I know that we are all inundated with news events that have placed so much stress on us! Our questionable economy, foreclosures, rising health care cost, military family away from home, and continued job loss has overwhelmed many. You may have read a similar article I wrote last year regarding showing gratitude but I think this act of kindness and acknowledgement only energizes and plant unknown positive possibilities for each of us to model and share.
Hopefully this article will bring some light, energy, and insight into the importance of finding ways to persevere through finding those things, people, and experiences past and present that has been the ingredient to help us continue under sometimes difficult and challenging circumstances.
The practice of gratitude as a tool for happiness has been in the mainstream for years. Long-term studies support gratitude’s effectiveness, suggesting that a positive, appreciative attitude contributes to greater success in work, greater health, peak performance in sports and business, a higher sense of well-being, and a faster rate of recovery from surgery.
But while we may acknowledge gratitude’s many benefits, it still can be difficult to sustain. So many of us are trained to notice what is broken, undone or lacking in our lives. Media rating are often determined by the number of newsworthy events which are usually about something terrible that has happened. And for gratitude to meet its full healing potential in our lives, it needs to become more than just a Thanksgiving word. We have to learn a new way of looking at things, a new habit. And that can take some time.
That’s why practicing gratitude makes so much sense. When we practice giving thanks for all we have, instead of complaining about what we lack, we give ourselves the chance to see all of life as an opportunity and a blessing.
Remember that gratitude isn’t a blindly optimistic approach in which the bad things in life are whitewashed or ignored. It’s more a matter of where we put our focus and attention. Pain and injustice exist in this world, but when we focus on the gifts of life, we gain a feeling of well-being. Gratitude balances us and gives us hope.
What will your Gratitude list look like this Thanksgivings? What will you do to go out of your way and beyond your personal circumstances to help someone this week?
Some Ways to Practice Gratitude
• Keep a gratitude journal in which you list things for which you are thankful. You can make daily, weekly or monthly lists. Greater frequency may be better for creating a new habit, but just keeping that journal where you can see it will remind you to think in a grateful way.
• Make a gratitude card from recent family or outdoor photos .
• Practice gratitude around the dinner table or make it part of your night time routine.
• Make a game of finding the hidden blessing in a challenging situation.
• When you feel like complaining, make a gratitude list instead. You may be amazed by how
much better you feel.
• Notice how gratitude is impacting your life. Write about it, sing about it, express thanks for gratitude.
As you practice, an inner shift begins to occur, and you may be delighted to discover how content and hopeful you are feeling. That sense of fulfillment is gratitude at work.
THANK YOU !
Curt Canada MSW is a leadership development and life coach in Washington, D.C.
Author’s content used under license, © 2008 Claire Communications