Our society throws the word ‘freedom’ around often with little thought to its meaning. How many times have you heard the commonplace phrase ‘financial freedom’? Are you expecting to eventually live financially free?
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by Damian M. Reid
Gratitude is often overlooked as a tool we all have access to. Integrating gratitude as a daily habit can improve your life. Practicing this habit will positively impact your business. This supports you in creating The Freedom Lifestyle.
According to Harvard’s Medical School gratitude is “a thankful appreciation for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible”. In positive psychology research, gratitude is consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions and relish good experiences. It improves health, helps deal with adversity, and establishes strong relationships.
Robert Emmons is the world’s leading scientific expert on gratitude. His research at the University of California, Berkely reveals why gratitude enhances the quality of life.
Emmons discovered that people who practice gratitude report enhanced mental and physical benefits. These include:
Let’s delve deeper into these side effects. How do they relate to the creation of living your own Freedom Lifestyle?
1. Gratitude magnifies levels of positive emotions
When was the last time you took a moment to identify the presence of goodness in your life?
Look, I understand where you are coming from. I’m often thinking about the next task. We can get addicted to the need to continuously do something. After landing the one client, we are searching for ways to get the next one. Soon our pursuit for achievement becomes a habit. When the habit could be appreciating the value of each of our achievements.
Emmons’s research shows that practicing gratitude allows us to refocus our attention. We can learn to appreciate the value of something. Doing this intensifies our feelings of positivity. In return, this amplifies the enjoyment we experience in life.
Including this practice in your Morning and Evening Rituals. This ensures that the benefits of this habit get integrated into your day. For me, it’s the second habit in my Morning Ritual and the last habit in the Evening Ritual.
Practice this Habit: Start and end your day with a gratitude practice.
2. Gratitude reduces negative emotions and depression
Every entrepreneur has moments where they lack enthusiasm. I am not exempt from this. These negative emotions can quickly spiral and influence us into feeling more pessimistic.
Earlier this year, I pinched a nerve and couldn’t sit, stand up or walk. I felt scared when I went to the Emergency Department. Years ago during a similar episode, I went into shock on my doctor’s table and needed an ambulance. During both episodes in Emergency, there was little I felt grateful for. On a scale of 1 to 10 the pain was an 11. It is the most pain I have ever experienced.
Living bedridden for three weeks resulted in many feelings of helplessness and anger. The future of my dreams seemed at risk. My 10-Year Vision says, “my body is strong, full of energy, and always has the capacity to take on whatever I ask of it.” It was hard to imagine that reality when I could n0t get out of bed and go to the washroom.
There was a moment when it all switched gears. I managed to bring myself into a position where I could attend my mastermind call. Sure I was drugged up on pain killers but so what. But, I was grateful for the 90 minutes I spent with the group.
The gratitude I experienced, no matter how small outweighed all the negative feelings. I placed a green screen behind my bed and started taking calls and functioning a few hours a day. I was grateful for what I could manage and continued to perform more and more. When I spoke with my neurosurgeon, he mentioned how I was healing quickly. I am crystal clear that gratitude played a major role in this.
As Emmon stated, “emotions can destroy our happiness”. Studies have proven that practicing gratitude can reduce depression episode frequency and duration. Lucky for us and especially for me recently!
Do not let negative emotions ambush you. Search for opportunities to embody gratitude in all your ‘bad’ and ‘negative’ experiences.
Practice this Habit: Discover the learning opportunity in all things.
3. Grateful people equal less potential to burn out.
This should be enough reason for every entrepreneur to embrace and practice gratitude. Founders in North America are 4x more likely to deal with mental health issues. Three out of 10 suffer from these challenges.
In all aspects of your life, there is a lot to live in gratitude. When I become aware of my breathing, I take the time to acknowledge my actions and get grateful for my breath.
As an entrepreneur getting into a space of gratitude changes everything for me. It keeps me grounded, as I focus on what counts. Some of us are always catching our breath. Ultimately, we feel unfulfilled because we’re rushing through the day.
Always remember: we do not have to rush all the time. You can interrupt by switching your attention to embodying gratitude for something. Even if it’s something as small as your breathing. This supports the avoidance of mental burnout and health issues.
I work extensively with clients as a Full Focus Planner Certified Pro. We build celebration into habit creation. Neuroscience research has been done on the creation of habit-forming loops. It demonstrates including a reward or celebration is easier to put in place and more likely to stick.
Practice this Habit: Search for things in your day-to-day to be grateful for.
4. Implementing Gratitude
Successful people I encounter or interview begin or start their day with gratitude. They schedule time in their calendar to break and make sure they’re being grateful.
Gratitude is a practice that requires action. If you are not participating in this habit, it can escape you. I love groups that support each other to spend more time in a space of gratitude. Daily reminders with YouTube links, articles, memes, etc. are great ways to remember.
People exist everywhere for you to appreciate and say ‘”thank you”. Gratitude is a state of mind; an energetic space that you adopt in the world. Although the opportunity is often missed. It’s easy to appreciate something someone does as a courtesy.
Strengthening your relationship with others is essential in creating The Freedom Lifestyle. It is impossible to produce this without relying on your team and community for support.
Practice this Habit: Take the time to say “thank you” as often as possible to the people who cross your path.
Habit #23 of my Amazon #1 international bestseller is “Practice gratitude daily and often”.
“If you want your life to be more rewarding, you have to change the way you think”.
– Oprah Winfrey.
Damian Reid is the CEO of Damian M. Reid International (www.damianmreid.com). He is a Performance and Freedom Lifestyle Mentor, Coach, and International Speaker. Damian has a reputation for rapidly assessing what is missing across the 12 Keys Areas of Life™. He defined these in his Amazon #1 international (US, Canada and Australia) bestselling book. He is the creator of The 7 Steps to The Freedom Lifestyle™ system. His effective, unconventional solutions create significant breakthroughs in clients’ businesses and personal lives. Damian is one of 150 Full Focus Planner Certified PROs in the world (fullfocusmentor.com).