “have tos” that I don’t write down – like clean the kitchen after dinner, give the kids baths and brush their teeth, and do book and bed routine.
Parenting is an overwhelming, never ending job!
As days go on, my list of “have to’s” get longer and longer. Every time I think about a new item on the list as a “have to,” the list takes on more and more weight.
So here’s my secret – my simple shift… Instead of framing my “to-do’s” as things I HAVE TO do, I simply change the words I use to describe them. I begin to say that they are things I GET TO do.
Today, for example, I GET to pick my daughter up from after school care; I GET to work out.
When I say that I “get” to do something, it implies that one day perhaps I won’t have the same privilege. My daughter will get older, drive, and I won’t have to pick her up. I may injure myself and not be able to work out.
Simply using a new word shifts the meaning dramatically.
Try it. Just for a day.
I am willing to bet that when you do you will feel lighter. Your feelings about your to-do list will be more positive. You will automatically be reminded of little reasons you are actually lucky to be able to do much of your daily “stuff.”
You will get closer to an attitude of gratitude without taking even a second out of your already jam-packed day. And better yet, it’s not phony or forced.
It’s the little shifts that can make the biggest difference. For us, and our children alike.
If you’re ready for to take your gratitude to the next level, one of my favorite gratitude gurus is Robert A. Emmons. Here is a link to one of my favorite guides to creating a foundation for gratitude.
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