Thursday, November 14, 2013

An attitude of gratitude

Later this month we'll celebrate Thanksgiving. It's a good time to stop and reflect on all the gifts and blessings we have. However, do you, like me, wonder whether there isn't a way to regularly be grateful for what you have?

Researchers do tell us that people who are grateful are healthier both physically and mentally. And they are happier, too.

Are there some things you do to stay more aware of your gifts and then to express your gratitude? I invite you to share them in the Comment box below. I know the rest of us would love to hear them.

Here are some ideas:

• Write regularly, or as often as is possible anyway, in a gratitude journal.
• Keep a reminder note on your calendar daily or weekly that jogs your memory to list people and things for which you're grateful. You can just think about them, or you can write them on paper or in a computer document.
• Discuss with your partner, spouse or other family members over a meal: For what am I grateful today?
• Google "gratitude quotes" and enjoy what you discover online.
• Remember that you don't need to limit gratitude to the big things in life. Sometimes in my gratitude journal I list "sunshine today," "the ability to do my morning exercises," "the color of the flowers in my neighbor's yard," or "a good night's sleep."
• Challenge yourself to stay awake and aware and to notice what's around you. Just doing that will make you grateful for things you see and experience.
• When you're able to do so, reframe a negative experience to try find something positive in it. And be grateful that, even when you're unhappy or struggling, there's still something in that time for which to be grateful. It doesn't mean you are a Pollyanna and deny sadness or pain; it means that you can be a "both/and" type of person who sees both the good and the bad in something.
• Cultivate an attitude of gratitude. Giving thanks will become a habit.

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