Leading a multi-week conference call series, the assignment between sessions was to focus on gratitude throughout the week.
Reported one participant, Jose, “The more I focused on gratitude and what I was grateful for, the less negative self-talk was taking place in my head.”
All right, Jose! (and I literally mean, “all right!”) 🙂
Makes sense, doesn’t it? Shine a light and darkness disappears. When we shine the light of gratitude on the darkness of ungrateful thinking, the harmful sniping and self-talk practically disappears and we are happier.
After all, the mind cannot simultaneously hold two opposing thoughts. You simply cannot focus on gratitude…and feel miserable.
In my program, “Master Your Traits – Master Yourself” I devote one entire section to “Gratitude.” And, it’s the very first trait of the 13 in total. Why? Three reasons:
#1 Gratitude is the foundation for all the other traits. Like the physical foundation that allows a high-rise building to stay standing tall and sturdy, unfazed by strong and unrelenting winds, gratitude is the emotional foundation upon which all of the other traits/characteristics can flourish.
#2 Your level of gratitude determines your level of happiness, as well as your potential for success. It’s difficult to be happy without gratitude. Let’s face it, constantly focus on the negative and living life just doesn’t feel very good. When you don’t feel very good, it’s difficult to be successful. Sure, people who are angry, resentful, depressed, etc., can still make money (though, not as often and not as easily as they otherwise would), but are still not “successful” in terms of feeling good about themselves and what they’ve accomplished.
#3 Gratitude keeps you closer to the Source Who provides us the many reasons to be grateful. According to Wallace D. Wattles, in his classic, The Science of Getting Rich, the nearer we are to the Source of all good, the more good we will receive. He says,
“…a soul that is always grateful lives in closer touch with the Creator than one who never looks to Him in thankful acknowledgment. When good things come to us, the more gratefully we fix our minds on the Supreme Power, the more good things we will receive – and the more rapidly they will come. The reason for this is simply that the mental attitude of gratitude draws the mind into closer touch with the Source from which the blessings come.”
And, this could actually be a fourth reason; being grateful is physically healthier than not being grateful. In her excellent book, Ready, Set…Grow, Dondi Scumaci referred to a number of studies that showed a direct line between gratitude and health, summing it up by saying:
“Gratitude is a powerful thing. It produces resiliency and hope. Gratitude encourages the heart. Gratitude heals.”
So, a suggestion for the coming week? Be like Jose and focus on gratitude; 24/7 if you can. To help you do this, write the word “Gratitude” on a yellow “sticky note” and put it everywhere you can see it during the day; on your computer, on your walls, on your bathroom mirror, on your telephone. And, every time you see it, ask yourself, “For what do I have to be grateful?”
Remember: it doesn’t have to be anything more than being grateful for your sight, hearing, senses of touch, taste or smell, ability to walk, breathe without a respirator, having a roof over your head, food in your stomach or that delicious first cup of coffee in the morning, etc.
So, in cultivating the Habit of Happiness, it all seems to come down to Gratitude. And, despite external circumstances, an “attitude of gratitude” is always within our control.