Evaluation and creation. These are two processes that constantly go on in our mind and control or set the stage for pretty much everything else. It is important to start from gratitude because gratitude changes the game.

I think that there's a real key in the word practice. Scott Wilhite, who wrote the book, The 7 Core Skills Of Everyday Happiness. In Scott's book, he points out that gratitude is like other aspects of positivity or happiness and that it is a skill. If it's a skill then you want to practice, so we put into play practice techniques that allow us to benefit from the principle of gratitude.

I'm also thinking of another author and friend of mine, Mr. Kevin Clayson. If you've ever heard Kevin speak, he's a lot of fun and he has a whole lot of energy. Kevin wrote a book called, Flip The Gratitude Switch where he points out some other powerful aspects of how gratitude can contribute to our happiness.

So we've established pretty well that gratitude is part of a skill set that can be developed on purpose and then practiced on a daily basis. How do you remember to do it?

What if you were to tie gratitude to something that you are already doing everyday? Here's what I mean- hopefully you are doing this everyday. While you are brushing your teeth, what if you were to do some little reminder that allows you to use tooth brushing as the trigger to practice your gratitude? Take a little toothpick, stick it through the bristles of your toothbrush so that it will be noticeable when you pick that up in the morning. Can you picture what I'm saying? It's just kind of sticking out there like a big old flag. When you go to put the toothpaste on your toothbrush you will notice the toothpick (don’t do this in the dark). The toothpick reminds you to do your gratitude exercise.

Pull the toothpick out, brush your teeth as normal and then you put the toothpick back into the bristles which will remind you again the next time you brush your teeth. This is just a little brain hack that helps you to remember to practice gratitude.

So how do you actually practice it? In the gratitude triple-play, you come up with three things for which you are sincerely grateful everyday or every time you brush your teeth, which should be multiple times daily.

Don't make up something so you can brush your teeth, you have to be grateful for it to put it on your list, that's the requirement. No faking.

One of those things is a freebie where you get to think of things that are already awesome things like indoor plumbing, hot water, the fact that you can access YouTube, those things are already awesome, you get one of those every list, the other two need to be about something that's more challenging to you or frustrating or harder difficult or painful. Find that thing and then open it up.

This is what Kevin pointed out in his Flip The Gratitude Switch book, it's easy to be grateful for those things that are already awesome. Here's the challenge, you find something that is difficult or painful and find some gratitude in that. He calls that flipping a switch because what it really does is, it turns your brain on, it allows you to take a whole different approach to something that you have been struggling with.

Picture this, you pick up your toothbrush, it's got a toothpick in it, oh, better pull that out, set the toothpick aside, oh yeah, I'm going to practice my gratitude, as you put on that toothpaste and start brushing your teeth. In the time that you're brushing your teeth, think about your one thing that's easy, your two things that are hard before you finish brushing your teeth. That's one way that you can get yourself to practice gratitude every day.

Now here's another thing that you can practice and this might be more of a weekly kind of a thing rather than a daily thing but it's something that I've learned recently from Doug Andrew and the people at Live Abundant. They have an approach that they call the appreciation accelerator and I love those terms because of what they mean. Let's apply it to gratitude. They suggest on about a weekly basis, you make a list of 10 things for which you are grateful, just ten things where you've got some element of gratitude already going on.

That's the first list. We are going to make three lists, okay. The first list is simply what you are grateful for.

Now let's move to the second list. On the second list, take everything that's in the first list and write out another list right next to it about why you are grateful for that thing that's on the first list. So, one for one, why am I grateful for that first thing? Well it's because of this. Why am i grateful for that second thing? Well it's because of this. You are doing your why on the second.

Now on the third list, you take that same item for which you have already given gratitude and you have said why and you write down a way that you could express or share your gratitude about that thing. If it's gratitude for a person, you might choose to call them or text them or share that gratitude with them. If it's for a person who has since passed on, you might choose to spend a moment of silence just thinking about how grateful you are for that person. If it's gratitude for an item or a product, then you might pause before you use that product next and think about your gratitude for the product before you use it.

This isn't a daily process, you might want to do this once a week or even once a month, but periodically to bring your mind to a more profound sense of gratitude, this is a practice that could really power up your gratitude.

Okay, so a quick example about how the appreciation accelerator model could work. Let's say that on my list, I'm grateful for having an abundance of food available to me and I am, you think about it, there are a lot of people in this world who don't know where their next meal is coming from. I am so grateful that I have an abundance of food available to me. That's the thing that I'm grateful for, why am I grateful for that? Well there's some obvious reasons why I'm grateful, it helps to articulate them. I'm grateful for that food because I know that my family can be taken care of without a whole lot of extra effort, we know that everybody in our family is going to eat tonight. I'm so grateful for that and that's why because I have this family that I love.

How am I going to express that gratitude? This is the third list. I could simply pause before I eat. We have a practice in our family where we like to say grace or have a quick prayer before we eat our meal and it's for that purpose of expressing appreciation or gratitude for the food that we have in our home, the abundance that we have. It might be that I have a brother, for example, who is a farmer, he likes to grow food and what if I just texted him and said, “Hey thanks for the good things that you're contributing to our world here and contributing to the food supply.” It could be that simple, it could be posting something and this is kind of a joke sometimes because people post what they're having for dinner what if you were to post something on social media that says, “You know what? I am just grateful that we have this. This is so awesome.” That inspires your gratitude and can inspire other people too.

Practicing gratitude puts you in position to actually create some even more phenomenal things in your life as you move forward.

Scott's interview can be found here at Live On Purpose Radio: https://youtu.be/ZjNjqJ5E0Vs

Check out other great interviews on my podcast, you can find it on itunes or at my website, drpauljenkins.com.