Our attitude/emotions effect our behavior (this we already know). But the opposite is true too; Our behavior DOES influence our emotions as well.
With that being said, what we say to ourselves (and others) can completely change our perspective and cultivate gratitude.
Here is a neat trick I have discovered that has been invaluable in cultivating gratitude (and ultimately joy) for me: Replace the phrase “have to” with “get to”.
“Have to” is a chore. Makes the mind feel like we have an obligation we would rather not have:
- I have to pick up my daughter from school.
- I have to clean the home.
- I have to go grocery shopping.
“Get to” is a privilege. Makes the mind more appreciative of the task ahead. Makes us view our tasks as small adventures, opportunities for joy. Also, it forces makes us step outside ourselves to see the task from a broader perspective:
- I get to pick up my daughter from school. (A wonderful time to bond with her. Cultivate connection)
- I get to clean the home. (So you have a shelter you can be grateful for. Too many are not so fortunate).
- I get to go grocery shopping. (You have the means not only to feed yourself and family, But LOOK AT THE WONDERFUL VARIETY.)
It can be difficult remember to have gratitude on the fly when we need it at a moments notice. But if we can remember key phrases that we use as “red flags” during our comings and goings, we can catch ourselves at appropriate moments to be grateful. “I have to” is one such red flag.
Side Note: If there is ever a time when “get to” can’t replace “have to” for a specific task we have, this is a clear red flag that this is a task that adds no value to our life. Time to minimize.