Photo Credit: Jessica Castro, Unsplash.com

What if everything really is awesome? Did they get it right in The Lego Movie by singing the highly-catchy theme song, “Everything Is Awesome?”

But how many of us focus on things that aren’t awesome?

How much time do we spend dwelling on the traffic, the news, the deadlines, the uncooperative co-workers, bosses, and kids?

A song like “Everything is Awesome” sounds silly, yet how many of us could totally relate to a song called “Everything is Not Awesome?”

A core value for me is BALANCE. Which means that I’m curious about how to bring more “awesome” attitudes into the world and less “not awesome” attitudes.

That key ingredient to more awesome is GRATITUDE.

Gratitude reminds us of what’s truly amazing. (Dare I say, “awesome,” again?)

With gratitude, we connect with the things that allow us to exist in this world.

We can be grateful for simple things, like the air we breathe, the water we drink. Heck, I expressed gratitude for gravity once.

Just think for a minute how much of our existence is truly possible due to gravity . . .

But why? What does gratitude actually do for us?

A few things:

One: Gratitude opens you up to accept more great things in your life.

Many of us are familiar with the principle that “energy attracts like energy.” When we express gratitude for something, energy is directed towards that thing. Because of this principle, we allow more of that energy to flow.

For example, let’s say that you don’t have much money in your bank account right now. Perhaps you’re feeling a bit down about that. Of course you would–that’s totally normal! Now, imagine being grateful for the money you do have in your bank account, no matter how “little.”

See how the energy shifts?

When we focus our energy on the money we don’t have, guess what we attract? More energy on the lack of money.

But if we express gratitude for everything that we do have, we attract more.

Energy attracts like energy.

Two: We’re social creatures.

Humans throughout history have shown the most growth and resilience when being part of a team.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Margaret Mead

Gratitude’s like a tonic for nurturing healthy relationships. When you express gratitude for someone in your tribe, you strengthen your relationship with that person. Just think about a time when the opposite happened to you–a time where someone was grateful for you.

Felt good, right?

Imagine adopting a daily practice of expressing gratitude to one person in your life! That would strengthen your relationship with seven people in a week, 30-ish people in a month, and 365 people in a year.

Wow.

Three: Gratitude connects you with contentment.

For so many of us (and I do this all the time), we focus on what’s next. It seems like we take virtually no time to celebrate our accomplishments. Often, the end of one task signifies that it’s time for us to move on to the next task.

I remember working with a client once who didn’t enjoy looking at his task list. To him, it was a never-ending cycle of plugging one hole only to have another spring a leak.

After some digging, we found out that he spent no time celebrating his accomplishments.

No wonder his task list seemed like a pit of despair!

To change this habit, he bought little sand timers. And every time he finished a task, he would turn over the sand timer and simply express gratitude for what he had done. He created space to celebrate, appreciate himself, and create contentment.

He eased the pressure of always moving on to the next task. Not only were tasks getting done, but they were also getting done faster because there was more joy in the process of working.

Sometimes you have to slow down to speed up.

So how about you?

What would having more gratitude in your life do for you?

What are some ways that you could easily express more gratitude for your environment, your social group, or (perhaps most importantly) yourself?

Crossing the TEA’s

Now, let’s check out the energy levels behind these Thoughts, Emotions, and Actions:

Low-Energy TEA:

  • Thought: Virtually nothing is awesome.
  • Emotions: Irritated, Sarcastic, Judgmental, Empty, Overwhelmed, Apathetic, Indifferent
  • Actions: A habitual focus on lack, on what’s “wrong,” on what’s not working.

High-Energy TEA:

  • Thought: Everything is awesome!
  • Emotions: Playful, Open, Content, Energetic, Amused, Hopeful, Loving
  • Actions: Time is set aside every day to express gratitude for ourselves, others, and the world.
Photo Credit: Jessica Castro, Unsplash.com