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Gratitude Is Not Just An Atitude

November 25, 2018

Tis the season to be grateful. The Thanksgiving season promotes the idea of thankfulness. Everywhere you go as you prepare for your own Thanksgiving meal you are reminded to be thankful. The billboards along the highway speak of it. The commercials on TV are marketing it. Even the checkout people at the grocery store wish you a happy Thanksgiving. It’s the one day of the year that everyone tries to be more mindful of all the blessings they have.

We load up our baskets with turkeys and stuffing and all the ingredients to make green bean casserole. Sweet potatoes, pumpkin pie filling, and cranberry sauce too. Whatever your family traditions are for the holiday, you can be sure we all stuff ourselves silly on that day. As if we won’t ever get another meal. Somehow packing our belly’s until they hurt on Thanksgiving is synonymous with being thankful.

Have you heard it said that hardship (or life for that matter) can either make you better or it can make you bitter? I always thought that I was pretty good at allowing the tough times I have been through to make me better. That’s not to say my hard times were always welcome. In fact, I have said it before, that I have done my share of kicking and screaming at my circumstances. But, when my life got rough, I looked for the good that could come from it.

I focused on what I did have not what I didn’t have. I kept it simple.

There is a verse in the bible that goes like this. “We know that all things work together for good, for those that love God.”

I would apply this verse to my life. So when upsetting things would happen or things didn’t go the way I planned, I could rest in the fact that it would all work out, somehow, and I knew it would be for my good. That verse also alleviated feelings of “poor me” or “why me” thoughts. I knew it was all happening for the greater good, even if I didn’t think so.

I now know, I was practicing gratitude in it’s rawest form.

Some days my gratitude prayers were very short and simple. I was grateful for the breath I had that day or for my health so I could go to work and pay my bills. I realized that if I focused on my blessings there was no time for worry or fear. You can’t worry and be grateful at the same time.

Now science can prove the benefits of gratitude. Being intentional about the things you are grateful for will make new neuro-pathways in your brain and over time, with consistency you can make your future bigger than your past.

Here are just some of the benefits of being grateful.

  • Better able to cope with stress
  • Improves self-esteem
  • Have more positive emotions
  • Sleep better
  • Have better relationships 
  • Improves physical health

Here are some ways to practice gratitude.

  • Prayer and meditation. It doesn’t matter how or for how long. The key is to be consistent. Even if it’s a few minutes a day, before your feet hit the floor, give thanks.
  • Smiling & hugging. It’s amazing that even if you don’t feel happy, simply smiling and sharing your smile with the world enables your mind to line up with your body. You can’t help but feel better. Don’t discount the power of personal touches, such as hugging. Whether it’s your kids or your dog or your partner, hugging is a life-giving exchange of energy that elevates your state of being.
  • Writing a note of thanks. In today’s world it may not take on the form of a written note but it may look more like a text message or email thanking someone for being in your life or thanking them for some form of kindness they showed you.

Gratitude is more than an attitude, it’s a state of being. While it’s easy to be grateful when things are going the way you want them to go. Choosing to be grateful for the things you already have in your life when life is not going the way you planned changes your state of being, regardless of your circumstances.

Be the change you want to see in the world by being more grateful.