Can Your Gratitude Practice Stress You Out?

(It's ok to say yes... and I have a solution!)

A friend and colleague of mine, Jennie, recently posted a v-log on her YouTube Channel called “Your Gratitude Journal May Be Sabotaging Your Success”.  Of course, you know I PM’d her to let her know I loved her piece and that I did have commentary on it.

Now, I want to preface that Jennie is also a coach and she helps people dress down their inner critic to build up their self-image and move forward from a place of inner strength.  Most people, and especially other coaches would think - why the heck is Michele, a coach herself that helps people (re)discover their inner power, passion, and divinity, writing about another coach’s work when essentially we do the same thing.  Oh contrare mon frere (or soeur as the case may be).

Most of you know that I am “woo” or, in fancy terms, a 4th generation intuitive medium who works in heavy connection with spirit on a daily basis (If you didn’t - SURPRISE! I am woo).  In fact, I use my intuitive gifts in both readings and my coaching.  I also coach fellow “woos” or spiritualists or metaphysicians if you want to get REALLY fancy to re-align their current human lives with their spiritual purpose. 

Coach Jennie is actually a self-described atheist meaning she doesn't believe in anything spiritual, religious, or supernatural.  You would think she and I, being an uber spiritualist, would have no common ground but we do.  In fact, we do a lot of the same things but from different perspectives.  AND in fact, when I needed some really grounding and practical help, I called upon her to be my coach because, for a woo, being around an atheist is probably the most grounded advice and help you’re going to get.  I mean there is no blaming retrograde (no matter how much I KNOW it to be true) in this working relationship.

And in our current political climate of extreme polarization, you would think there is no place for Jennie and me to even be friends, much less colleagues, who discuss things and actually (OH MY GAH!) agree on some stuff. BUT in reality - it is ok to not only like and be friends with someone who is different than you but also to actually discuss your differences and level up your thought process.

ALL THAT SAID to give you some perspective on how I came to not only find this vlog post but to actually know the person who posted it AND we are friends.  So my commentary on it is in fact from a place of knowledge, opinion, and love.

So, the gist of Jennie’s vlog is that when we think of the traditional gratitude practice, which usually involves going out, buying a special journal, a special pen maybe, and then creating a ritual around this of something like setting aside time every morning and night to journal about all the things we are grateful for because we heard from the Oprah (who I do love by the way) or some other coaching guru, that this is what we are supposed to do - ACK!  It can cause us so much stress that our inner naysayer (who Jennie calls Hilda by the way - you can check out her book about it by clicking here) can pipe up and start causing problems.  Meaning, if you can’t keep to this practice or “do it perfectly” you are “not good enough”, not manifesting right, or that because you are grateful - you are not allowed to want more.

So, I actually called Jennie and we talked. I totally get where she is coming from but I also felt like there was a piece missing… So here’s my take…and I wanted to share it with y’all.

Gratitude is a feeling that needs to be put into action.  Gratitude journals are great, especially for those who are journalers.  I know tons of folks who live and die by their journals.  They have all kinds of journals and they love them.  I, however, am not one of them.  I do journal but not every day. Thinking you have to journal every day, twice a day can stress those of us out who don’t best express ourselves via written introspection.  Everyone one is different and everyone practices gratitude differently.

Much like I talked about how there is more than one way to meditate in my How To Meditate When You Say You Can’t, there are traditional and non-traditional ways to practice gratitude.

Fun non-traditional ways are doing things that are inspired action oriented like…

  • writing a thank you note for someone’s friendship
  • holding the door for another person
  • actually using a gift someone gave you instead of keeping it hidden away so it doesn’t get broken
  • actually wearing that jewelry you inherited instead of waiting for a special occasion
  • spending money you have earned with a view of blessing rather than fear

All of the above are expressions of gratitude in action.  Each is you showing gratitude in a physical act:

  • I am grateful for your friendship
  • I am grateful to the person who held the door for me at the last place
  • I LOVE this gift my bestie gave me and I am going to use the heck out of it! If it breaks well then it breaks because I used it so much and am grateful
  • I LOVE this ring from my grandma and you know what, I can wear it every day if I want because I am grateful to have the reminder of her love
  • I love blessing those who work at the electric company with my payment.  The electric company blessed me with power and faith that I could pay this bill and I pay it with joy and gratitude so I bless the people that work there with money that goes towards their pay checks.

So you see, gratitude isn’t about trying to fit yourself into a practice that doesn’t work for you.  It’s about a mindset and a feeling of high vibration - and why kill that buzz by trying to fit into a box that involves journaling or Instagram or some other things that your favorite teacher said was THE WAY to do it.  One size most definitely does not fit all.  

Wanting More… in the Woo we call it Expansion…

The second point of Jennie’s video I want to make sure everyone is clear on is the “wanting more” cause I totally agree with the point that one can be both grateful and expand.

To me, showing gratitude in action actually proves to our inner naysayer, ourselves, and the Universe that we are capable of creating the blessings which we seek.  I was super grateful for the KitchenAid Mixer I manifested a few years back.  I use it at least 3x per week and I got it for free!  YES PEEPS - FREE!  I manifested that shit!  And I am grateful every day for it (especially when I am making homemade whipped cream!).  My gratitude is a reminder that I actually am permitted to want more and in Law of Attraction that permission is called expansion.  In fact, when I recently intended for one of those new presser cookers, I thought of my mixer and how much I love it and how great it works and how grateful I am for it…and low and behold within a week I was gifted one of those new-fangled pressure cookers and it is EFFING AWESOME!  Yep - manifested that shit too!  Thank you Gratitude!  LOL!

Once we receive a manifestation out of our vortex there’s a few things going on.  Our vibe goes up because, let’s be honest, we are all, “HOLY SHIT!  I DID THAT!” and then - there’s a big gratitude fest.  Our vibe totally soars!  From that space, we usually start thinking - what else can I manifest??  And with human beings our vibe goes up and down but when we experience gratitude for something it spikes again.  From a physiological perspective, Dr. Joe Dispenza teaches that your brain never experiences anything in past or future tense.  Only in the present - even memories.  This is why when we remember something intense (happy, sad, or traumatic) we have such a visceral reaction.  It’s as if you are reliving that experience in the now because you are.  

Same is true with gratitude.  When we are grateful, we are remembering a time when we were happy to receive something.  It could’ve been a feeling, a thing, a person, or something else and in that gratitude, we are reliving that happy, high vibe memory. And of course, high vibes are where we want to be so we are manifesting what we want since we are manifesting everything in every minute.

On a more spiritual plane, gratitude is evidentiary proof that when we decided to expand or ask for something more, we are given it upon our release of resistance to it.  Since we, as human beings, love evidentiary proof of past things to base future things on - this is HUGE.

So in all honesty, I do agree that sometimes if we put our gratitude practices in the box given to us by our favorite spiritual teachers, yes it can be stressful.  If we buy into old thought processes and lack mindset - again old programming - of if you want more you are greedy rather than living abundantly, then of course gratitude can feel low vibe.

However, once we realize that gratitude is not something to achieve or hold us back but something to do and feel authentically and in fact, the “better feeling thought” we can always reach for, as Abraham says, then my friends we are on track for an abundance mindset.

Lastly, I want to say I am grateful to my friend and colleague Coach Jennie and for her friendship.  The funny thing is I know I manifested her because the way I found her was not through any of the channels she had played out.  And to this day - she asked me how we found each other and I always say, “I manifested you.”  And she rolls her eyes and says, “Uh huh - of course, you did…”  And we laugh - she thinks it was Google’s algorithm.  Jennie is a great sounding board for me and grounding when I am hanging out way too often in my upper chakras - even if she doesn’t believe I have those.  It’s ok - light and love Coach Jennie! (SIDEWAYS WINK!)

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Michele Stans is a Certified Holistic Life Coach, 4th Generation Intuitive Medium and a 30yr New Thought and Law of Attraction student, practitioner, and teacher. Click here for instant access to her Manifesting Magic Tool Kit!