gratitude - her sunday ritual
Your Sunday Ritual:
The Real Giving Thanks
For those of us in Canada, today is Canadian thanksgiving. Which really is the holiday for gratitude. I’m sure your inboxes and feeds have already been bombarded with ‘be grateful’ on this day messages. Perhaps you are returning from family dinner where, if you are like my family there is the necessary, well intentioned but contrived ‘giving thanks’ around pumpkin pie. Nothing wrong with this, I honestly love this about our thanksgiving gathering. However, I wanted to do things a bit differently today.
How to practice gratitude authentically:
Instead of providing a ritual this am with how you can show thanks for others you are with, etc., I wanted to focus on the feeling of being grateful quietly and for yourself, only if you are up for it.
The benefit and goal of practicing gratitude is how it can make you feel lighter and expand the positive thinking mindset, with great scientific evidence that this is the key to happiness. However, when we feel obligated to give thanks (although I force Chris, my boyfriend to almost every night before we go to sleep hehe) it makes it a gratitude ‘to-do.’ Making it another obligation, another have-to which sucks the fun out of why we do it in the first place.
How to make the most of your gratitude in 4 steps.
Try to practice gratitude with free-flow curiosity, when and if you are up for it. This will allow you to be grateful for gratitude on its own, instead of making it a burden or another ‘to-do.’ As Robert Emmons says; ‘“Practicing gratitude becomes a burden rather than a blessing, making life heavier rather than lighter.”
Do it for yourself. My boyfriend is going to give me a hard time about this one BUT its important to do this for yourself. Research has shown giving thanks under social pressure (...do I count as social pressure when i try to get him to share what he’s grateful for as pillow talk?) does not have the same effects on feeling happier that other gratitude research suggests. The reason? According to psychologists Sonja Lyubomirsky and Ken Sheldon suggest that external pressures can undermine “self-determined motivation.” In other words, the best rituals and practices around gratitude are ones we choose ourselves. This applies to other rituals as well. Oh shucks, is this how you feel when I send you a weekly ritual to do? I hope not! My goal with her sunday ritual is simplify the rituals you try, allowing it to take the guess work and simplify decisions for each sunday. I do hope you do not feel obligated to do them and keep up the ones you ‘sampled’ though our weekly Sunday Rituals and make them your own.
Be specific instead of general. Over thanksgiving meals, we tend to say we are grateful for broad notions like ‘our family.’ This is great and true, research also suggests being more specific and detailed has more positive outcome on our happiness than general ones. Which, intuitively makes sense. Of course when we are more specific it is more tangible and likely elicit more of a emotional response. It also allows you to get deeper into the ‘why’ you are grateful. See an excerpt from the article below:
“An unpublished University of Southern California study cited in Emmons’s book, Gratitude Works!, found that writing one sentence about five things we’re grateful for is less beneficial than writing five sentences about one thing we’re grateful for. After 10 weeks of gratitude journaling, the group who wrote in more detail about one thing each time felt less tired, sad, and lethargic and more alert, happy, excited, and elated than the less-detailed group.”
4. Gratitude your heart instead of your mind. Sometimes, we may pick what we feel we ‘should’ be grateful for which ends up being counterproductive. Leading to feelings of guilt and/or emptiness. Notice if you say words like ‘should’ or ‘i guess’ and are thinking about it externally, instead of emotionally. Be genuine and honest with yourself about what you are grateful for. You have nothing to lose, and may experience warm and fuzzies.
So, overall the aim is to practice gratitude and this ritual if you feel you want to. Remove any obligations or expectations! And, perhaps you will feel a bit lighter going into the week afterwards.
YOUR SUNDAY RITUAL
Two optional options for you.
Write about 1 gratitude:
Write one thing you are grateful for and write multiple things of why you are grateful for this. See if you can treat it like a ‘brain dump’ of gratitude, not a checklist. When you let all random possibly disjointed thoughts on what you are grateful for, who you are grateful, even who is likely grateful for you and what you do. There is no minimum, no style, no expectation. Just letting your gratitude out in some way.
Or, try a 60 second ‘Quick Coherence Technique’:
Focusing more on a feeling, this is simply bringing up a positive feeling, based on a true experience or person and allow that ‘feeling’ to spread through your body.
To do the quick coherence technique, close your eyes and visual breathing from your heart outwards. After a few breaths, you can start imagining this positive feeling (thinking of my cute puppy in general always helps) and then breath into it. Allow it to spread through your body. Here is a 2 minute audio from heart math org on how to do it.
YOUR MANTRA THIS WEEK:
I am feeling grateful.
WANT TO CONTRIBUTE?
Her Collectives is all about supporting and inspiring other women's personal or professional path for growth. For this reason, we love to collaborate and feature other like minded women and organizations that can also inspire others.
For this reason, we will be having more 'featured' Sunday Rituals coming up (hint, next week we have a great one for you). If you feel like you have something of value to contribute to the her collectives community, please send me an email with your background and thoughts!
share with us your ritual! If you share any of your sunday rituals from any weeks, use hashtag #mysundayritual and tag us (her_collectives). We would love to see how you incorporate it and may share/get prizes ;).