How To Create An Attitude Of Gratitude
Does it matter?
As I turn the corner from summer to autumn, I am gently guided toward the holiday season. My favorite holiday of the year is Thanksgiving, and just thinking about it gives me goosebumps! Preparing the Thanksgiving feast creates a flood of wonderful feelings and memories. There is something truly magical about celebrating a holiday dedicated to giving thanks. So, why not create an attitude of gratitude and enjoy the positive feeling it brings every day? Do we forget, or is it just easier to just to be negative?
A Grateful Heart Is A Healthy Heart
In a recent “Psychology Today” article, Author Amy Morin points out showing gratitude and acknowledging the good things in your life improves your relationships, physical and mental health, self-esteem and resilience. Studies show folks with a positive, grateful attitude have lower blood pressure, sleep better and are less likely to develop addictions to drugs or alcohol than their negative thinking counterparts. By far, the benefits of showing gratitude far outweigh the effort it takes to stay positive.
It is so easy today to get caught up in negativity. We are bombarded with it through so many forms of media 24/7. So how do we tune it out? Here are a few tips to help you tune out the negative noise and change the dial to the positive channel.
To Feel Grateful Is To Feel Positive
One of the easiest ways to develop an attitude of gratitude is to remind yourself daily of the good things in your life. Start by creating a Gratitude Journal. Write down the positive things that happen daily. Mention the people you appreciate having in your life and why. Express thanks for your health, income, job, weather, acts of kindness, etc. As you drift off to sleep, review your list in your head. This is a much healthier alternative to thinking about things you need to do the next day. Or, worse, remembering what went wrong or annoyed you throughout the day!
After developing this habit, pay attention to your personal mental shift. What happens when you focus on what makes you happy and grateful? Here’s a hint – more of it shows up! What we focus on expands. By noticing and acknowledging the good things in your life, more good things will show up.
Fake It Till You Make It
Smile! Look in a mirror, and grin like your life depends on it! Feel what happens. Your mood instantly shifts! You cannot be negative and smile at the same time (try it and you will see!).
Think about a happy memory when something happened, or someone did something you were grateful for. Really step into the feeling of gratitude. Maybe it was your first good job. Or a time when someone cut you some slack when you messed up. Or, someone gave your child a much needed leg up. How did it change your life? Really get into the emotion of the event.
Hold that thought. How do you feel now?
Write A Letter
Write a letter to a person that made a difference in your life. They can be alive or deceased. If they are alive, send them the letter. If they are deceased, keep it with your Gratitude Journal. I had a teacher in the 8th grade that I absolutely loved for the way she believed in me. I ran into her many years after sitting in her classroom. Instead of exchanging a quick hello, I asked her if she had a moment to talk. I took the opportunity to thank her for the way she impacted my life, and provided examples of how I use her teachings in my daily life. She was moved to tears. She said she taught for over 50 years, and this was the first time a student thanked her. Can you imagine? Working in the same profession for that length of time, and not getting a thank you? Think about the people that crossed your path over the years. Does anyone need and deserve a heart-felt expression of gratitude?
Just Say Thank You
Say “thank you” every chance you get. It can be for the smallest or largest experience, it doesn’t matter. A couple of years ago, I attended a conference in New Orleans. It was my first experience visiting the city, and thoroughly enjoyed the food and atmosphere. On the final evening of the conference, we were invited to a “Taste of New Orleans” banquet. There were several food stations around the venue, and two women were in charge of our group. At the end of the evening, I approached them to thank them for their hospitality. One responded by saying “thank you for another day’s employment”. It wasn’t just the words I will always remember. Her radiant smile and joy stayed with me to this day. When I feel I am having a tough day and my job seems hard, I think of her genuine expression of gratitude for work. You can’t be frustrated and grateful at the same time!
So, how do you express gratitude? Has any of this struck a chord with you? Please let me know by emailing me at: tnicklas@wealthcoachforwomen. Thank you for reading!