Is Gratitude a state? A trait? A practice? A habit? Perhaps all of the above. I had the opportunity to interview Jen Mazer, The Queen of Manifestation, about gratitude. It was a fun challenge to abbreviate our rich conversation into a blog post, so please enjoy some of my favorite takeaways:
Gratitude is appreciating life. It doesn’t need to be about what you’ve externally created or experienced, but just the awareness of existence and gratitude that you’re here. What a miracle that you’re alive and you’re in this body and you’re breathing, and your heart is beating. No matter what kind of abled person you are, can you pause and notice that you can smell … and see … and taste? If we can come back into connecting to and appreciating all that does work well … it’s a beautiful experience.
What you’re grateful for expands. When you’re noticing and you appreciate life and can feel grateful even just for your body and your spirit, then you’re approaching your life from a different place. You don’t feel lack. You don’t feel like you’re not enough, or that life is against you. You just come and you go out into the world from a different place of wonder and awe … so you’re able to notice and experience more joy and happiness.
It doesn’t matter what’s happening externally because it starts from within. When you are filled up and you’re grateful for your life energetically, you vibrate at a higher frequency. That’s a magnet for other things you want in your life. When people feel that you’re showing up with appreciation, they’re more drawn to you because you’re not coming to life acting like a victim and feeling like life is working against you. Instead, even if there are trying and difficult external circumstances, you’re coming to life with a focus on what is good. Good things are happening everywhere, but you might not have been seeing them because you’ve been so focused on the bad. The more you just start to pay attention to and seek out the good things, you’re going to notice they’re everywhere if you look.
“Gratitude is a practice just like anything else – a daily practice. And for some people, it comes very naturally. I naturally go to a state of gratitude and am a positive person. I have my moments, like everybody does. But for other people, it’s not natural. Having a practice helps it become a habit and helps your brain go to that place more naturally. This practice is a discipline.”
Jen encourages people to start with a writing practice: writing at least three things you feel grateful for everyday. This helps reprogram your subconscious mind to find the good. “Chances are you end up finding many more than 3 things because you remember, ‘Oh my gosh, this happened too. And this. And this.’ And you might end up with a page of gratitude. Writing it down can help you expand and find connections.” Getting started is the hardest part, but once you do, the practice can be very easy and only takes a few minutes. You just have to figure out how to bring this practice into your routine and commit to it. Is it in the morning? Is it when you sit down at your computer, or is it going to be after dinner or at bedtime? Or maybe you weave it into conversation with your family at dinner.
Ahhh, another one of my favorite topics: how to create the HABIT! 😉
If we’re going through our day and we know that we’re going to write our gratitude later, we’re probably looking for the good all throughout our day versus thinking about what isn’t working or thinking about what we’re going to post on social media or whatever. Right. It’s shifting our focus now to: ooh, that’s interesting, that happened. Oh, I’m so grateful for that… It just shifts energetically how you’re being, and the results that are coming to you because you’re showing up from a place of the glass being full versus empty.
Do you see a connection between mindfulness and gratitude?
“Mindfulness is awareness. And becoming aware and grateful for everything. I think it’s helpful, especially for people who aren’t feeling joy and are feeling anxiety, to stop, drop and practice gratitude. Because gratitude grounds you in the present. When you’re feeling fearful or anxious, you’re either replaying something from your past or you’re worried about something from the future that hasn’t happened and may not ever happen. Gratitude can help you shift to the present and notice what IS good.”
Gratitude & Synchronicities
“I love adding synchronicities into the gratitude practice because when we start thinking about or journaling about coincidences…‘I was thinking about that person and then they called,’ or ‘I went to that cafe and I ran into someone in line and we started a conversation and we talked about this thing and whatever.’ Small, little synchronicities, tiny things… the more that we notice them again, the more that we kind of have that magnifying glass or those rose-colored glasses, the more that we start to see them everywhere. It’s gratitude expanding. Think for example, you test drive a specific car model, like a Tesla. And then all of a sudden, you start seeing Teslas everywhere. Why? The Teslas existed everywhere before, but you weren’t noticing them. And because you just test drove the car or you’re thinking about buying that model, you start to see them everywhere. Well, the same thing with gratitude.” Start paying attention and you’ll see there’s good everywhere. Start journaling synchronicities and you’ll start to experience them more.
How to find gratitude when life is hard
What you pay attention to expands. That’s the whole Law of Attraction. If we’re always focusing on or complaining about what’s not working and not looking for solutions, we’re gossiping or just talking without solution. Gratitude practice is: even with the stuff that’s happening, we’re working on finding the good. Maybe something unplanned happened or something didn’t go the way you hoped, but can we shift to deciding it’s okay, because this is making space for something better? Or maybe this obstacle taught me this lesson, and I’m grateful that I learned this lesson. Or maybe this helped me build more strength.
“Being grateful is not excusing whoever caused harm or whatever happened in situations of pain or trauma. But it’s simply finding the opportunity to extract some sort of lesson or positive growth opportunity from what happened. That is a choice and a practice.”
Fun tip to encourage gratitude in others
One of my favorite things Jen does and encourages just in conversation with others is to ask others, “What’s new and good?” instead of asking, “How are you?” which can lead to someone complaining. When you instead say, “Hey, what’s new and good?”… You’re helping the other person through conversation and relationship to focus on what’s going well. It’s a gratitude practice, and they don’t even realize it. And it’s not annoying, or overly positive or spiritual.
“It simply helps others focus on what is new and good. Boom. It’s helping them subtly shift.”
The Power of Language
Another powerful concept Jen teaches is the importance of switching your, “I have to” to “I get to.” It’s the same thing on your TO DO list, but you start to see that you’re in control and it’s a choice to participate in the life you created. And you find the good in it. ie. “I get to write what I’m grateful for.” When you make this switch, it puts you back into the driver’s seat. You’re not a victim of your circumstances. You get back in control because you still have choices no matter what has happened externally. You chose to be either here, married, in a family, in this career, in this house, or whatever. By saying, ‘I get to,’ you recognize, ‘OOH, this is a choice. I’m not a victim. I get to. I can change my thoughts right now, and that will affect the outcome that I experience in the future.’ And that’s what gratitude does by us being grateful right now.
What do you suggest when others are in a more negative space?
“It’s not like we can’t look at the negative. We want to honor emotion. The root word is motion. We want to feel our emotions. We want to allow them to move through us because otherwise they’re going to get stuck and we’re going to pretend that we’re positive and we’re not, and we’re going to have a breakdown one day because we’re holding all this stuff inside.
That’s not the point, right? Right. The point is we want to be honest with our emotions, but then how can we pivot even through gratitude? We might journal all the stuff and just empty the bucket that we’re upset about this or that, but then can we pivot to what might also be going well? By going into the gratitude, we can expand that further. And that’s fine too. There’s no right or wrong with a gratitude practice, right? But it’s still allowing ourselves to shift into that and expand it.
I was just with a client earlier who’s very well known in her field, and very established. All of a sudden, she went into this negative place. All I did was acknowledge where she was but then pivoted the conversation to ask about a great thing that had also just happened – going back and forth between the positive and the negative. Both sides exist. We can choose to look at all the bad things that are happening because they’re there. Or we can choose to expand on the positive. It’s okay to look at the negative, but also acknowledging the positives can help when we go back to the negative – that negative situation doesn’t hold that same resonance.”
Thank you for our wonderful conversation Jen, and the meaningful work you do, and for ending our time with the beautiful quote that resonates so deeply for both of us:
“What you appreciate appreciates!” ~Lynne Twist
Jen Mazer, the Queen of Manifestation, is a sought-after transformational speaker and coach. She teaches people how to manifest their biggest dreams while making an impact on the world. She’s the author of Manifesting Made Easy (Simon & Schuster), and Co-Founder of the board game Sparked. Her work has been featured in the New York Times, Fast Company, New York Magazine, Real Simple, Cosmopolitan, Inc., ABC, and more.
What are you grateful for today?
Take a couple minutes out of your day to create/reinforce the habit of gratitude. Even and especially if it's a hard day. Where can you notice something beautiful or meaningful? Who can you thank? What might be a lesson or blessing in disguise? Take a deep breath. Become present and choose gratitude. ♥