The Power of Gratitude in Your Life

A we are set to celebrate Thanksgiving tomorrow, it’s time to give thanks with gratitude.

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.

And for gratitude to meet its full healing potential in our lives, it needs to become more than just a Thanksgiving word. We need to learn a new way of looking at our situation and develop a new habit. And this can take some time – in fact, creating a new habit can take up to a year for it to ‘stick.’

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 an optimistic approach, where the negatives in your life diminished or ignored. It’s more a matter of where we put our focus and attention.Negatives in life, such as pain, injustice, and death exist in the world but, when we focus on the gifts in life, we are able to gain a feeling of well-being and brings us hope.

Years ago, I participated in a 100-Day Gratitude Challenge which was life-changing; I attribute my car to this practice when my old car died. What I found from this challenge is that it’s easy in the beginning but, over time, it really forces you to look at your life, or the people and situations in it, to see them with a thankful mindset. I found more happiness and inner peace and was surprised how things seemed to fall into place.

There are many things to be grateful for: colorful autumn leaves, legs that work, friends who listen and really hear, chocolate, fresh eggs, warm jackets, tomatoes, the ability to read, roses, our health, butterflies. For me, I so appreciate the grass I can see out my office window, as I think of those who live in countries that do not get to see experience it.

So, now it’s your turn: What’s on your list?

Coaching Tip: Ways to Make Gratitude a Habit

  • 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. Every morning, write down at least three things you are grateful for; end the day doing the same.
  • Make a gratitude collage by drawing or pasting pictures.
  • Practice gratitude around the dinner table or in a work meeting; it’s really gratifying to hear what others are thankful for.
  • Make a game of finding the hidden blessing in a challenging situation, i.e. the silver lining.
  • When you feel like complaining, make a gratitude list instead, or go to your gratitude journal. 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.
  • Keep a gratitude jar (or box): have some strips of paper where you write down your gratitudes; it really lifts you up as you see the jar fill or, when you need some motivation or a pick-me-up, you can go back and review them.

One note: it’s important to add you in this mix and recognizing all of the things about you that you are grateful for, such as your sense of humor or your inner strength to overcome challenges. This builds esteem and self-confidence.

The more you practice gratitude, you should experience a ‘shift’ in your focus, concentration, and perceptions, and should feel a sense of contentment and positivity; you will find yourself dealing with adverse situations in a calmer manner and recognize that your life is doing well.

As a former client of mine stated: “Gratitude makes everything turn into a gift.”

I’m thankful for you and wish you, and your family, a blessed and Happy Thanksgiving!

If you find stress, fear, anxiety, or a negative mindset keeping you from achieving your goals and living a satisfied life, stop the struggle and reach out for help. Call today!

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