BLOG_2019_09_19_Accessing the power of gratitude

Accessing the Power of 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 a positive, appreciative attitude contributes to greater success in work, greater health, peak performance, a higher sense of well-being, and a faster rate of recovery from surgery (and I bet even transitions).   

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.  For gratitude to meet its full healing potential in our lives, it needs to become more than just a an occasional word.  We have to learn a new way of looking at things; i.e. to create a new habit.  And as most of us know, that can take some time and effort.

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.   This includes making hard transitions – all of those new opportunities are waiting for you in your new role or location.

It helps to remember gratitude isn’t a blindly optimistic approach in which the bad things in life are whitewashed or ignored.  It’s more a matter of where we put our focus and attention.  Pain and injustice exist in this world, but when we focus on the gifts of life, we gain a feeling of well-being.  Gratitude balances us and gives us hope.   We can also start looking for the positive first, rather than the negative.

There are so many things to be grateful for: the connections we have made in our old roles and locations, the lessons we have learned along the way, our health, friends who listen and really hear, and for the simpler things such as colorful autumn leaves, chocolate, wine, warm jackets, tomatoes, favorite flowers, and the birds and butterflies. What’s on your list?

Some Ways to Practice Gratitude

  • 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.
  • Make a gratitude collage by drawing or pasting pictures.Practice gratitude around the dinner table or make it part of your nighttime routine.
  • Make a game of finding the hidden blessings in a challenging situation.
  • When you feel like complaining, make a gratitude list instead. 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.

As you practice this more and more, an inner shift begins to occur, and you may be delighted to discover how content and hopeful you are feeling.  That sense of fulfillment is gratitude at work.  Gratitude has certainly made my latest transition so much easier!

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