Sparkle & Smile

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Healthy Soul

7 Types of Gratitude – and Why You Should Recognize Them

February 29, 2016

gratitude-journal-coverIn February we celebrate the heart. Maid Brigade feels strongly that “heart” is what separates us from the thousands of other cleaning services in business today. The heart in our logo is open, not closed, for a reason. To us, “heart” is an outward orientation – a way of being that focuses outside ourselves. And it’s the basis for our mission and purpose – improving the quality of life of everyone who comes in contact with our brand. That’s why I’m writing about gratitude today.

The topic of gratitude has earned a lot of attention lately and in 2015 book sales for “The Gratitude Diaries” support the idea that theories about gratitude’s role in our overall health are gaining credence with the general population. Feeling gratitude is said to reduce stress, improve cognitive function, promote creativity, enhance relationships and infect others with similar feelings.

Keeping a daily gratitude journal for even a short (yet faithful) stint should bear out the studies in real life. At least, they have for me and countless others who follow the advice Janice Kaplan gives in her book. I imagine us all sitting nightly in our pajamas, upright in bed, inking our gratitude statements one by one as we recognize the blessings that appeared during the day just past, then capping our pens and clicking off the light – healthier, happier and more fun to be around.

gratitude-journal-blank-page

(To keep a gratitude journal, write down 3 things that made you grateful each day, at the end of the day, for a year.)

What do they all write day after day? How many different ways can we be grateful, and for how many things? How is this sustainable for 365 days? I started doing some research and came across some articles by David Brooks on the subject of gratitude. He suggested in his NY Times article that gratitude describes a general attitude in which people feel they are, metaphorically speaking, “much richer than they deserve”.

I get that. But looking back through my journal, it didn’t ring true with most of my entries. Although it is sometimes factored on what I feel I deserve, my gratitude cannot be defined in only one way. In fact I found seven different kinds of gratitude in my journal. So far. By recognizing them, I’ve made an easy framework to call upon when I have a simply rotten day and I’m at a loss to feel grateful for anything. Maybe they will help you too.

gratitude-journal-entry

7 kinds of gratitude

(As a place holder below, I refer to the thing I am grateful for as my “blessing”.)

Humility – the notion of receiving a special blessing as one chosen among many

Optimism – something is better because of this blessing

Indulgence – someone went out of their way to create this blessing

Wow – this blessing exceeded expectations

Abundance – this blessing is more than is needed

Piety – my prayers have been answered with this blessing

Affirmation – this blessing reinforces my sense of identity and/or purpose

As you begin your gratitude journal you will notice that it’s much easier to focus on the negative things that happened during the day than anything you might feel grateful for – it’s just human nature. Therefore it will seem impossible to divine your very first three gratitude statements. David Brooks talks about the very useful “BUT (Positive)” concept: It rained cats and dogs today and I was soaked by the time I got to work BUT… the plants in my garden really needed it.

Practice this technique. You’ll be surprised how quickly you’ll improve. And such small moments of gratitude may rewire an entire day of emotions. And physical health patterns. And social health patterns.

And hopefully the 7 forms of gratitude may help you see more of the positivity that already exists in your life today, facilitate great journaling and unlock unlimited potential for you personally, socially, professionally and spiritually.

THAT could be a quality of life improvement. And so, from our heart to yours, we share these ideas with our blessing.

And finally, we share our gratitude for our faithful following. We heart you.

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