After almost a month since I started it, it’s time for me to write the conclusions for my gratitude experiment. Some of you may already have read a follow up on this but now it’s time to write the full conclusions. For those of you who came here directly I will shortly outline the core of the experiment, if you want to know more feel free to read the first and the second post.
Too keep a long story short: this gratitude experiment consisted in daily writing in a journal the things for which I am grateful. Being quite a geek in some areas, I chose to do this using some advanced technology like an iPhone and a specific application designed apparently exactly for that, a gratitude journal. Of course, if you ever want to start something similar you can do it with pen and paper, this is not even remotely about technology. It’s about you.
Gratitude Is Acknowledgement
It’s pretty difficult to define gratitude because of a strong cultural connotation caused by religion and / or spirituality. Gratitude has a lot to do with those areas, but it’s not entirely tied up to them. I think gratitude is only overlapping with those areas, is not contended by them. Every time you want to talk about gratitude you feel a little discomfort because it tends to take you out of the normal, day to day routine and put you into some serious and rigid realms like religion or spirituality.
We’re conditioned to perceive religion and spirituality as serious, almost limiting domains, some places where you should behave with humility, strive harder and generally lose all the fun in the life. Redemption, guilt or excessive frugality are common ground for all major religions and so we tend to act a little bit cautious toward it, unless of course, we do have a daily religious routine and we’re placing it very high in our value scale.
But gratitude is not only religion. In fact, gratitude is so flexible and versatile that sometimes appears to me to be quite the opposite from the fixed paths of religion. Gratitude is your way to tell the Universe it has been good to you. It’s an acknowledgment, it’s a confirmation you send back. It doesn’t have to be in a fixed form, nor to be contained in any ritual or structured philosophy. All it takes is to be honest.
Gratitude Is An Intention Amplifier
One of the first things I learned during this experiment was the fact that gratitude is an intention amplifier. You know already that every intention you put up is going to materialize sooner or later. Call it Law Of Attraction or creative potential or goal achievement, call it whatever you want, as long as you do know that your thoughts are in fact seeds for your acts. Well, gratitude makes this happening sooner.
I started to note in my gratitude journal simple things that I was grateful for, let’s say I was grateful for spending some quality time with my wife and my daughter. Each day I wrote this I realized that there was some form of improvement over the previous situation. For instance, one day I was grateful that Bianca recovered faster after a cold, and the other day I was grateful because she had a good day at the kindergarten. And the next day I was grateful because I spent some quality time with her and Diana.
It was like every thing I mentioned in my gratitude journal started to grow. Everything that I focused on with gratitude developed in something bigger. Every situation evolved faster into something wider and deeper. It was like instead of wasting my energy I focused it. And this focus started to feed the things I was grateful for and make them grow.
Gratitude Is A Reality Modifier
After I realized that my intentions are amplified if I feel gratitude, I realized something even more important: gratitude started to actually shape my reality. That daily routine I set up made me assess my reality and switch from things I wasn’t grateful for to things I was grateful. It actually forced me to change my universe according to my wishes. Everything that was worthy for me started to emerge and things I wasn’t grateful for started to fade away.
Once again, this is simple, mundane and transparent stuff. It’s nothing abstract or impossible to achieve without specialized training. All I’ve done was to write for 30 days the things I was grateful for in a journal. And the effect was really amazing: my reality started to change because gratitude shifted it from one point to another.
I noted at some point that I was grateful for the blog posts I wrote. In days, those blog posts started to attract more comments and followers. You can imagine that I was happy, but this was only an “alpha reflection”. The most important thing was the fact I came up with at least a dozen of new blog post ideas and that I started to write those posts so much easier and faster than before. The popularity of the blog posts was almost secondary compared with the increase in productivity. My blogging reality significantly changed because I was really grateful for it.
Gratitude Must Be Learned And Practiced
I wrote about that already in the follow up post, but I feel the need to reinforce it. It really needs to be incorporated in your habits. That’s mainly because we tend to think this is something “serious” or “difficult” and it must be done in a structured way. Or we tend to practice it only in fixed activities like religious rituals. Gratitude can be present in all those rituals, but it’s not limited to them.
By taking it out of the structured rituals and letting it manifest in other forms too, I learned immensely. I can manifest gratitude instantly, in any context or form, and I know it will reshape my reality and it will amplify my intentions. And it is only after practicing it for 30 days in a row than I realized how much time I lose in other activities. We do have a fantastic power, but we let it slip through our fingers in tiny, meaningless activities.
It sounds strange to impose discipline in order to manifest gratitude, but for me was necessary. And the benefits exceeded my expectations by far. I’m still puzzled about the power that lies in this thing that we can’t really put our hand on, this immaterial state of our consciousness, in this simple attitude of gratitude.
The Public Gratitude
In the initial experiment it was a part about noting things for which I am grateful for on Twitter. I didn’t wanted to start a trend, nor to impose anything to anyone. I didn’t had any hidden agenda and used Twitter only as a reinforcement tool for my individual experiment. It was part of my discipline.
But I was really surprised by the fact that a lot of my followers picked up my experiment and started to write their stuff on Twitter timeline. I’m really curious if they come to similar conclusions. So, if you are one of the Twitter participants to this experiment, please share your thoughts. Please share your thoughts even if you aren’t but still have something to say about this.
As for me, although I will continue to make use of this gratitude habit, I feel I only scratched the surface here….
Running For My Life - from zero to ultramarathoner
The spooky thing about depression is that it sneaks in. There aren’t really trumpets and loud voices announcing: “Hail, hail, this is depression entering the room, all rise!” Nope. It’s slow, silent, creepy. It doesn’t even look like depression. It starts with small isolation thoughts like: “Maybe I shouldn’t get out today, I just don’t feel like going out”. And then it does the same next day. And then the day after that and so on. And then it starts to whisper louder and louder in your ears: “Why would you go outside, you loser? Didn’t have enough yet? Want more people to make fun of how much of a big, fat loser you are?”
And then you start to breath in guilt and shame, instead of air. Every breathe you take is putting more dark thoughts into your body.
Until you get stuck. You can’t move anymore. At all.
If you want to know how I got out of this space, eventually, check out my latest book on Amazon and Kindle.