In this article I will show you how to greatly magnify your life changing gratitude attitude by harnessing an innate ability of the mind to respond to symbols.
The power of symbols
Symbols passed to us from our culture, race, peers, social groups, family and the mass media strongly influence our lives. These symbols, or ways of thinking, become embedded in our subconscious (the part of us that we are not consciously aware of) and influence how we respond to and interact with our environment. For example, most people when they see the golden arches of a stylized M will automatically begin to think about hamburgers and fries and maybe even start to feel hungry.
A written word, a green light, a flag, an evergreen tree decorated with baubles, bunting, a business suit and a police uniform are all symbols that can elicit an unconscious response from you. Basically, symbols are condensed representations that point towards ideas or entities that have a higher level of complexity than the symbol itself.
We naturally respond to things that have become symbols
You can use our natural proclivity to react to and process symbols to enhance and reinforce habits that you are consciously trying to establish. Here I invite you to create a symbol using a common object and use it to help you develop an enduring sense of gratitude. It works the same way as a child’s comfort blanket or a teddy bear.
Find an object that can be a symbol for gratitude
To do this find an object that can fit in the palm of your hand; it could be a nice round stone, a piece of drift wood, a marble or a piece of pottery. It doesn’t really matter what it is as long as you feel a certain attraction to the object and it feels comfortable in your hand. As you do your gratitude exercises hold the object in your hand. (you will find various gratitude exercises in this blog series)
The talisman will spontaneously trigger a sense of gratitude.
Keep the object with you. Play with it when your hands are idle. As you develop the connection between the object and being thankful, touching it will become associated with the internal states associated with gratitude. Thus, you won’t even have to think of things to be thankful for to generate a feeling of gratitude; all you have to do is hold, or even see, the object (talisman). The talisman will begin to act like a trigger that will switch on the positive states associated with Gratitude.
Give it try.
Gratitude exercise # 6
Finding a talisman
Today’s exercise is to find a talisman to use as described above. You might like to take trip to the seaside or the bush or somewhere you are likely to find a suitable object. The more meaningful, memorable and enjoyable you make the effort to find your talisman the more rapport you are likely to have with it and the more effective it is likely to be.
As you go about your day play with your talisman and imagine sending a sense of gratitude into it as you note things to be thankful for.
Be aware of what, if any, impact this practice has on your general sense of wellbeing.
- 1.Gratitude: how thankfulness can turbo-charge your life.
- 2.Gratitude: the scientifically proven benefits of being thankful.
- 3.30 transformational quotes about thankfulness and gratitude that will transform you day.
- 4.How to turn everyday items into a source of joy by being thankful.
- 5.How to harness the potent force of gratitude during the spare moments of your day.
- 6.Turbocharge your gratitude attitude by harnessing the power of a talisman.
- 7.Radically change how you relate to people by saying “thank you” with sincerity.