This is one of the most trying times I can remember, from the onslaught of natural disasters to random acts of violence. Even when we are not directly affected, we can’t help but feel the pain and fear.
The stress often creeps up on us a little at a time so it begins to feel like the “new normal.” Do you know what I mean? This constant state of anxiety throws us out of balance. It takes its toll on our well being, affecting our health, relationships and how we perform at work.
To combat this danger, it’s wise to start taking responsibility for what we can control, like eating well, getting enough sleep and staying physically active. Some people benefit from talking about their feelings and some prefer to reach out and help others.
And then there’s expressing gratitude. I often remember the advice from peak performance expert Tony Robbins: “When you are grateful, fear disappears and abundance appears.” Both emotions cannot exist at the same time.
Below are seven simple strategies that are guaranteed to raise your spirits and lower your stress. Choose one for each day of the week and then repeat.
- Send a hand-written, thank you note to someone who matters to you
- Write in a gratitude journal, at the end or beginning of your day. Make a brief list of what you are grateful for that day and include at least one unique entry to program yourself to become more aware of the good things in your life.
- If challenging relationships are adding to your stress, refrain from criticism (what you think, as well as what you say) for one week. Instead, focus on the qualities you most appreciate about that person–even if it’s just that they teach you to be more patient. You’ll begin to notice that the negative energy will shift and the relationship will be more positive and productive.
- Use gratitude to turbocharge your affirmations as you pursue goals. Start with, “I am so happy and thankful now that…”
- On your smart phone, set a daily “Three Good Things” alarm to go off at the end of the day. Use an app like Notes to write down those three things, like catching up with a close friend or completing a challenging project at work. We’re much more likely to remember the things that don’t go right, so this will help you savor the good experiences.
- Make a point of expressing genuine appreciation–not just a cursory “thank you”–to at least one person who serves you. It might be the barista at your favorite coffee shop or the new intern at work who is trying her best.
- Express thanks to others through social media, by posting a comment on Facebook or writing a recommendation on their LinkedIn profile. Testimonials go both ways. If you would like to make it easier for those to write recommendations for you, check out my Testimonial Writing Service. Looking for a unique, memorable gift for clients and colleagues? Consider buying them gift certificates so they can capitalize on the power of testimonials.
What is your favorite gratitude practice? Share it here!