HOW A GRATITUDE JOURNAL CAN TRANSFORM YOUR LIFE
Last week my Facebook LIVE video generated a huge amount of emails and messages from people stating they felt enlightened by my use of specific questions in my daily gratitude journal to condition my brain for happiness, success, and wealth. So, this week, I thought I’d share a portion of that gratitude message in my Newsletter. Watch the video or read the abridged version below.
With everything happening in the world right now, there is still one place where we can all go to feel comfortable: INWARD. We can turn our focus inside and direct our thoughts, and our actions, to focus on gratitude. Imagine the joy you would feel if you saw the world from a perspective of gratitude!
Let me share an example: Years ago, when I visited Haiti for the first time, we worked in an orphanage where children lived in horrible conditions: insufficient food to maintain basic nutrition; cockroaches everywhere, all sharing an outdoor hose as a shower, only cold water for bathing and showers. Despite all of this, as we got to know and spend time with the children, we quickly realize how happy they all were. Even with so little to work with, the people who ran the orphanage did everything they could to care for the children and show them love. In return, the children were happy, playful and filled with joy. Laughing and spending time with these children was incredible. We couldn’t help but become attached to them. At the same time, for us the sadness of their living conditions was heart breaking.
Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the world. Food is scarce; however, gratitude and caring are high. During my visit to Haiti, I have witnessed the very best of humanity. I’ve watched people stand in long lines just to receive a single scoop of rice for their daily meal. Then, after eating only half, carefully climb over a tall fence to share the other half with parents or family waiting on the other side. One evening while sitting in a school “courtyard” with approximately 20 children I decided to teach the Circle of Excellence in an effort to help the children feel better about their lives. (To create a Circle of Excellence, you simply imagine drawing a 2-foot circle on the floor and then you actually step into that imaginary circle and strike a power pose. When you do this, something inside you automatically shifts and you start to feel better.) As these amazing children were attentively listening to me describe this exercise (they loved to learn), a young girl named Angelina spoke up and asked: “Why do we use this circle?” I explained that it was to be used when they didn’t feel good or when they weren’t happy. After thinking about it for just a few seconds Angelina asked: “But aren’t we happy all the time?” I was stunned and heartbroken and could barely maintain my composure. Definitely not my proudest moment. Swallowing my tears, I quickly mumbled something about how, in Canada, it was a technique people often needed… At that point, Jouvensly, one of abandoned twin brothers, came and gently took my hand to reassure and comfort me: “What? You are not happy in Canada? But, you have everything in Canada?” I could no longer hold back my tears. As I bawled my eyes out, all 20 children came rushing over to hug and console me. Really? Poor me? Not happy in Canada? I immediately saw past the devastation, poverty and oppression in Haiti and was able to see the love and joy happening there.
After returning from that first trip to Haiti, I got angry. To think that we in Canada had such easy access to so much yet it never seemed to be enough, made me angry. There were so many things we took for granted on a daily basis. When was the last time you were grateful you had access to hot water for a shower? It just didn’t feel fair. Why were we born here, and they born there? Until then I hadn’t realized that simply being born in this country was a privilege.
A friend noticed I was fighting conflicting emotions of sadness, anger and guilt, and said: “Nathalie, let go of those negative feelings. Why don't you try to feel grateful instead?” That's when I learned how to change strong negative emotions into a positive moving force. Gratitude is so powerful. The more I focused on being thankful for what I had, deep feelings of gratitude washed over me. Soon that positive wave started to empower me.
Is it really that simple? Yes. In fact, research indicates that people who write in a Gratitude Journal every day are significantly happier than those who don’t focus on being thankful for what they have. One study compared levels of happiness between people who wrote in Gratitude Journals and people who had won significant money in the lottery (even millions of dollars!) Interestingly enough, the levels of happiness for each group was the same. But get this… the study continued. The lottery winners’ happiness had dropped quickly as they settled into their new lifestyles. Often, they were even more stressed than before. Whereas, even five and ten years later, the people with a very modest life who continued to practice daily gratitude (and write it down) were increasingly happier; and even their wealth had grown exponentially!
My experience in Haiti inspired the creation of the THINK Yourself® GRATEFUL Journal. Approximately 40 pages at the beginning of the book explain why gratitude is so important and include detailed steps on how to fill out one page of the journal each day. I have designed specific questions for you to answer daily. The questions will condition your unconscious mind to create the life you want. Once you are in the habit of answering these questions daily, the personal assistant in your head, (your unconscious mind) starts answering the questions for you. --- If you've been following me for a while, you know exactly what I'm talking about. Otherwise, check out this blog to learn more. When your personal assistant first sees the journal questions it will hesitate or say: “Oh, I don't know. There’s nothing I’m grateful for right now, or I haven't done anything towards my goal today. Maybe I’ll just write that I went for a walk and that could count towards my health goals.” Your personal assistant will actually FIND something to fill the blanks. The next day, when asked the same question, your personal assistant will think: “Do I need to respond to this again? I didn't do anything special today either. Am I going to be asked this question every day?” By the third day, when you ask the very same question, your personal assistant will realize: “Okay, now I get it. If I'm going to get asked this every day, I better start creating actions that I can report at night. I better start NOTICING and DOING something about this. I can start preparing my answers during the day by making sure I do something toward my goals.” The THINK Yourself® GRATEFUL Journal is designed to have a profound impact on your brain -- as you train your personal assistant, your unconscious mind, the most powerful structure in the universe, will create opportunities for you. During the day, your unconscious mind will make sure it reminds you to do something about your goals; it will even give you ideas and create opportunities for you. It will put you in the elevator at the right time with the right person to open doors for you. It will make you WANT to get up early. It will make you feel empowered when you need it and feed you with positive emotions.
The rationale behind each question is fully explained in the accompanying video. Go ahead, watch it. In fact, from my heart to yours, I invite you to download the gratitude form from my website and make as many copies as you want. The journal page is available for FREE! Simply go to www.thinkyourself.com/free-gifts. You can also choose to purchase the actual paperback journal in which you have 3-months worth of journaling.
Now you understand that being grateful isn’t easy. You need to keep working at it. Stick to it until you condition your personal assistant to create the life you want. Don’t worry if the first few days it takes you an hour to fill out the questions. And as you continue, you’ll be able to fill out your daily gratitude in a few minutes. Your personal assistant will know what to answer because it was expecting the questions and spent all day creating answers for you.
Once I started living each day from a place of gratitude, I was able to reach more of my business and personal goals than I ever thought possible. Gratitude pushed me into action more than feeling sad or angry ever could. With gratitude I was also able to work hard for the kids in Haiti. I started sponsoring children there and I wrote and dedicated one of my books to them: THINK Yourself® GRATEFUL. I even started giving a portion of my fees to foundations. Gratitude opens so many opportunities!
Imagine this - What if you woke up tomorrow with ONLY the things you were grateful for today? What would you have? Would you have a comfortable bed (or even a bed at all), nice clothes to wear, a car, a computer, a phone, a coffee maker? Do you even realize how much you have to be grateful for? I believe that if we all live from a place of gratitude, despite everything happening in our world today: the pandemic; social rights and responsibilities; justice; and racial equality (Black Lives Matter!), we will be okay. We need to take a stand and work together from a place of gratitude. Right now, is the best time for change. The pandemic brought us back to our core and has reminded us what's really important. We've gotten back to basics. We haven’t been out spending money on un-useful stuff. We haven’t been out doing things that are not related to our basic needs. We've stripped down to the bare minimum: spending more time with our family, and those closest to us. Of course, there are exceptions. I understand many families are struggling financially, have faced tragedy and death, or may not be living together because they've been separated by the pandemic. However, everyone still has a lot to be grateful for. I believe the pandemic has brought most people closer and helped us remember the importance of certain friendships and family links. It has made us more grateful for what we have. Let’s stay that way…
How could we ever feel gratitude for death and racism? Well, if you listened to George Floyd’s family at his Memorial Service in Houston, you know that’s exactly what they did. As Mr. Floyd’s children, siblings and extended family mourned the loss of their father, brother, uncle, they also expressed deep gratitude: for the time they had him in their lives AND for the positive impact his tragic murder has had all around the world – in particular, people’s willingness to speak up and express their intolerance for racism. I am grateful for this time we are living in. I have hope the world can change and believe right now is the time to start creating solutions. If you watched my broadcast last week with the amazing Rose Adams, an outstanding "proud black woman" - and you can find the video here if you haven’t – she gave us tools and concrete tips on how to recognize and react to racism. And I’m adding Gratitude to that list.
So there you have it. I think we're going to be okay. I really do. Now that you know what to do, let's get to work and make this world a better place. Besides, if those amazing little humans in Haiti could be happy and grateful for their lives, despite such desperate living conditions, certainly we can be happy too? Remember, it all starts with gratitude!