“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.”
William Arthur Ward
Are you strengthening your negative thoughts daily or perhaps hourly? Do you find yourself complaining regularly without realizing how habitual this behavior has become? Is your response, “I’m not complaining, I’m a realist. Just read the news about how terrible the world is. Open the door and there are grey skies, rain, and mud.” Sound familiar? Do you have friends who share the same affinity as you? Do you spend hours together commiserating? Have you noticed that one negative thought leads to another with no end in sight? Do you feel you cannot stop yourself? You have perfected this skill by reinforcing it daily, yearly. But what is the solution? One simple word: Gratitude.
“When a person doesn’t have gratitude, something is missing in his or her humanity. A person can almost be defined by his or her attitude toward gratitude.”
Gratitude is a simple practice worth investing in that keeps paying in high dividends. Are you thinking there must be a more complex solution? Gratitude may be simple but consistent practice is challenging when your world has been covered in darkness for years, your eyes have to really search for the faint spot of light in the distance. I usually start my workshops with each person making a statement of gratitude. New participants are sometimes bewildered while others well versed in this practice, find delight in sharing their daily gratitude.
“Sometimes we should express our gratitude for the small and simple things like the scent of the rain, the taste of your favorite food, or the sound of a loved one’s voice.”
Joseph B. Wirthlin
Take a moment to make your gratitude statement. Be specific and relevant. Examples could be:
- I am grateful that when I flush the toilet it went down the sewer.
- I am grateful that the barista remembered my coffee order.
- I am grateful that my friend invited me to his birthday party.
- I am grateful that my friend gave me a hello hug.
- I am grateful you took the time to read my newsletter.
“I don’t have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness – it’s right in front of me if I’m paying attention and practicing gratitude.”
Are you ready to infuse yourself with a daily dose of gratitude?
Here are some creative and imaginative ways:
- Have a chalkboard with your coloured chalk to write on daily for each family member to add.
- Sharpen your coloured pencils to place your statement of gratitude in a glass jar.
- At dinnertime, each person can recap their day with a statement of gratitude.
- Have an audio journal on your phone.
- Waiting at red lights or checkout lines are great times to voice your gratitude to yourself.
At the beginning, you will realize how hard this exercise is to do. You will also notice that negativity creeps back quite easily. For example, I am grateful it is not raining. Instead, I am grateful it is sunny today. Slowly with each day, you will be smiling and discover the small joys in your life including playing in the mud.
“We are constituted so that simple acts of kindness, such as giving to charity or expressing gratitude, have a positive effect on our long-term moods. The key to the happy life, it seems, is the good life: a life with sustained relationships, challenging work, and connections to community.”