Gratitude is one of my favorite tools. Yes, tools. It is amazing the wonderful things you can create in your life by being more grateful. It is something you need to learn how to use more of in your life and in today's episode (our final Thursday Thoughts for the time being), we explore this. So, earmark this episode. It is one you'll want to come back to as you think about gratitude and the amazing ways it can impact your life and work on building it into your life on a more regular basis.
About Shawna Rodrigues -
Shawna Rodrigues is the founder of The Grit Show (www.TheGritShow.com), a podcast that creates a community around purpose, alignment, and growth. Where scrappy survivors come together as seekers and thrivers. A published author, coach, and consultant, Shawna spent the first two decades of her career supporting children, families, and communities as a therapist, specialist, and director of programs and collaborations in the private and public sectors. Her impact and depth of dedication prompted the alumni association at Boston University to acknowledge her accomplishments with an award for “Outstanding Contributions to the Field of Social Work.” She's an avid traveler who values deep conversations, has immense gratitude for the incredible people in her life, and gains inspiration from the new people she meets and the perspectives they offer.
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Shawna Rodrigues 0:02
Gratitude. It really is one of my favorite topics. If you ask me, what is the one thing I can start doing right now, today, that would make the biggest difference in my life, I really would say it would be to start a gratitude practice.
Shawna Rodrigues 0:18
Welcome to The Grit Show. Growth on purpose. I'm glad you found us. I'm your host, Shawna Rodrigues, and I'm honored to be leading you on today's journey as part of this community, growing together as seekers and thrivers. You've joined us for Thursday thoughts. These are shorter episodes where I get you one on one. Tuesday, we'll be back with another conversation with a great thought leader.
Shawna Rodrigues 0:43
Shawn Achor, then a professor at Harvard, was the first speaker who really got me thinking about the importance of gratitude. Well, for the first time since I was a kid, and it being part of the way mom raised us, as prayers are pre-requisites before meals and thanking the Lord for the food before us. Apparently, my mom didn't need a PhD with a concentration in positive psychology from Harvard to understand the importance of gratitude. There is at least a half hour tangent with all of that, but I'll try to stay on task. As I've grown up, I've been surprised at how hard it can be for others I've encountered to summon things they're grateful for. Genuinely grateful for. I never realized what a skill it was and how fortunate I was that I had a childhood that included it, and potentially a predisposition for it.
Shawna Rodrigues 1:29
There are numerous studies on the benefits of gratitude. It increases self esteem. It lowers the levels of and helps us to cope with stress. It enhances positive emotions, makes us happier. It increases psychological well being, makes us more emotionally balanced, gives us access to a wider social network, and on average, better relationships, both romantic and platonic. It can also reduce impatience, improve decision making, help us find meaning in our work. It can also improve our sleep, reduce our blood pressure, and has been shown to speed recovery. It sounds like the magic cure old rock, doesn't it?
Shawna Rodrigues 2:11
This episode is supposed to be under 10 minutes, so I can't go into all the details. But I'll give you links in the show notes to some of those studies. Each of these studies has different ways they incorporate gratitude. The most common way I read or heard about is journaling for five minutes a day regarding the things you're grateful for. Personally, I started at a much lower bar when I reincorporated into my life. Like I said, when I was a kid, it was part of nightly meals at the table, although the focus was very granular, I'm sure if you grew up with that you understand the similarity. When I was going through a difficult time, I remembered the Shawn Achor talk I'd seen and he mentioned about the gratitude practice. I think his reference was even around journaling. The strategy I employed was to have a friend that I texted three things I was grateful for every day. The friend also did the same to me. One of my other friends has a practice of sitting down with their kids at dinner and going around the table with everyone sharing something they're grateful for. It takes a little bit of skill, get good at coming up with things you're grateful for. Sometimes you start it's as simple as I got out of bed on time, I took a walk at lunch, and I remember to drink my water today. Some days, those are the only things you can think to be grateful for even if you're well practiced because you know, those rough days. But the more you do it, the more depth you get to it, the more you start to realize all the things you have to be grateful for. The more you realize the people you have in your life. The more you realize the layers of the things that you're grateful for. I know that I've been grateful for my safe, reliable car on multiple occasions. Part of that could be that, I might have been someone who had cars that broke down more than once in my life. They did give me the opportunity to be grateful for my father who would come rescue me when I was younger. However, I've been very grateful to have this car that I have, even though it currently has 200,000 miles on it. But part of that is also the layers beyond that. When I got the vehicle I got, it's been a number of years now. But what I found it only has 78,000 miles on it. When I found it, I got an amazing deal on it and the money and financing fell into place for it. I knew what kind of car I wanted. An SUV that was a certain size, got decent mileage, had all these little bells and whistles because I enjoyed bells and whistles when I'm driving, things like rain sensing, windshield wipers, all those things. And I waited. I took the time to know exactly what I wanted. And I waited and found the right vehicle. So even those times when I was short on things to be grateful for and I would be grateful for my safe reliable car, fair legitimate good thing to be grateful for, I was actually grateful for having the fortitude to wait for the right opportunity for taking the time to think about what I wanted, and getting what I wanted and manifesting what I wanted in my life. And so that car is like 12 layers of things that I'm grateful for beyond just that car.
Shawna Rodrigues 5:23
When I went home last night, and my amazing partner cooked me dinner, it was so much more than being grateful for a good dinner. I was grateful that I have this incredible partner who was nurturing and caring and makes me dinner. It was the company I had while we were sitting outside eating dinner, it was having a home that has a porch I can sit outside and eat dinner at. It was having food that he cooks and tastes good. I'm very lucky for that, I'm sure grateful for that. But even little things have like five layers for them. When I'm grateful for my sister, I'm not just grateful for one little thing she did for me, she had offered to wrap gifts and give them to my niece for me, which is me being grateful that she saved me that time, me being grateful that she was thoughtful like that, me being grateful she was doing me a favor, is being grateful that I have a relationship with someone in my family that they can be a support and a resource for me. So there's so many more levels, even just for those little moments of oh, I'm grateful that my sister offered to wrap these gifts for me, there's four layers beyond that.
Shawna Rodrigues 6:31
So the more you practice gratitude, the more you get used to it, the more you see all the different layers for even the one thing you're grateful fors. All the things that are underneath that, which is part of the reason why there's so many rippling effects with gratitude. The reason why it enhances relationships and connections that makes you grateful for the relationships and the connections you have. It helps you focus on the parts of the relationships that are beneficial that you want to be focused on. For me when I started this practice, my friend, if you heard my first episode of this podcast, you may have heard me reflecting that it actually helped me realize and surprise myself about the things that I was grateful for. That I thought I'd be grateful for getting the big projects done at work. But I was actually more grateful when I decided I'll finish it tomorrow and went home and had the evening that I wanted with people I cared about, instead of working later, and being exhausted but getting the project done. I started to learn what I actually wanted, what I actually cared about, the things that I actually was more connected to. Because gratitude is a different emotion, that I think a lot of people aren't as in touch with. Gratitude and appreciation is a unique emotion. It's different than kindness and niceness. And what you're supposed to do or what you're expected to do. It's more raw and more real and more connected.
Shawna Rodrigues 7:58
So that is why gratitude practice. Whatever shape and form it takes, whether it's as simple as tucking your kids in at night, and talking to them about what they were grateful for in their day, and you talking about what you're grateful for in your day, or you having a walk with your partner in the evenings and talking about what you're grateful for, or texting your friend or journaling yourself, or just making a note on your phone during your breakout work. Whatever works best for you to integrate that practice of gratitude, that it can have so many impacts in so many directions because it does infiltrate so many parts of our lives. And it is such a beneficial emotion and such a beneficial lens, such a gift to truly see things that way. Especially as they peel away all of the layers to realize why we're grateful for things the what really is important to us. And what we do really want and what we do really value.
Shawna Rodrigues 8:59
So today, I just encourage you to start reflecting and thinking about that. About what you are grateful for. And what a simple little way is that you can start integrating gratitude into your life in a way that you remember, it's associated with something else. Maybe in the shower in the morning, when you wash your hair every day, or every three days. That's more like what I would be doing. But whenever you wash your hair, just think about the things you're grateful for. And then start there. Wherever you can, however, you can, just start integrating it and it starts to make a difference for you. I know it's definitely made a difference for me. When I started to feel overwhelmed and stressed out, that's the first thing I try to add back in again. And if you do have a spiritual or religious practice, it's a wonderful thing to make sure you're integrating that into your prayers or your meditations. This will actually be the last Thursday thoughts for a little while. We're going to take a break so that I can focus on some of the other aspects of building the podcast and this community.Shawna Rodrigues:
Don't worry, our Tuesday episodes and interviews will continue to come out like clockwork. If it is something you bet, let me know. We can always integrate it back in again later. Before I let you go, I want to give a shout out to Lisoso10, who left us a review on Apple podcasts saying, I love the premise of the show, especially the idea that we need to take care of ourselves in order to continue growing and giving. I can't wait for the next episode. We love the listeners who take the time to leave reviews and take our messages to heart. We're very grateful for that. Thank you. If you haven't had a chance to leave a review, that's okay. We're immensely grateful that you made time to listen. And when you do have a minute, we'll be grateful if you jump on Spotify, Apple podcasts or whichever streaming service you either leave a quick note there. Let us and others know what you like best. It means a lot to see what you have to say. And it's a great way to help others understand what The Grit Show has to offer. And it also helps them to find us. I look forward to connecting with you again next week. Until then, take care of you. I know I'm grateful for you. And I'm sure there's plenty of other people who are as well because you're the only one of you that this world has got. And that means something.