Positive Psychology Intervention #4: Appreciation & Gratitude
There is so much research and so many sayings, quotes and memes, behind the benefits of being a person who has appreciation and gratitude. It is something that we’re exposed to constantly on TV, Facebook, Instagram, hashtags and buzz words. In this intervention we’re going to seek to bring the fads and fun stuff into our everyday lives.
We will be sharing some practical tools for you to practice appreciation and gratitude, to yourself, and to your client if you are a transformational coach.
Gratitude is in fact appreciation, and thanks for what an individual may receive throughout their life, tangible or intangible.
What you appreciate, appreciates you.
There are many ways we can express gratitude: telling someone; writing a letter; noticing and experiencing moments of gratitude. One way you can do this is to share appreciation and gratitude with your significant other.
When sharing this, it is important to note that, this is not a random “I’m grateful for the sun” “I’m grateful for…something about the world” it’s gratitude about THEM, specifically them. So we feel the gratitude, express the gratitude and share the gratitude with them so they get the benefit of feeling it.
Some people may experience resistance with this, they may not want to hear it, they may feel negative towards it, it may take some practice.
If it really doesn’t work for a person to be on the receiving end of this, it’s ok, do something else.
When done daily with our significant other or your loved ones, it keeps bringing us back, to what is good, so we don’t fall into the habitual/automatic of being [together] for a long time. It is very important to keep relationships alive and this is one of the ways we can do that.
Share with someone you are closest to:
- “I am grateful for YOU today because…” (With the animation, can you do something funny and random?)
- “One of the highlights of my day today was….”
This intervention doesn’t necessarily suit all types of clients as some people can get anxious when asked to express gratitude.
These are some important points to note about gratitude:
- The more grateful you feel for something, the more gratitude you’ll likely get
E.g. If you’re passing your 2-year anniversary of your marriage and you take time to express what you appreciate about them then you will have a happier marriage with your spouse.
- Gratitude needs to be heartfelt
As Positive Psychology researcher Barbara Fredrickson says, “in order for gratitude to have full effect, it must be heartfelt” over a long-term period.
- Gratitude promotes savouring
To slow down and experience something to the maximum potential that you can creates more extensive neural networks and promotes long-term causational change.
- Gratitude promotes self-worth and self-esteem
When we’re grateful for the ways others have helped us (or we have helped them), we actually feel better — more confident and capable — about ourselves, as a result.
- Gratitude helps you cope with stress and trauma
About 25% of the population are genetically predisposed towards depression after bouts of high stress. Gratitude can be a handy tool for managing difficult and stressful times with resilience, helping reduce pathology as a result.
- Grateful people tend to be good people
Gratitude promotes moral behaviours, such as: helping others; giving more generously; volunteering; being fair and compassionate; and generally caring more about others’ welfare. It also helps to be less materialistic!
- Gratitude strengthens relationships
People who practice gratitude tend to have more harmonious relationships, both personally and professionally. Having a larger, varied network of engaged relationships also boosts resilience and success.
- Grateful people are less likely to compare others
Practicing gratitude means the participator will find it easier to appreciate everyone — including themselves — on their own merits!
- Gratitude reduces negativity
Helping your clients get what they want can make them happy in the short term, however, helping your client to appreciate what they have can boost their happiness in the long term!
As you continue watching this video, you will discover more support for how to make gratitude a habit. Let me share a quick and simple step-by-step guide on how to practice gratitude, and we will end the video with how to coach gratitude with your clients.
Here’s a suggestion for how to boost appreciation and get more of what you want:
- Every night before bed, meditate on Three Good Things that happened that day:
Three (or more) good things that happened and what you appreciate about them Include how you helped contribute (even if only to stop and notice them — as this is important).
- Savour the experience — this is a neuroplasticity activity that will increase connections in the brain, creating an even higher level of appreciation
For instance, think about what a beautiful summer evening at the beach looks; feels; sounds; smells, and tastes like.
Looks: An array of colours as the sun sets upon the horizon, waves crashing against the shore, people sharing fun, birds flocking towards home
Feels: Like sunshine bearing down on you, sand underneath your toes, water on your skin, bushes brushing your legs as you run back to the car
Sounds: Seagulls, clinks of glasses and cutlery at a seashore restaurant, people laughing, music playing from portable speakers
Smells: Freshly mown grass, salt on a sea breeze
Tastes: Mango and coconut
It only takes a few minutes.
This is how taking a few moments to experience and express gratitude at any point can significantly improve our mentality, our day and our lives.
Another way of experiencing and expressing gratitude and appreciation is to write a letter to someone you have not yet fully expressed gratitude to.
7 Things You Can Do To Realize These Benefits
- Think about someone for whom you are grateful
- Meditate on gratitude
- Practice saying “Thank you” in a real and meaningful way
- If religious, pray about your gratitude, or find and use specific prayers of gratitude
- Recall a negative event and by doing this you appreciate your current situation
- Be mindful of your five senses and how each one enhances your life differently?
- Focus on the good that others have done for you
Remember: Actions lead to gratitude:
Smile; say “Thank you”; write gratitude letters. Be a “grateful grazer”, always on the lookout for opportunities to feel grateful as much as possible. Try to give up something so you can be aware of your appreciation of whatever that may be.
Lastly, think about what your life would be like if a specific positive event had not happened. Write down all of the decisions and events that would have been different in your life.
Think of things like: what if you didn’t meet your spouse? What if you didn’t get the dream job you have now? What if you hadn’t stopped a particular bad habit?
Thank you for reading this Positive Psychology Intervention series, if you want to know more about it, don’t hesitate to send me an enquiry.
I’ll see you next practical tips about “Journaling Gratitude”.