Recently, I was able to speak to a group of 200+ high caliber leaders on the subject of… stress and worry.
Now… if there ever was a group of people who were tempted to be stressed and worried on a daily basis… it was these incredible people. It was a room full of leaders who all work for an incredibly innovative organization that’s navigating in an industry that is changing so fast it makes your head spin.
As we were diving into strategies to help you to beat back worry and stress with a stick… we landed on a specific concept that the group loved.
The secret weapon?
That’s right… gratitude.
It’s an exceedingly simple word… but an incredibly powerful concept.
It’s something that resonated with the group.
But more importantly… it can also be something YOU can use… today.
THE SCIENCE OF GRATITUDE:
It’s tempting to dismiss gratitude and put it in the “rainbows, butterflies and little ponies” category. But… studies have shown that you can not only cultivate gratitude… but as you do… your body starts to produce increased levels of serotonin and dopamine. These cellular superheroes are your body’s natural “Antidepressant.” Plus, serotonin and dopamine have also been shown to increase your ability to remember information and focus.
But wait… there’s more!
Other studies have shown that the longer you cultivate gratitude… the more impact it has.
In one specific example, a study published in the “American Psychologist” uncovered that if participants in the study journaled three good things each day for a week, they would be happier and less depressed.
You might be saying, “Sure. I can buy that.” But if you’re like me, you might also be saying, “But does it last?”
Check this out.
This specific study continued on and found that if participants continued to look for three good things a day… for a month, three-months and six-months… they continued to be happier and less depressed!
But it keeps going!
The longer the participant continued recording the “good stuff” and keeping track of what they were grateful for… the longer they stayed more happy and less depressed. Even when the group stopped the daily exercise, researchers found that the “Gratitude Group” stayed happier and less depressed than the “Treatment group.”
Researchers found that the “Gratitude Group” had trained their brains to look for things to be grateful for and that started to change the way they looked at the world. So this little exercise of writing down three good things… changed them on the inside (increased levels of dopamine and serotonin) and changed them on the outside (their view of the world).
How cool is that?
Even better… I’ve seen this play out time and time again!
Personally… as many of you know… I’m a “worrier-in-recovery.” To be honest… I grew up a black-belt-level worrier.
But this “GRATITUDE LIST” exercise is now a part of my daily regimen. And it’s made all the difference!
- Because it’s simple.
- Because it’s quick.
- Because it helps me to think more creatively and focus.
- Because I can also work it into my daily conversation with my family, friends or biz partners.
Now, I will say that what tends to work best for me is to write these things down in a journal each morning (and even go beyond three some days)… but even if I can’t get to the writing… I do bring it up as I’m talking with people.
Yeah… I’ve got to get my “3″ daily.
So here it is: The 30-Day Gratitude Challenge
Challenge yourself to think of 3 to 5 things that you are grateful for every day.
They don’t have to be HUGE things like trips to Paris or the Super Bowl. And they don’t have to be incredibly deep either. They can be super simple things like a really good cup of coffee… a snort-level laugh with friends… or a great conversation with your kid.
A key is that it’s specific.
You can’t just say… “I’m grateful for my family, my friends and my dog.”
You need to think about something specific. Like… “I’m grateful for the way Ralphie always wants to play fetch and is quick to remind me that he’s willing to offer his goofy levels of love… no matter what.”
That’s it. Short. Simple.
Just three bullet points. (You… of course… can write more if you want to. But you don’t have to.)
Three things… daily.
See what happens when you do it for 30 days.
See how you feel.
There’s a very good chance that at the end of the 30 days… you will have started to train your brain to look for the “good stuff.” And when you look for the good stuff… science says you start to pump your body full of the “good stuff.”
Plus, your brain will begin to get in the habit of looking for more good stuff… which will not only help you to feel gosh-darn happier… but it will also have a positive effect on your ability to perform, stay focused and remember stuff.
And hey… who doesn’t want more of that?
Are you in?
If so… leave a comment and let the world know about something specific you’re grateful for today.
And hey, why not share this with a friend, a family member or a co-worker and agree to take the challenge together?
Just see what it does!
Keep bringing your awesome,