I recently returned from my Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) Forum retreat in Santa Barbara.

During our annual retreats, we learn tools that we can take both in our personal and entrepreneurial lives.

One of the things we learned was the Gratitude Protocol by Dr. Maria Nemeth. It’s a simple practice that disrupts anxiety and teaches us how to focus our brains.

Here’s how the Gratitude Protocol works.

The Gratitude Protocol

  1. Get two blank sheets of paper.
  2. On the first blank sheet of paper write at the top: “What I’m anxious about” and continue to describe the source of your anxiety in a few words. Make sure whatever you’re writing down makes you tense up.
  3. On the second blank sheet of paper, write: “What I’m grateful for”. It could be anything at all. Anything that opens your heart and allows your body to relax.
  4. Place the two papers side by side, with the anxious paper on the left and the gratitude paper on the right.
  5. Now, look at the anxious paper for seven seconds. No more, no less.
  6. Now, look at your grateful paper for 17 seconds. Focus upon what you wrote for 17 seconds. Neurophysiologically, this gives your brain time to shift mood states. As you focus upon your gratitude paper once your body sensations. Has there been a shift in your breathing, in the area around your heart?
  7. This is one repetition. You want to do three repetitions that constitute a set.
  8. Complete three “sets” per day, for at least five days using the same sheets of paper.
  9. After this exercise, take a moment to thank your brain as well as your body for going through this training with you.
  10. This simple acknowledgment allows the brain to further relax and know you’re a kind “boss”. A boss that’s partnering with the brain and treating it with dignity and respect.

When you practice these “sets,” you’re consciously telling your brain where to focus your attention, and for how long. You are systematically showing your brain who’s the boss. You’re shifting your relationship with your brain.

You’re experiencing what Julian Rotter, Ph.D. calls the “Internal Locus of Control.”

People with high Internal Locus of Control “own” their own experience. They’re happier, more successful, and generally have control over their lives because they know how to shift their focus.

If you want to develop this as a habit, practice the gratitude-only format for 30 days. If you miss a day, start the 30 days over again!

You know you’ve mastered the art and science of gratitude when your heart catches glimpses of joy.

Your heart beams as gratefulness opens the door.

We all hold the key.

Let me know how your journey with the Gratitude Protocol goes! I’d love to hear from you and what you’re grateful for!