Did you know one major component of a healthy, happy and thriving relationship is appreciation? Recent research by John Gottman has shown that “couples, while discussing problems, who make at least five times as many positive statements to and about each other and their relationship as negative ones are happier.” Heath and I are putting this new research into practice in our relationship with each other, and in our relationships with friends and family. We notice that when we lead our day or conversations with appreciations that we feel wonderful and refreshed with positive momentum! We feel closer, more connected and loved. We also notice that once we get started on appreciations, they begin to snowball and the process becomes self-reinforcing. We also became surprised that we were leaving our most important relationships out of the 5:1/appreciation to criticsim ratio: our relationship with our self.
There are days when the negative criticism and judgement cloud and pervade the day. The internal berrating can be endless and exhausting!…yuck!! Why not turn some of those outward appreciations inwardly, we thought. I’m very interested in consciously interrupting the pattern of “what’s wrong” and shift into a context of “what’s going right”. If you feel like me, I invite you to introduce a practice of appreciations into your daily routine. As I practice I notice this evolves into a much happier relationship with oneself and with the world and people around you.
For me, the simple shift into appreciations takes me from feeling ugly, depressed, stupid, and [fill in the blank] to filling my days with possibilities of connection, creativity and flow! My practice has led to a new habit of starting the day with appreciations. What was really surprising and wierd to me about this practice was I needed a little help to get me started. At first I had trouble coming up with things I could appreciate about myself. Experiement yourself: imagine five appreciations about yourself right now. So I wondered does anyone else have trouble finding different things, traits to appreciate?? In respose to my wonderings, I realized yes, some people do. Thank you Audrey Hazekamp for putting this list together and getting me started on the road of appreciation.
Included for you is a 7 day appreciation project or challenge. If you are open and willing to feel more valued, energised and loved then this challenge is for you!
For one week choose to lead your day with appreciations about yourself. Feel free to express your appreciations to yourself internally and out loud (maybe as you look at yourself in the mirror). Keep this page as an open tab on your phone, or print this out and place some place you are sure to see as you start the day. You may also find that as you open to more appreciations for yourself, more appreciations may naturally begin to spill over into all your relationships(lucky people!!).
7 days of Appreciation:
Day 1: Make easy touch contact with yourself and say inside and outside yourself ” I appreciate me” (touch your face, your shoulders, your knees as you say “I appreciate me”)
Day 2: I appreciate my skill in ___________ ( cooking, drawing, organizing, cleaning, decorating… feel free to appreciate more than one skill)
Day 3: Qualities I see and appreciate about me is __________ ( willingness to laugh, connect with others, compassion, clear boundaries)
Day 4: I appreciate how much I enjoy______________( good music, writing, moving my body, yoga)
Day 5: I see and appreciat my body, especially my______________( strong legs, soft belly, smile)
Day 6: I appreciate how I love to discover______________________( new techniques, unusual things about the place I live)
Day 7: I appreciate how I easily communicate about ______________(my dreams, my feelings, directions, anatomy)
As you notice the internal judge show up, you can now use appreciations as a way to shift from what’s wrong with you to what’s right with you. Remember to give yourself 5 appreciations for every 1 negative comment.
“Appreciation is the highest form of prayer, for it acknowledges the presence of good wherever you shine the light of your thankful thoughts.”