Appreciate Your Loved Ones with A Gratitude Chain™ - Part II
FEBRUARY 12, 2008David J. Pollay, HappyNews ColumnistThe second in a three-part series on building gratitude in your life.Last week I told you that when you increase your gratitude in life, you become happier and more successful. And I shared with you that one way to amplify your gratitude is to build Gratitude Chains™. You cultivate three things in the process of building a Gratitude Chain™: (1) Awareness of what and for whom you are grateful, (2) Curiosity about what they do that makes you grateful, or what makes something you value possible, and (3) Memory of what is good about these individuals or things by engaging in gratitude practices. And when you link together your Gratitude Chains™, you experience a powerful appreciation of the important people and things in your life. So let’s look at a Gratitude Chain™ applied to your personal life. You can start with your spouse, your boyfriend or girlfriend, or a friend. If you do not fully appreciate what they do and how they do it every day, step into their world. Here’s an example of a Gratitude Chain™ I created for my wife Dawn. Step 1: Cultivate AwarenessMy wife Dawn drives our daughters, Eliana (5) and Ariela (4), thirty-forty minutes each way to school, Monday through Friday. She often has to make two round-trips because the girls get out of school at different times. My girls receive the education we want for them because Dawn makes the drive every day. I did not truly experience gratitude for what she does until I made the trip a number of times myself. I became aware. I also did not fully understand the demands of a mother’s role until I spent entire days, morning until bedtime, with the girls. My gratitude increased when I realized how much love, patience, and stamina Dawn shows every day. In fact, I have an appreciation for all moms. I became aware.Step 2: Cultivate CuriosityI asked Dawn how she manages every morning to bathe, dress, feed, brush hair, put on sunscreen, make lunches, fill backpacks, and put on shoes for the girls so quickly. I wanted to know her secret (because truthfully, it takes me twice as long to do the same thing). I asked about her system for accomplishing everything. I learned the steps, but more importantly, I learned how much love, care and thought Dawn puts into each day with the girls. I became curious.Step 3: Cultivate MemoryEvery morning when I wake up I start my day by reciting everything I am grateful for, and Dawn is at the top of my list. My morning gratitude ritual helps me keep fresh in my mind all that Dawn does for our family each day. And I look for opportunities to recognize Dawn, big and small. One of my practices is to write her a note each day. My notes congratulate or thank her. And they always say that I love her. I commit my gratitude to memory by practicing gratitude everyday. I remember.Link Your Gratitude Chains™ TogetherGratitude Chains™ help to embed in your subconscious positive thoughts and feelings about who and what you care about; they keep your mind focused on recognizing everyone and everything important to you. And the more Gratitude Chains™ you have, the more you have the opportunity to influence your happiness.
What if you created a Gratitude Chain™ every week? Could you imagine?! You would have at least fifty-two people or things in your life that would make you feel grateful.
David J. Pollay is a syndicated columnist with North Star Writers Group, creator and host of “The Happiness Answer™” television program, an internationally sought after speaker and seminar leader, and the author of “Beware of Garbage Trucks!™ - The Law of the Garbage Truck™.” Mr. Pollay is the founder and president of TheMomentumProject.com, a strengths-based training and consulting organization with offices in Delray Beach, Florida and Washington, D.C. Mr. Pollay is also the associate executive director of the International Positive Psychology Association (IPPA). Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org