You have decided to take better care of yourself. An excellent decision, if I may say so, and one that you will no doubt not regret making.
But how are you going to put this decision into practice?
There’s an old saying that if you’ve forgotten the language of gratitude, you’ll never be on speaking terms with happiness.
Research has shown that there is a lot of truth in this. Carla Clark, PhD, author of Mind Your Head: The Ultimate How-To Brain Training Handbook, said, “The benefits of gratitude are many and profound. Being grateful is shown to improve both physical and mental health, psychological well-being and attitude, and our relationships with others. Practising gratitude has even been shown to rewire our brains for the better – it is a truly powerful life-changing tool.”
I could not have said it better. I wholeheartedly agree with Carla, and that is why I wrote: Embracing Change in 10 minutes a Day – Smart Suggestions, Simple Strategies and Insight-giving Stories. I wrote this book because I know how to cope with change, without losing the will to live. After a lifetime of sometimes inevitable and sometimes self-instigated change, I now want to share what worked for me with others.
I discovered that the best way to cope with change and to take care of yourself while you are doing so, is by daily recording what I am grateful for in a gratitude journal. In “Embracing Change” I share my story, and I suggest a simple strategy to take better care of yourself so that you can enjoy the extensive benefits of a daily gratitude practice:
- are healthier. They often have lower blood pressure, stronger immune systems, sleep better and have more energy. Robert Emmons said, “Grateful people take better care of themselves and engage in more protective health behaviours like regular exercise, a healthy diet, and regular physical examinations.” When my French neighbours need to employ an artisan to do some work on their house, they do not stress about it. It happens when it happens. In the meantime, they still have a roof above their heads, don’t they? There is that to be grateful for, at least.
- are more compassionate and more likely to help others. Because of this, grateful people are more likely to receive help from others for no reason other than that they are liked and appreciated. Helping each other strengthens existing relationships and nurture new ones and so create more rewarding relationships at home and work.
- are less stressed at work. They are more effective managers and more productive employees. Gratefulness can motivate people to network and build a reliable support system. Gratitude can make the workplace a friendlier and more enjoyable place to be.
- are less likely to suffer from depression as they are more resilient when stressed. Thankful people tend to be satisfied with what they have and are less susceptible to emotions like disappointment, irritation, regret, and frustration. They are less bothered by life’s unpredictability and deal more efficiently with conflict.
- communicate with ease, enthusiasm, insight, compassion, and understanding. Gratitude makes us feel less envious, less insecure and less self-centered, facilitating communication. It can even enrich difficult relationships, both at work and at home.
- are more likely to be satisfied with their achievements, and this increases their self-esteem.
- live longer. Research revealed that a group of nuns who expressed gratitude, happiness, and positive emotions in their earlier years were found to live an average of up to ten years longer than their peers who did not express gratitude.
Extract from “Embracing Change – in 10 minutes a Day” ©Margaretha Montagu
As I said, my strategy is simple. All you have to do is keep a gratitude and generosity journal.
A habit, which I have to admit, that is not that easy to cultivate. That is why I am currently very busy (and not-altogether-surprisingly, having tremendous fun) creating an accompanying e-course. When I researched e-learning and e-courses, I was sorely intimidated. It seems that most e-courses today consist of a selection of 5-10 minute videos. Because of my eye condition, I am not comfortable in front of a camera. I decided to keep my e-course as simple as possible instead. What I want to help my readers with, is to develop a new habit – the habit of keeping a gratitude and generosity journal. The simplest way to do this, I thought, would be to send them a daily e-mail with a “count your blessings” – prompt, an inspiring quote to ponder and an empowering affirmation to motivate them, as I suggest in my book. It would have to be for 21 days at least, as it takes 6 weeks to implant a new habit, so my readers could do the course and repeat it once (or as many times as they like) which would take them to 42 days, or 6 weeks exactly.
And then things got complicated. There is sooooo much more that I want to share! My favourite gratitude websites, my favourite gratitude journal apps, my favourites gratitude books, movies, memes, Facebook groups, Youtube videos, Pinterest boards, Twitter and Instagram accounts, TED-talks, as in …
I knew what I wanted to do to help my readers, but what did my readers want me to do to help them?
Good question. To find out, I took advice from a couple of well-respected e-course experts. They suggested I start with a mini-email e-course – 7 days long – to give me an indication not only of what my readers what but whether there is interest in the concept at all.
- So, step 1 is to create a free mini-e-course.
- Step 2, if there is enough interest, is to create the full 21-day Grounded in Gratitude and Generosity e-course.
Keeping a gratitude and generosity diary is one of the best ways you can choose to take better care of yourself. To find out if this strategy will work for you, you can try my above-mentioned brand-new mini-e-course. You can subscribe to it here: Margaretha Montagu’s Gratitude and Generosity e-Course. While I am waiting to see if my mini-e-course is a success, I have started creating the 21-day e-course. Can’t help myself; I am having way too much fun.