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Gratefulness


During this Holiday season I have been thinking about gratefulness

My parents taught me that “if you want better, you must be truly grateful for where you are, with what you have.” This took a little while to sink in growing up. I am very grateful it finally sunk in though.

Why have a grateful mindset?

Having a grateful mindset allows:

  • A release of positive endorphins into your body. These endorphins make you happy and give you more energy

  • Helps lower blood pressure.

  • Makes you more open to change

  • Allows you to see through the fog of negativity

  • It makes you approachable and more productive.

One of the most amazing things about having a grateful mindset is it allows you to be present. You see when you are present, you are absorbing life's small pleasure. You're more aware of what's around you, you see clearer, hear better, and are even more compassionate.

One study from the University of Pennsylvania found that people who wrote and delivered a heartfelt thank-you letter actually felt happier for a full month after, and the same researchers discovered that writing down three positive events each day for a week kept happiness levels high for up to six months. (This is why I had musicians do this in my Happy Musician Challenge.)

Think of it this way; Ungratefulness can be like smoke, it seeps into and clings to everything it touches. Gratefulness is like industrial strength Febreze that freshens up everything the smoke touched.

I’m going to share with you how I cultivate a grateful mindset.

Start with these daily Questions:

  • What great thing(s) happened at my last performance?

  • What do you enjoy most about being a musician?

  • This Practice/Performance is going to be great because?

(After a few months transition to asking these questions weekly)

Before practicing, make a list of what's great about your practice/performance time. (You can do this mentally or journal them) Here's what my list usually is like:

  • I'm playing my wonderful harp I purchased from my former teacher

  • The music is going to sound great when mastered

  • Skills are being refined

  • I’m working my brain muscles

  • No matter what I am learning something new

  • I’m getting closer to my goal

  • I GET to practice!

Doing these questions and lists has benefited me greatly as a musician; I know it will benefit you too.

New York Times best-selling author Lewis Howes writes extensively about cultivating a grateful mindset in his book, The School of Greatness. As Howes puts it, “If you concentrate on what you have, you’ll always have more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you’ll never have enough.” Sounds like what my parents said.

You see, being a Happy Musician also means being a Grateful Musician.

What are other ways you can cultivate a grateful mindset?

Stay Happy!

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