GREAT Morning Everybody!
This week, I had the opportunity to travel to Disney World for a Training. It was an amazing experience filled with great content, great food, and MAGICAL vibes. It is also worth mentioning that Disney World is the PERFECT place for people watching. As I explored the Resort, one experience in particular stood out to me. As I roamed around the pool, I overheard a family arguing with one another about where to eat for dinner that night. The argument got heated and after everybody bitterly agreed on a restaurant, a few of the disgruntled family members went back to watching a movie on their IPad, AT THE POOL!
While I was at the Resort, quite a bit stuck out to me. While they like to call this place the “Happiest Place On Earth,” for many, it sure didn’t seem like that. Oftentimes, as I looked around, I found depressed kids glued to their Phone or Ipad while out at the pool, stressed out parents arguing with one another, and all sorts of individuals on their phones/watching moves on their IPads while out at the pool or at breakfast! Here we were, at Disney World, the “Happiest Place on Earth,” and these people were mentally, emotionally, and psychologically in a completely different place, likely a much darker place than Toy Story Land or the Magical Kingdom.
I believe the problem here was that nobody was truly PRESENT and few were engaged in an Attitude of Gratitude. Immersing ourselves in the present moment can change any situation from boring to straight up exhilarating. What’s more, an attitude of gratitude allows us to pause and truly appreciate what we have. We tend to focus our attention on that which we lack. This is what makes gratitude so powerful. It is literally a SUPERPOWER. It is responsible for strengthening our immune system, enhancing optimism, and unlocking happiness. Human beings naturally have a negative bias. We think approximately 60,000 thoughts per day and about 90% of those thoughts are inherently negative. This served us well thousands of years ago when we had to fight off Sabre Tooth Tigers and protect our Tribe, but not so much anymore.
When we focus on that which we are grateful, it makes us feel good because it widens our perspective. When we are caught in stress or anxiety, we often develop tunnel vision and are only able to focus on the negative. Gratitude helps us see the bright side of life, even amidst the challenges. It enables us to appreciate our circumstances and all that we have rather than focusing on what we lack. It is really the perfect remedy for an unhappy mood. Because when we experience wonder, gratitude and appreciation, our mood transforms to joy.
While in class, I noticed others stressing about client work that they were unable to get done, the food menu, and what would be served at happy hour. When we do not engage in gratitude on a consistent basis, we become victim to the dream the material world sells us. We become obsessed with trying to control people and situations that are far outside of our control. We become inherently dissatisfied with the overall quality of human life! More money will never be enough. More rides at Disney World will never be enough. Neither will a more extravagant hotel room or a seat closer to the front of the airplane. The only way out of this perilous predicament is through gratitude. It’s appreciation for the things we already have!
How can we strengthen our experience of gratitude? Try this: Sometime today or tomorrow, write an e-mail or text to somebody (i.e. mom, dad, brother, sister, close friend, colleague), praising or thanking them for something they have done for you. Set a timer on your phone for 2 minutes and don’t stop until the timer goes off. The only requirement is to make the note as meaningful and from the heart as possible. The great thing about this practice is you are going to feel all blissed out after sending it, and the sweetness they are going to feel after receiving out of the blue is indescribable! If you enjoyed this, take time to send these out daily!
Gratitude is a habit that CAN be developed. By taking time to regularly focus on what’s good in our lives, the more gratitude grows, and the easier it becomes. It strengthens relationships, sharpens our attention, helps us through tough times, softens our heart and opens our mind!
Love, kindness, compassion. These are the keys to long-lasting smiles. Our hearts must soften. Our minds must open.
Enjoy what comes of today!