CEO's Guide to Practicing Gratitude

Practicing Gratitude

Though Gratitude has become somewhat of a buzzword, the benefits of it are genuine. Practicing gratitude means that you are taking time to notice and reflect on things for which you are most thankful. By focusing on what you are grateful for you are empowering positive thoughts and in turn are more likely to take a positive approach toward your life. Several studies show that practicing gratitude has a positive impact on our minds and bodies. According to one study, found that even a one-time act of gratitude can decrease depressive symptoms by 35%. So as a CEO or business owner, why should you be practicing gratitude? Easy, you'll be less stressed, happier and more resilient, all benefits that will help you as a leader.

Start and End Your Day With Gratitude

According to Nataly Kogan, CEO of Happier, book-ending your day with gratitude is a great start for business leaders. Take a few minutes in the morning to write down a few things that me you feel grateful. They can be as simple as being thankful for the hot cup of coffee you're drinking or your dog lying at your feet. Starting your morning off on a positive note is more likely to set a healthier tone as you go through your day. Do the same when you get home, this time reflecting on the events of your day. The practice will start to train your brain to focus on the positive aspects of your life. For example, if you had a challenging day focus on what you can learn from it vs. how difficult it was.

Think About What Will Make Your Day Ideal

I've also found that writing a list in the morning of what will make my day a good one is extremely helpful in promoting a positive thought process and keeping me productive. For example, start with "Today will be a good day when…" and then fill in two or three things that you'd like to happen. Again, these can be small. Something like "today will be a good day when I get to the gym for 30 minutes" or "today will be a good day when I finish this project for a client." It not only helps you look ahead at what you want out of your day, but it also helps keep you accountable to it.

Focus on What You Have and Not What You Don't Have

We've all gotten stuck in the cycle of thinking about all the things we want, but don't have. As a business leader or entrepreneur ambition can often lead us to put unfair pressure on ourselves. The world of social media makes it all too easy to compare ourselves to other people or other businesses and feel like we aren't measuring up. Negative thoughts can then become overwhelming and even paralyzing. Instead of going down that spiral, start looking at what you do have. Write down what you've accomplished, look back at testimonials or recommendations you've received, remember the time a client thanked you for your work. Thinking about what you do have and how you want to build on it is far more productive than focusing on what you don't have.

Don't Forget That Things Could Be Worse

Do you have a roof over your head? Do you have food to eat? Don't forget that not everybody does. One way of practicing gratitude is to remember how good you have it. Just being able to eat a healthy breakfast or have a warm blanket at night are luxuries you are lucky to have.

When you are the leader of your business, keeping a positive frame of mind is crucial to your success — practicing gratitude every day, even if just for a moment, can yield dramatic results in your productivity, happiness, and success. If you feel like you need a little guidance, there are plenty of resources for you. Try using apps like Calm or Headspace to keep you on track. Sign-up for newsletters from sources like Deepak Chopra or Thrive Global to keep your practice top of mind in your inbox. If nothing else, merely putting pen to paper might be all you need to start your gratitude practice.