"Gratefulness is a practice, just like happiness is a choice."
It can be so easy to be grateful when things go the way we want. When we earn that job opportunity or promotion, hit that PR in training or competition, or experience success and achieve our goals, it can be very easy to sit back and be thankful for those moments. But what about when things may not go the way we want? Are we still grateful on the days that challenge us, push us, or leave us feeling dissatisfied and that we fell short of what we could have achieved? It can be so hard to find something to be grateful for when we reflect on an event that left us feeling crushed, frustrated, and defeated. These moments are exactly when it can be pivotal in our progression to practice gratitude. Can we be grateful for everything along the journey? The good, the bad, the elation, the pain, the wins, and the losses?
Can Francesco Molinari be grateful after being up on the final day of the Master's, and then struggling down the stretch, finished in 5th place on Sunday? Can Max Holloway be grateful after having his 13 fight win streak snapped and lost in a unanimous decision to Dustin Poirer at UFC 236 on Satuday? If you listen and read the comments from both of these men after their performances, there is a sense of gratitude for what they were able to do, and for the winners who had a better day.
Gratitude is not a mental skill to use when we feel like it, when the wind is at our back and we're achieving everything we set out. Gratitude is a mental skill that needs to be flexed consistently. It needs to be flexed in the victories and the defeats. It needs to be flexed on a consistent and daily basis. Exercising our minds with gratitude can enhance our resilience, increase our self-esteem and happiness, improve sleep, lower stress, along with other benefits. Gratitude is not something that happens on it's own. Our brains are not wired that way. It takes reflection. It takes seeking out.
Our mental training for today is simple. What are three things you are grateful for, and why are you grateful for them? See if you can build a streak of doing this over the next five days and notice what it does to your mentality.