Meraki's last event, Gratitude, allowed me to come back to what I have always known but often fail- incorporating gratitude in my life on a regular basis can change so many things on all levels....personally, professionally, spiritually. Gratitude has the power to change my relationships with every single person in my life. Focusing on gratitude allows me to be a healthier person both physically & emotionally. Research tells us that grateful people have an increase in their overall level of happiness & well being. They make friends easier. They exercise more regularly and have more frequent check ups with their doctors. Grateful people are less likely to seek revenge against others and are more likely to be sensitive & empathetic. People who incorporate gratitude into their lives have an enhanced self esteem and show an increase in mental strength. Grateful people have an advantage in overcoming trauma and enhanced resilience helping them to bounce back from highly stressful situations.
Sounds like a no brainer, right? With all of these benefits, doesn't it seem like something we would all intentionally be doing? But we don't. Why?
It's sort of like the whole peace thing we talked about. Everyone wants it. No one would turn it down. We all see the value in it but actually incorporating it into our lives is another ball game. Life gets the best of us. We get caught up in the demands and busy pace of our agendas and we do whatever it takes to get from point A to point B. For some of us, life has handed us some really tough circumstances. Feeling grateful can feel disingenuous and forced. Sometimes it feels like if we focus on being grateful, we are dismissing all of the things that hurt us or are unfair in our lives. But after studying gratitude for many years now, I have come to realize that the more I focus on the positive and the things that are working in my favor, the more those things show up in my life. In fact only when I set my intention on the positive do I have the head and heart to embrace it and encourage it to happen. I attract the energy I put out. So if I want to increase the happy things, I have to focus on the happy things. It's a simple law of attraction. This is what I know....I believe with my whole heart that gratitude has been the most powerful weapon I have had in calming the storms that have happened throughout the course of my life. Loss, grief, infertility, financial burden, workplace drama, physical illness, depression & anxiety along with the every day stresses of life- I have only been able to overcome the dark times because I have allowed gratitude to have a seat at the table.
There are many things you can do to incorporate gratitude- journals, meditations, gratitude inventories, visits, etc. But today I want to share with you the simplest way I have been able to live a more grateful life. It's called The Get To Challenge....
Several years ago a friend of mine gave me a book called God Never Blinks by Regina Brett. The book contains 50 short but insightful life lessons that cover a wide range of topics that subtly challenge you to take a look at your life from a new perspective. I don't remember most of them but there was one story that I think about almost daily called The Get To Challenge.
The story tells of a man who changed 1 simple phrase, 2 little words in his vocabulary and completely shifted his perspective and approach on life. The man committed to never saying "have to" again & replaced this with "get to." That's it. That's the entire plan. No matter what you are talking about, "get to" can change your approach to anything & everything that comes your way. Instead of "I have to go to work today" it is "I get to go to work today." When you say "I have to pick my kids up from practice" it is "I get to pick my kids up today." Try it out for a second. Take anything you have to do right now or in the near future and replace it with "get to" and I think you will quickly see how it changes everything. Saying "get to" reminds us that we do in fact have so many privileges & blessings in our lives. I have to clean my house today...but I get to clean a house that is mine, and is comfortable & protects my family and is in a good neighborhood. Physically I am healthy enough to move & lift and have the energy to clean. I have time to clean. I have a job that allows me the weekends off so I am able to manage my house. All of a sudden, cleaning my house feels like a privilege and I think about those who would kill to have the space & time that I do. The Get To Challenge has changed my life. It is still a work in progress for me. I catch myself all the time quickly shifting my words. But it is so effective in daily reminding me of the wonderful things I have around me. The more people I tell about my Get To commitment, the more accountability I have. The Get To movement is not difficult, it doesn't align with any one philosophy or religion. It doesn't require any materials or resources. It's something you can do daily and the more you practice the more natural it becomes.
So this is our Meraki challenge to you this week...what do you Get To do?