Thank you for signing up for my Waking up the Warrior Within Newsletter. This month I’m taking a break from our normal newsletter format. I want to share something from my heart that I believe will be life-empowering for you; cultivating the virtue of gratitude.

Have you noticed that most everyone is on a life-long quest to find happiness in their lives?

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Elusive Journey

Sadly, many people go to great lengths and spend a vast amount of resources, energy, and time endlessly searching for what will make them happy. Their focus is usually on external circumstances and material possessions; thinking that this route is the magic formula for a happy life. Most fail to realize that the quest for this seemingly elusive positive emotion is so easily accessible; effortlessly within their own reach.

What is the secret to unearthing this state of happiness? It’s beyond simplistic and found in one internal trait; a grateful heart. Gratitude is both a virtue and a strength that lies within each and every one of us and comes with transformative benefits.

“Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for.” – Zig Ziglar

In this newsletter, I will share some very profound insights on what gratitude is and how cultivating this virtuous trait will help you live a happier life.

Meaningful Life

Gratitude is a powerful human emotion. It is an appreciation for what is meaningful in your life and allows you to more clearly focus on the positive aspects of your life rather than magnifying ungrateful thoughts which fosters apathy and entitlement.

According to numerous studies in the fields of Positive Psychology and Mindfulness Research, gratitude is one of the personal strengths most connected to the experience of having a meaningful life. It is considered an indispensable tool for improving life-satisfaction and is essential for experiencing happiness.

Brain Research

Did you know that gratitude has the capacity to change and strengthen your brain?

Gratitude increases dopamine production which encourages your brain to seek more of the same; thus gratitude begets even more gratitude.

UCLA’s Mindfulness Awareness Research Center’s findings state that regularly expressing gratitude changes the molecular structure of the brain, keeps the grey matter functioning, and makes us healthier and happier.

Seeking Gratitude - Waking Up the Warrior Within NewsletterBenefits

Groundbreaking research conducted by Robert Emmons, the world’s leading scientific expert on gratitude, overwhelming proves the fact that expressing gratitude is highly beneficial to all of us; physically, psychologically, and socially. Some of the physical benefits of gratitude are that it lowers blood pressure, reduces stress, improves immune function, and enhances your quality of sleep.

Emmons’s research was in no way limited to physical benefits. Some of the positive psychological findings reported were that gratitude reduces the risk factor of depression, increases resilience, enhances optimal functioning, and boosts life satisfaction.

In addition to enriching lives at a physical and psychological level, Emmons found that those who practice gratitude also enhanced their lives at a social level. It has been shown to promote healthy behavior, improve relationships, and enhance social skills.

As you can see, exercising gratitude has a dramatic and lasting impact on our lives.

“I soon discovered that gratitude is a deeper, more complex phenomenon that plays a critical role in human happiness. Gratitude is literally one of the few things that can measurably change people’s lives.” – Robert Emmons

Gratitude Set Point

Cultivating gratitude is a skill that can be learned; you can train yourself to be a more grateful person. All of us have what is called a gratitude set point; some people score more on the negative side, others are more naturally inclined to be grateful. This set point can be adjusted simply by changing what you focus on. In essence, it has the potential to increase your happiness level.

5 Life-Enhancing Routines to Cultivate Gratitude

  1. Set a Timer

Starting the routine of being grateful as soon as you wake up in the morning is a great way to frame your day and prime your brain pump to be grateful. Set a timer for one minute as soon as you get out of bed and list all the things you are thankful or grateful for.

  1. Journal

I highly recommend making journaling part of your daily routine. In and of itself journaling has been shown to have life-changing benefits.

Most gratitude experts recommend keeping a Gratitude Journal. I tend to be a bit of a rebel and I know human nature; keeping two journals might set you up to fail. I highly recommend that you journal and in your daily journaling, weave gratitude into it. Start and end with 3 things you are grateful for. Keep it simple.

  1. Practice Mindfulness

The art and science of mindfulness keeps your mind in the present and this allows you to focus on the positive aspects of your life. This helps you build a happiness mindset and improves your life satisfaction.

  1. Reflect

Our human nature tends to operate out of a negatively bias; we may have so many positive experiences throughout our day but we focus on what went wrong. Reflecting on what went right changes that perspective and fosters gratitude.

At the end of the day when your head hits the pillow, reflect on your day and zone in and recall all the things you can be grateful for; basically, count your blessings.

  1. Write Thank-You Notes

I’ve mentioned that I am a bit of a rebel; if someone says zig, I like to zag. In this world inundated with digital communication, I’ve gone in another direction. I’ve started the practice of writing hand-written thank-you notes. It is a lost art but one that has also been shown to promote gratitude.

2020: New Year New You Hype

The buzz these days is 20/20; everyone is looking for a new enhanced life in the upcoming year 2020. I’m here to tell you that if you are seeking to have better health, deeper relationships, and increased productivity, I strongly suggest you intentionally start today to develop a plan to cultivate gratitude into your daily life.

A study conducted at the University of Scranton showed that only 8% of people who made New Year’s resolutions fulfilled them in a timely matter if at all. Don’t be in the 92% of people who quit. I’ve just armed you with enough information to dramatically change your life. Simply by adding a few incredibly uncomplicated and doable actions to your daily routine, you have the potential to create a happier and more meaningful life for yourself.

Positively viewing your circumstances is a much better way to experience life. This practice alone will give you the life you want in 2020.

I am very grateful to all of you and from my home to yours, may you have a warm and wonderful Thanksgiving.

Keep believing,


Remember: Nothing is Impossible



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Rita Hudgens

Leadership and Personal Development Coach at Transform University
Rita is a Performance Improvement Coach. Her mission is simple; she helps entrepreneurs, achievers, and leaders make positive changes in their behavior. She empowers her clients so they are more in control of their present which in turn gives them a greater sense of self-confidence. She creates a safe environment for them and builds on their values, passions and strengths so that they can achieve their personal and professional goals.

Rita helps her clients:
• Embrace their true potential
• Change their limiting beliefs/thoughts
• Create Purpose
• Live Empowered, Confident, and Successful Lives
Rita Hudgens
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