July 1, 2020

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    Our executive coach, Louise Otton, has been teaching us about the importance of developing a gratitude practice.

    This topic is being talked about a lot as it is one of the most accessible self-help tools that you can use to bring your mind into a place of positivity, with a sense of calm, when life feels chaotic.

    To find out more about the benefits of this practice, read her blog “4 benefits of practicing gratitude.

    But how do you cultivate a practice of gratitude?

    Louise explains, “If you have never done this before, start by building small moments of gratitude into your daily life. We are so focused on what we haven’t got, or what goes wrong, or things we can’t control that are much bigger than ourselves, that by bringing our thinking to gratitude, we reverse the impact of any negativity and helps us appreciate what we do have and the people around us.”

    Here are 3 simple ways you can build gratitude into your everyday life:

    1. Notice and write down three things you are grateful for each day.

    This can be in a journal, on a note pad or I encourage clients to keep a gratitude pot. Pop a post-it note into a jar each day with your three things, then at the end of the week look back at all that you have appreciated during the week for a boost of positivity! Notice how it makes you feel?

    2. Write a thank you letter to someone close to you to express your gratitude for something they have done.

    This can feel a little awkward at first, but it feels amazing when you do it and then revel in the feedback, when they tell you how it made them feel too. The benefits work both ways. Even if you don’t give them the letter, the effects of thinking and writing about what you are grateful for, can create a mindset shift of improved optimism.

    3. Random acts of kindness.

    Can you think of how you can do something kind and helpful for someone else today? This doesn’t have to cost money or take up lots of time, just something small that will bring a smile to that person’s face. Then notice how it makes you feel. Think about how you can do more of these small acts of kindness over a week.

    Positive emotions and kindness are contagious. By being grateful and showing appreciation to others you will be spreading positive emotions, releasing oxytocin (sometimes known as the “trust” or “cuddle” hormone) which creates a greater sense of empathy towards the other person. Within a team, this can become really powerful. Showing genuine appreciation and gratitude for one another, in an authentic way, creates more trust and openness between team members.

    The benefits of gratitude practice take time. Lou suggests that you practice gratitude journaling for a week. Some studies suggest that after a week you may want to stop as the benefits level off, whereas other studies suggest the effect snowballs. Just notice what works for you and which kind of gratitude practice feels most comfortable. The key here is to keep it simple and enjoyable, don’t make it a chore.

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