Welcome to the R.J.O. Wellness blog. Thank you for being here today. I am, Rachel Joy Olsen, host of the Rockin’ Wellness Podcast, of which this blog is the transcript for the 22nd episode, live on October 12th. I am the author of A Beginner’s Guide To Going Meatless, Heath and Wellness Coach and Yoga Instructor. Many people are suffering with poor health and a lack of wellness. It is my mission, with this podcast, through the teachings of yoga, the use of essential oils, whole food nutrition and encouraging an active lifestyle to help you stop hating what you see in the mirror, discover your deepest desires and love yourself unapologetically.
In this blog, you will learn how to use gratitude to transform and get what you want in life. The benefits of practicing gratitude are endless. People who regularly practice gratitude by taking time to notice and reflect upon the things they’re thankful for experience more positive emotions, feel more alive, sleep better, express more compassion and kindness, and even have stronger immune systems. And gratitude doesn’t need to be reserved only for momentous occasions. You might express gratitude after receiving a promotion at work, but you may also be thankful for something as simple as a delicious meal that was made for you by a loved one.
According to the law of attraction, which governs all the energy in the Universe, like attracts like. You’ve probably heard the statement, “where your attention goes, grows.” This means that whatever you focus on, whether it be positive or negative is what you will see more of in your life.
For example, if you are consistently complaining about your job, worrying that you don’t have enough money, wondering why you can’t find the perfect partner, or thinking that you are always sick, more of these negative things will show up in your life to prove to you that your thoughts and beliefs are right.
On the other hand, if you focus your attention on positive thoughts and beliefs such as, “I love my job,” “I feel energized and healthy today,” “I am safe and my bills are always taken care of,” “I know the right partner is out there for me,” the law of attraction says you must attract more of these things in your life.
I had a mentor put it to me this way once. Think of the universe as an online shopping website. You make your choice of what to buy and then click buy now. Does it ask you over and over again, “are you sure this is what you want? Are you completely sure this is exactly what you want? No! You hit the purchase button and that’s it. Your order is already sent through the world wide web and off to be sent out to you. Well, the energy of the universe works in the same way. If you think to yourself, “I hate my job,” the universe isn’t going to ask, “are you sure you hate your job? Are you sure you want negative experiences at work?” What you ask for and spend you time thinking about is what you will see show up in your life.
In her book, The Magic, Rhonda Byrne, says that the power of gratitude has been preached and practiced for thousands and thousands of years. If you look back to some of the earliest recordings of humankind you will see that the practice of gratitude has been passed on through centuries from one civilization and culture to the next. For example:
Muhammad said, “gratitude for the abundance you’ve received is the best assurance that the abundance will continue.”
Buddha said, “you have no cause for anything but gratitude and joy.”
Lao Tzu said, “if you rejoice in the way things are, the whole world will belong to you.”
Krishna said, “whatever he is offered he accepts with joy.”
King David spoke of giving thanks to the whole world, for everything between the heavens and the earth.
Jesus said thank you before he performed each miracle.
Tecumseh, a Shawnee Native American Leader said, “When you arise in the morning, give thanks for the morning light, for your life and strength. Give thanks for your food and the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, that fault lies within yourself.”
History is full of famous figures who practised gratitude, such as Gandhi, Mother Teresa, the Dalai Lama and Albert Einstein, whose achievements put them amongst the greatest human beings who have ever lived.
No matter who you are or where you are in your life practicing gratitude will transform your entire life. Gratitude can turn your relationships from challenging and frustrating to meaningful and inspiring. Gratitude can make you more successful and free. It will increase your health and bring you a level of happiness beyond what you could ever imagine. Whatever you want, you can use gratitude to bring it into your life.
Think about just saying the words, “I hate my job,” “I hate my body,” “I’m too poor to live the life I want.” The energy is heavy and it doesn’t feel good. By simply changing the words, “I do my best to love my job each day and do the best I can while I am there.” “I love my body because it gives me the opportunity to do the things that I love.” “I have enough money to feel safe and I know more abundance is on its way.” Does’t that feel much better? It’s all in the words you use and the feelings you illicit that make all the difference in the world.
Gratitude is a feeling. So the goal is to feel gratitude as much as you can because it’s the feeling that brings what you want, or don’t want, into your life.
Much research has been shown that focusing on grateful feelings by keeping a gratitude journal, which means regularly writing brief reflections on moments for which you’re thankful for, can significantly increase well-being and overall life satisfaction.
You might be thinking how can I do this? Or, I do this for awhile but then I stop doing it because I don’t see the results right away.
The trick is to deliberately think and say thank you as much as you possibly can through your day. Thank the universe for everything you have in your life. The more you think and say thank you, the more gratitude you will feel. The more gratitude you think and feel, the more abundance you receive in your life.
The best way to reap the benefits of gratitude is to notice new things you’re grateful for every day. Gratitude journaling works because it slowly changes the way you perceive situations by adjusting what you focus on. While you might always be thankful for your great family, just writing, “I’m grateful for my family” over and over won’t keep you on alert for specific moments of gratitude. Be specific by writing “today my husband gave me a shoulder rub when he knew I was really stressed” or “my sister invited me over for dinner so I didn’t have to cook after a long day.” Stay present and open to the world around so you can deeply enhance your gratitude practice. Make a game out of noticing new things each day.
Being excited about the benefits of gratitude can be a great thing because it gives you the kick you need to start making changes. When you want to achieve a goal, using the technique of mental contrasting, being optimistic about the benefits of a new habit while also being realistic about how difficult building the habit may be, will result in you exerting more effort. Recognize and plan for the obstacles that may get in the way. For instance, if you tend to be exhausted at night, accept that it might not be the best time to focus for a few extra minutes and schedule your gratitude in the morning instead.
Always come up with new ways to stay grateful. You may get bored of journaling so perhaps make a video of yourself reciting and feeling the things you’re thankful for. Maybe send that note to someone you are grateful for; this may help them with their gratitude list. Keep your gratitude feelings fresh as it makes the moment more meaningful and keeps you on the lookout for more.
Your relationships with others is one of the greatest determinants of your happiness. So it makes sense to think of other people as you build your gratitude list. Researchers show that focusing your gratitude on people for whom you’re thankful for, rather than on circumstances or material items, will enhance the benefits you experience from doing these gratitude exercises.
Even times of pain and suffering can refine and deepen gratefulness if you allow these experiences to show you not to take things for granted. Our national holiday of gratitude, Thanksgiving, was born and grew out of hard times. The first Thanksgiving took place after nearly half the pilgrims died from a rough winter and year. It became a national holiday in 1863 in the middle of the Civil War and was moved to its current date in the 1930s following the Depression.
Why? Well, when times are good, people take prosperity for granted and begin to believe that they are invulnerable. In times of uncertainty, though, people realize how powerless they are to control their own destiny. If you begin to see that everything you have, everything you have counted on, may be taken away, it becomes much harder to take it for granted.
Although we often think of time of crisis as negative experiences we’d rather not remember or re-live, they can make you more grateful. Research says gratitude also help you cope with crisis. Consciously cultivating an attitude of gratitude builds up a sort of psychological immune system that can cushion you when you fall. There is scientific evidence that grateful people are more resilient to stress, whether minor everyday hassles or major personal upheavals.
Think of the worst times in your life, your sorrows, your losses, your sadness—and then remember that here you are, able to remember them, that you made it through the worst times of your life, you got through the trauma, you got through the trial, you endured the temptation, you survived the bad relationship, you’re making your way out of the dark. Remember the bad things, then look to see where you are now. Many of the most successful people have a trial and tribulations to success story to tell. It’s these experiences that usually define who you are and give you the experience, and resilience, you need to grow into something better.
For example, many years ago I was going through a tough time financially. I was over $100,000 in debt coming out of taking my masters degree, losing my business and a long-term relationship. I didn’t think things could get any worse and I sure didn’t think things would get any better.
While I was in that place of pain and tough times, all I seemed to be able to think of was, “why is this happening to me?” My coach at the time said, “This is happening to you for a reason. You might not know what that reason is now but you need to go through it. Do what you need to do and be grateful for the things you do have in your life and the opportunities you have to turn this around.” He was so right!
I took the steps I needed to get through that experience and now looking back, I am debt free, have money in the bank, I’m in a great relationship, work with amazing people I would have never met before and I am rebuilding my business to something bigger and better. I would not be the person I am today if I wouldn’t have gone through that and every other negative experience I’ve had in my life. Yes, sometimes I wish those things did’t need to happen but I’m grateful they did as it was the only way to help me grow and step into a smarter, happier, more successful person.
Remember, like any habit, it’s important to practice gratitude every day and as much as you can through the day. John F. Kennedy once said, “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter the words, but to live by them.” Practice gratitude each day and step into the feelings so you can embrace the positive rewards that come your way.
Here are a few ways to make gratitude a part of daily life:
- Keep a gratitude journal and add to it everyday. Just keep it by your bed and every night, and every morning jot one or two new things down that you are grateful for. It’s a nice positive way to start and end your day.
- Tell someone you love them and how much you appreciate them. People don’t always know how much you care unless you tell, and more specifically, show them. Do something nice for someone each day. One of my mentors suggests we do wealth Wednesday. Basically, it’s a day where you pay it forward by doing something nice for someone without expecting anything in return. All you will do is recognize how grateful you are for being able to do that for someone and bask in those joyful feelings.
- Notice the beauty in nature each day. Nature is very healing. Even just a few minutes a day will have you feeling grateful for being surrounded by such magic and beauty.
- Nurture the friendships you have, good friends don’t come along every day. In our world we sometimes take people for granted. Take the time to slow down and connect with your loved ones much as you can.
- Smile more often. Just the simple act of smiling will illicit feelings of gratitude and joy.
- Watch inspiring videos that will remind you of the good in the world. Stay off of social media, or the negative posts on social media and instead read or watch positive uplifting stories of people doing good in the world.
- Include an act of kindness in your life each day. This doesn’t have to be a huge task. Something simple as helping an elderly person get on the bus will bring gratitude and joy to your life and the to the person you help.
- Avoid negative media and movies with destructive content.
- Call your mom, dad and loved ones more often. Take the time to connect and say hi to the people you love.
- Cook meals with love, think of the people you will feed. People often wonder why homemade meals taste better than eating out. If the food is made with love that energy can be felt by the people who enjoy the meal. I love to cook and while I prepare the meal, I often think of the people who will be enjoying it and how happy it will make them.
- Volunteer for organizations that help others.
- Don’t gossip or speak badly about anyone. Getting caught up in gossip is very low energy and will not help in your quest for gratitude, love and joy.
- Spend quality time with your kids, your lover, and other loved ones.
- Remember to compliment your friends and family when they look good or accomplish something they’re proud of.
- Write a card to someone you haven’t seen in a while and tell them something nice.
- Add to your gratitude list daily, at least one more thing each day.
- When you think a negative thought, turn it around and see the positive side of the situation.
- Commit to one day a week when you won’t complain about anything.
- Take note when people do a good job and give recognition when it’s due at work.
- Reward effort, if someone does something nice for you, do something nice for them.
- Meditate with your gratitude list, giving thanks for all your good fortune.
- Live mindfully, not worrying about the past or future. Stay in the present moment. When you do, you will have less stress and tension and be able to recognize the good things in your life.
- Thank the people who serve you in the community — the shopkeeper, the bus drivers, etc.
- Say thank you for the little things your loved ones do for you, things you normally take for granted.
- Post quotes and images that remind you to be grateful around your house.
- Call into an elderly neighbour and say thank you for their presence in your life.
- Call your grandparents and tell them you love them.
- Embrace challenges and turn them into opportunities to grow.
- Send love to your enemies or people you dislike or forgive some who hurt you in the past. The only person that is hurt by holding a grudge us the person holding the grudge. Let it go, move on and wish that person love and blessings in their life. Everyone is doing the best they can with what they have.
- Be thankful when you learn something new and to expand on this take time to learn new things. This will keep you fresh and allow you be grateful for new opportunities.
- When you fail at something or make a mistake, see the growth in opportunity and lessons learned.
- Help your friends see the positive side to life. Do your best to be the positive influence and role model in people’s lives. Like attracts like. If you want good people in your life, be a good person.
- When times are bad, focus on your friends and loved ones who are at your side and will be there for you no matter what.
- When time is good, notice and help others. Share your good fortune and serve others when you can.
- Make a gratitude collage, cut out pictures of all the things that you are grateful for so you can visually see them each day. This is very similar to a vision board. When you consistently focus on the things you’re grateful for and want for your life, it’s more likely to come into your life.
- Make gratitude a part of family life, share it with each other during meal time.
- Practice gratitude at the same time every day to make it a habit.
- Focus on your strengths and take the time to learn how to grow into the person you desire.
- Share the benefits of gratitude with family and friends.
- Share gratitude each day by posting what you’re grateful for on social media platforms; allowing your positive energy to be shared with the world.
- Be the change you want to see in the world by making gratitude a part of each day. If we all practice gratitude more regularly, the world will be a better place.
I encourage you now to get out a journal and write down 10 things you’re grateful for. Write them down so you can see them each day and take time to grow that list often. Then, in times of distress or if you’re feeling down, you can go back to this list, fill your mind with gratitude to change your thoughts and feelings from a negative to positive state of being. You have the power to choose how you want to feel and how you want to live your life. There’s no time like the present.
So until next time my friends, stay grateful and keep rockin’ your wellness.
Rachel Joy Olsen, BSc., MBA
Coach with RJOWellness Coaching & Academy
The Magic – Rhonda Byrne.