Attitude of Gratitude is a Way of Life
Write a List of Thankfulness
Grow Your List
Spiral Down or Spiral Up
I’m going to try this article again. I won’t lie, I’m a little apprehensive about writing it. The type of apprehension I had that first time home alone when I returned to the front porch to check the mail. Boldly, I go forth.
Not long ago I watched a video of a motivational speaker, PhD expert in the field of personal development. He criticized teenagers and adults for writing a list of thankfulness in journals. He expressed this was not an Attitude of Gratitude. He explained Attitude of Gratitude is a way of life. It’s being able to accept a mishap gracefully realizing there is a bigger reason behind the annoyance like, when someone cuts you off while driving and travels at a snail’s speed. If we’re living in an Attitude of Gratitude we don’t get annoyed, aggravated, angry and blow up. We accept being cut off in peace because we realize our snail’s pace might save us from a speeding ticket or worse, a wreck.
Photo by Kirsten Jackson
While I do believe this definition of Attitude of Gratitude to be correct, most of us don’t wake up suddenly one day in this higher, more gracious frame of mind. It takes work. A lot of work. On a daily basis. Here’s how to begin.
Write a list of thankfulness:
Sit down in the quietest, more reflective atmosphere as possible and write a list of all that you can think of to be thankful for. This list might be 3, 10, 50, or more. It’s your list, for your eyes only. The number isn’t important. What is important is to get your mind in a state of being thankful. Often once you list a couple of things, people, or events, other ideas come to mind.
My first time was all the usual, everyday list, like my family, roof over my head, a running car, good health, a decent meal, etc. The list evolves or grows over time as we become more observant, more in our life, more focused.
Growing Your List:
Try writing a new list the next day. While we’re still thankful for family, housing, vehicles, good health, when we make a new list daily, we begin to see more for which to be thankful. We begin to acknowledge all the happenings in the previous day that brought us joy and fulfillment that might have otherwise gone unnoticed. Items on the list can be simple or complex. We might be thankful for the sunshine that brings energy, or even the rain that seems refreshing. Other ideas could include a good conversation with a friend or family member, something we accomplished, encouraging words, inspiration, or even a good quote we read.
Results: Spiral Down or Spiral Up
Most I have talked with find it easier to recognize the mishaps, the negative incidents sometimes seeming to begin as soon as we wake up. Others wake up thinking about all that is wrong in their lives. Concentrating on the negative mishaps or incidents of the day seems to get us more of the same. I like Shania Twain’s “Honey I’m Home.” It’s a fun song and it reverses the old traditional view of the man coming home from a hard day by speaking from the voice of a woman coming home from a hard day – all in a humorous way. Still, the lyrics are a great illustration of how we point to one thing that went wrong then how quickly we can name the next.
Let’s be honest. Most of us do not laugh and feel good over mishaps, negative incidents, or accidents (no matter how small). Our emotions tend to spiral from annoyed to aggravated to anger. We start to play the blame game. Some of us turn it all inward and blame ourselves. Some of us blame others. Blame game can spiral from either of these perspectives into blaming the world, on being alive, all of creation, and god (whatever god means to you).
The more we think about, the more we spiral. We can spiral down complaining about all that is going wrong, or we can spiral up being thankful for all that we like that is good and right.
If you can do a thankful list in the morning, it helps to set your intentions for the day. The true intentions you want for your day. The true outcomes you want out of your day. By acknowledging what we like in our lives, what feels good, and is going right we seem to get back more of the same. It’s a way of creating the abundance we want. Getting into the mindset of being thankful lifts our emotions to spiral up from pleased to satisfied to harmonious. When we are experiencing positive emotions we get a little more pep in our step. We smile more and those smiles are often contagious bringing more smiles from others into our day.
We actually can get to a point where we laugh over some of the absurd mishaps. Being in a state of positive thankfulness opens our minds to new ideas and new inspirations. We are able to see possibilities and solutions that were otherwise clouded before practicing daily thankfulness.
Our new ideas, new inspirations, and new solutions help us to feel better about ourselves. We feel more confident and present this confidence to others in our lives. Confidence also helps us tackle other challenges that come along.
Once we are living in a state of thankfulness, we are better equipped to recognize when we get out of alignment, out of good vibration of spiraling up. It’s easy to correct a slip by returning to our basic list of thankfulness or starting a brand new list. There's always something to be thankful for, even during a pandemic, if we take the time to look.
One More Tip
If you find your mind focusing on something that is lacking in your life, use this area on your thankful list. For instance, if you feel you are lacking a relationship in your life, try to acknowledge the relationships you do have, “I’m thankful for my mom, my sons, and my friends.” Name each specifically for a more fulfilled feeling. Whether you are feeling the lack of relationships, love, money, car, etc, naming your thankfulness in a positive statement helps on the spiral up. Be in a state of thankfulness and strive to live in an Attitude of Gratitude.
Now it’s your turn!
Tell us how you are growing your Attitude of Gratitude and how this is changing your days. Get Free with Me!