“Good times and bum times, I’ve seen them all and, my dear, I’m still here”
Those of you that know me or who read my blog know that the past couple of years have been pretty rough for me for numerous reasons. Through it all I’ve survived and in some ways I’ve even thrived. A big thanks for this goes to my Spiritual Tribe, Gina & Kathi, Debra & Mark, Ryan & Beth, Jeff & Sivaramakrishnan…
It’s so easy to get side swept by everything that’s going wrong; trust me, I know. Maybe you’re not feeling 100 percent, or work is inducing stress. Possibly you got into a fight with a significant other and wish that exchange never occurred. Now what happens if you exert a sense of gratitude? What if you focus on everything that is going right?
Thank goodness you’re in general good health, and at least you have work to do (however frustrating it can be). Fighting also never is enjoyable, but you know that the connection between the two of you certainly can override the rocky grounds. When realizing that there can always be gratefulness for what you do have, you will be one step closer to peace.
Gratitude, to me, is many things — it is appreciation; it’s looking on the bright side of a setback; it is thanking someone in your life (re: Spiritual Tribe peeps listed above); it is thanking God; it is ‘counting blessings.’ More than anything it is savoring life & not taking things for granted.
“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”
Expressing gratitude has several benefits. People who are grateful are likely to be happier, hopeful and energetic, and they possess positive emotions more frequently. Individuals also tend to be more spiritual or religious, forgiving, empathetic and helpful, while being less depressed, envious or neurotic. My friends Molly & Rose both publicly express their gratitude publicly daily via Facebook, and they are both two vibrant, happy and beautiful women
I recently watched an amazing Ted Talk — Shawn Achor: The Happy Secret to Better Work. The gist of his talk is that happiness inspires one to lead a more productive life. Achor states that one of the most powerful tools we have to create or change our state is by expressing gratitude. Shawn Achor demonstrates that by publicly sharing gratitude for three things over a 30 day period you will change your state to one of happiness and joy.
For me, gratitude fosters happiness, making it easier to cope with stress and upset. A positive perspective allows me to obtain a better grasp on life. The greatest benefit is it helps me adjust, move on, and strive to begin anew.
“Let gratitude be the pillow upon which you kneel to say your nightly prayer.” Maya Angelou
There are so many ways to express gratitude, one of which is to compose a letter to someone who has had a great impact on your life. You can read it to the person face-to-face or over the phone. Another is to keep a gratitude journal. Write down the things you are grateful for each day. And when the going gets tough, you have something to remind you there is hope. A fantastic way to show gratitude is thru service. By serving someone you say thank you. When I do the dishes, or fold the laundry, or set up for my Dad’s card club I’m showing them my gratitude; I’m thanking them. And the best way of showing gratitude? Telling someone Thank You to their face; it’s a great way to express gratitude. Not only do your words say thank you, your body language will convey your sincerity as well.
I truly believe once you become oriented toward looking for things to be grateful for, you will find that you begin to appreciate simple pleasures and things that you previously took for granted. Gratitude should not be just a reaction to getting what you want, but an all-the-time gratitude, the kind where you notice the little things and where you constantly look for the good even in unpleasant situations. Today, start bringing gratitude to your experiences, instead of waiting for a positive experience in order to feel grateful; in this way, you’ll be on your way toward becoming a master of gratitude.