There is an art to the practice of gratitude. Gratitude is about having an abundance mindset. When you think abundantly, your perception of everything and everyone around you shifts in a positive way. It is no wonder that gratitude is called the “mother of all virtues”. Of course there are those everyday stressors out there that we all have to deal with, and there are life events that leave us feeling that we’ll never be whole again. Some days, it’s difficult to feel gratitude amidst the barrage of negativity and noise out there. But cultivating an attitude of gratitude gives us a coping process that helps us to deal with circumstances that are often beyond our control. And this doesn’t mean going through life with rose colored glasses. The gratitude attitude is one that allows us to experience the authenticity of our emotions, good or bad, without judgment. It also helps us to move through those emotions and come out on the other side relatively intact, rather than crumbling into a small heap and hiding from the world. So how to cultivate this attitude? It’s all in your mind:
- Pick yourself up – if you fail at something, it doesn’t mean you are a complete failure. You’ve experienced a setback, but you also have an opportunity to approach the challenge in a different way.
- Isolate the issue – a single negative event is not part of a never-ending pattern of defeat – just because something happened doesn’t mean that nothing good ever happens or will ever happen again in your life. Make a concerted effort at the end of each day to write down 3 good things from your day and review the list the next morning to put things back in perspective.
- Shift your focus – try not to dwell constantly on the negative details of the event – find something good to focus on to give your mind a break – talk to a friend, or take a walk in a lovely park to take your mind somewhere else for a while.
- Validate your assumptions – just because someone hasn’t called you back doesn’t mean they are angry at you or you have done something wrong. Don’t assume – if you want to know why, ask.
- Anticipate good things – don’t anticipate the worst in situations. Be prudent and prepared for the unexpected of course, but still hope for the best.
- Appreciate the simple pleasures in life – take a moment each day to look around you and take a breath, focusing on the simple moments that make you smile, and you’ll start to see the beauty all around you.
- Express appreciation of others – express your appreciation to your friends and loved ones (and even strangers) whenever you can. You’ll feel good because they feel good.
- Remember everyone is carrying a burden that no-one else knows about. Be kind.
The truth is, when you are happy to wake up and are grateful for the day, your life does change. I am grateful each day just to see the sun rise once again and have a new day ahead of me. I am thankful for the time I have been given, and for the experiences I have had, both good and bad, because those experiences have shaped me. I know that I will face difficulties and obstacles, but I will also feel moments of joy and love and peace. And for this, I am grateful.