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Flexing Your Gratitude Muscle

By Batista Gremaud

Gratitude is recognizing and appreciating the good things in our lives, even when life is difficult. Research has shown that grateful people sleep better and have reduced stress and anxiety. As a result, they have lower levels of inflammation in their body and a more robust immune system.

Gratitude helps us build stronger relationships, making us appreciate others and their efforts more. Finally, gratitude can motivate us to give back to others and make positive life changes.

Gratitude helps us by acknowledging all of the good in our lives and not taking it for granted. A more optimistic approach can lead to increased happiness, positivity, alertness, and joyfulness.

There are many good reasons to focus on appreciation and gratitude to improve every aspect of our lives, physical, emotional, and mental.

Not everyone is born with a silver spoon and the ability to experience gratitude; as we navigate life's many challenges, often, our ability to feel compassion becomes dull or resentful. Self-sabotage often comes from a lack of appreciation.

A compelling emotion with many layers and levels, gratitude is like a muscle; if you don't use it, you lose it.

How To Build Your Gratitude Muscle

Level 1: No gratitude.

You're so stuck in negative thoughts that you can't even recognize things you should be grateful for.

Tip: Smile more

When we smile, our brain releases endorphins, reducing stress and improving our mood and overall well-being. Additionally, smiling is contagious, so when we see someone else smiling, it can trigger a domino effect of feel-good hormones.

Level 2: Recognize things and people you are grateful for

Tip: Keep a grateful journal

Carry a notebook to write down things you are grateful for when they happen in real-time. You can also take mental notes and journal these at the end of the day. Getting into this habit will help prepare you for the next level.

Level 3: Gratitude for what's coming.

This is higher-level thinking. It's the ability to experience gratitude in advance and to be grateful for something that hasn't happened yet but is coming. There's a quote that goes with this level of appreciation that I love: If your mind can conceive it, and your heart can believe, you can achieve it!

Tip: Practice visualization and create mock-up boards

Visualizations and creating mock-up boards are powerful tools that can help you manifest your goals. Making a mental image of what you want to achieve helps you:

  • Get clear on what you want

  • Take the necessary actions to achieve your goals

  • Stay motivated and focused

  • Overcome obstacles

Level 4: Acceptance

Acceptance is seeing things as they are without wanting to change them. It is about being ok with that in the moment or unforeseen future.


  • Become aware of your thoughts and feelings. Notice when you resist what is happening beyond your control and try to let go of that feeling. Acceptance doesn't mean that you are happy with the situation but rather at peace with it.

  • Practice mindfulness, a form of meditation that helps you focus on the present moment. This can help you to notice when your thoughts are straying into resistance territory and bring them back to the here and now.

  • Practice self-care: Self-care helps you stay physically and mentally healthy, cope with stress and manage your emotions. It sends messages that you deserve love, happiness, and health. It boosts self-esteem and body confidence. Self-care helps you relax and de-stress, making accepting difficult situations or people easier. Finally, it helps focus on the positive aspects of your life, making it easier to accept the things you cannot change.

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Acceptance is a process that doesn't happen overnight. It takes time and practice to change our thinking patterns, but it is possible to learn to accept the things we cannot change.

It takes wisdom, experience, and time to get to this point, but life becomes much easier once you do. When you accept that the universe is always looking out for your best interest, you can be grateful when things "don't work out" because you know they always do. Those undesirable circumstances are lessons to be learned, not "the end of the world" or "a disaster." On the contrary, they're necessary to achieve tremendous success and happiness.

Level 5: There's no such thing as good or bad.

There are no problems, only solutions; it is up to us to find them. Calling something a problem is a personal choice. Here lies the great mystery of duality, the Yin and Yang of all things.

Experiences have no meaning until we assign meaning to them.

We get to decide what that meaning is consciously or unconsciously. But then, the thoughts and beliefs we associate with that experience result in specific actions, which create a result.

If you don't like the results you're getting, reverse engineer them and figure out what thinking is causing them … and what beliefs created that thinking.

If you're new to this thinking, start with Level 2. Practice recognizing and recording people and things you're grateful for … and do it daily.

When things come up, and you feel unsupported, know that there are good and bad days, and tomorrow might be the best of your life, so you want to stick around.

Gratitude grounds you in the center of your being and gives you the purpose to move on.

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Batista Gremaud is the CEO and president of Dr. Fitness International, International Body Designer, Strength Training Expert, No1 Best Selling author of Feminine Body Design, Empowering Fitness For A Pain-Free Life, co-creator of the Feminine Body Design online strength training mentoring system, co-host of the Esoteric Principles of Bodybuilding, and producer of the Dr. Fitness USA’s show; Recipient of the most outstanding fitness program 2019 by The Winners Circle, Mastermind at Sea.

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