Life Coaching Tip of the Week- Feel the Love: Felt Gratitude

The month of November is upon us and amidst the election craziness and continued rising pandemic infection rate numbers, I’d like to take a little time out and focus our attention on some positivity.  This is why this month I introduced the idea of "A Month of Gratitude challenge" on my social media accounts (Instagram and Facebook).  I want to try to focus our energy on what we can control in our lives, and to point out the awesomeness that’s already there.  I’m not trying to put blinders on you and block out all the concerns and happenings in the world, I just know that it isn’t healthy (mentally or physically) to give all your attention to something that provokes stress and negativity.  In knowing this, I want to help provide a little outlet or ray of light in your day where you can change gears, take a deep breath, and know that everything will be ok because YOU are in charge.  November after all is traditionally a month of Thanksgiving, so it works!

The idea of “practicing gratitude” came into my life a few years ago when I was starting to immerse myself in the world of personal development.  Of course growing up I was taught to be grateful, and as a Christian (Catholic) I was taught WHO to be grateful to.  This was always something that would float in and out of my mind and lived in the periphery of my life.  Being grateful was something I was supposed to do and feel, but deep down that wasn’t always the case.  Nevertheless I continued on, always knowing that gratitude was important and the guilt from not always actually being grateful was an all too familiar sting I had learned to live with.  I had little awareness of any way to incorporate gratitude into my life until "after the fact," meaning after I acted like a brat I would be reminded that I should be grateful for what I have.  I didn’t realize that I could be mindful of gratitude all the time, and that it wasn’t at all a punishment but rather a huge blessing from which to view your life.


Learning about the benefits of gratitude was an incredible eye opener for me, and as I got older and my true purpose in life became more clear I saw how gratitude played a huge part throughout every single day.  Gratitude became less of an obligation; it became a way of life.  It made my troubles simpler, and my heart open up in ways I never knew possible.  It grew all of my most meaningful relationships, especially my relationship with God, and it helped ease the pain of relationships that hadn’t worked out the way I wanted.  All this from one simple virtue.  My goal this month is to help open your eyes to the benefits of gratitude, teach you how it can improve your life, and encourage you to come up with a gratitude practice of your own.  I promise you that there is absolutely no downside to this, and it isn’t too time consuming.  The effects are 100% positive.


There are 3 common types of gratitude that we all experience, and you will reap the benefits from practicing any and all of them.  The first and most simple form of gratitude is “intellectual gratitude.”  Intellectual gratitude in simple the practice of knowing what we have and cherish in life and being grateful for it.  This is best practiced with a simple gratitude journal or listing out things you are grateful for every day.  The next type of gratitude is known as “felt gratitude.”  This is taking intellectual one step further.  You take the time to think about how this gratitude makes you feel, and then you take the time to really feel those feelings.  The last type of gratitude is referred to as “gratitude in action.”  I like to say, this is when you use your blessings to bless others.  It’s recognizing that what you have can be shared, and then you take the steps to do it.  There is no feeling in the world like gratitude in action. 


Most of us understand the benefits of intellectual gratitude.  To take the time every day to list out the things we are grateful for will bring these things to the forefront of our minds creating positive thoughts.  Sometimes we can do this in a journal, other times we can do this in prayer to direct the gratitude to God, or any higher being or force you believe in.  Felt gratitude is something special, and there are ways to incorporate this into your daily life and important ways to practice this that I’d love to share with you. 

Felt gratitude deepens your gratitude experience.  It quite literally has health benefits!  It calms you, releases endorphins, lowers blood pressure, decreases stress hormones and inflammation (and we know that inflammation is the origin of disease.). Felt gratitude can save your life.  Felt gratitude involves a different level of intention, awareness, and mindfulness than intellectual gratitude.  If you are looking to incorporate this into your life, here are some things you can consider…


  1. Specificity: when you are doing your gratitude journaling, make sure you get very specific with what you are writing down.  For example: writing that you are grateful for your husband is wonderful and will likely put a smile on your face and make you think of something positive about him.  But being super specific about WHAT AND WHY you’re grateful will deepen the experience.  You write you are grateful for the way he always remembers to turn the lights off and how he never complains about his work, or how he loves the kids so much and this means so much to you because it makes you feel so loved and secure.  See what I mean?  That is definitely giving you "all the feels" and giving you a deeper connection to this gratitude and hence- giving you a deeper connection to him. The next time you look at him you may recall these feelings instead of first noticing that he has shmutz on his face, right?
  2. Noticing: Once you get good at being specific with your gratitude, you will start becoming a “NOTICER”.  You will pick up on the subtleties around you that you enjoy.  When this happens you will slowly start to train yourself to feel instant gratitude.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been on a walk on a beautiful day and been so overwhelmed by the things to be grateful for that I’ve been brought to tears.  Yup, total crazy lady walking down the street wiping tears, all snotted up, and talking to myself!  “Pull yourself together Mary Beth!”  When you train your brain to notice all the blessings around you, all the bad things start to fade in the background.  There is less anxiety and fear, there is less anger, and there is so much more enjoyment and love.  Literal elation!  If you are someone that suffers with anxiety, try really hard to pay attention to noticing.  When you feel the bad feelings creeping in, take a few slow deep breaths and ask yourself what you notice that you can be grateful for.  Works like a charm!
  3. Savoring:  This is something that I learned about from a free Yale University course I took online called The Science of Well-being.  When you are enjoying something, savor it just like you would a delicious piece of chocolate.  It helps the good feelings last and perpetuate.  Talk about the goodness and relay it to others.  Share what you’re most grateful for and think about what it would be like if you never had it. 
  4. Comparison gratitude- Sometimes to evoke the deepest feelings we have to do what I call “comparison gratitude”.  This is when you take what you’re grateful for and think about how fortunate you are for having it, think about others that don’t have it, or think about what it would be like to not have what you have.  For example, there are times when I feel fat or out of shape.  Instead of being grateful for my health and perfectly functioning body, I’ll harp on the few extra inches of chub I have and I’ll feel down.  But what would it be like to not have the health I have?  I may have some extra inches to love, but at least I can get around, I can run and jump and I have the ability to improve myself when there are so many other people less fortunate than me.  People have diseases, people are much more overweight to the point it infringes on their ability to enjoy life.  That isn’t the case for me!  I am grateful for this body, extra inches and all.  See how It works?  You can truly to this with anything.  It's looking at life through a different perspective and sometimes changing perspective is the most powerful tool we have to realize how wonderful life is and privileged we are.
  5. Visualization and meditation- this is when you have some extra time and really want to feel the feels.  Close your eyes, sit in a quiet spot, and guide yourself with positive thoughts, choosing things you are really and truly grateful for, and visualize more of them in your future.  Meditate on these thoughts, and say prayers of gratitude.  Our mind can go to grate places if we let it.
  6. Create a “gratitude board”-  Gratitude boards are my favorite way to create more happiness, abundance, and feelings of overall contentment with both the now and the future.  Think “vision board” but for gratitude, and instead of putting things you want for your future, you put things you already have.  The special thing about how I teach gratitude boarding is that it helps your really and truly have gratitude not only for what you have, but also who you are.  It helps cultivate more confidence and good feelings about your abilities therefore ALSO casts a vision for your future. You will complete the board with new gratitude for all aspects of your life and be super excited and optimistic about your future.


(TOP SECRET INFO- there is going to be a BONUS lesson in my Mindset Momma workshop series teaching Gratitude Boarding  STEP-BY-STEP!!  Make sure you sign up today! Sign up here!)


As you can see gratitude is so much more than just keeping a gratitude journal.  While this may be “a lot” at first, you have to understand that you do not have to do it all.  Any amount of practicing gratitude will create results in your life!  As time goes on gratitude begets more gratitude.  You seek out the good in the bad, you treat others better, and you in turn have a lasting effect on the world around you.  This is especially true for your children.  Gratitude helps with the brat-itude and the bad attitudes.  (We all need help with that, amiright?). They will learn from you and how you talk about it.  Wouldn't It be an amazing legacy to leave with them?  A way to look at life and create your future?  It all starts with you trying.  So give this a try!  

If you want more of this Gratitude for a Month challenge, make sure you follow along with me on social media, sign up for my newsletter, and sign up for my Mindset Momma workshop series!! See all I have to offer right here!!



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