Fostering an Attitude of Gratitude

You live a more successful, fulfilled life when you follow these steps for living in an attitude of gratitude

Do you have an attitude of gratitude? Being grateful for what you have, is a quick way to shift your perspective in life. Most negative attitudes are grounded in self-pity - the 'woe is me' mantra. If you are living with a mindset of appreciation, it is impossible for self-pity to thrive.

You may be wondering why I use the term appreciate instead of grateful! 

There is a world of difference between appreciating something and being grateful for something. They send off two very different vibrations to the universe. Grateful has the sense of supplication. Appreciation has a sense of enjoyment/fulfillment.

For example, the thought of, "I'm so grateful there is food on the table," has a whole different feel to, "I really appreciate the taste and flavors of my food, and the love with which it was prepared."

Being grateful has a sense of looking through the lens of being thankful for a struggle or fear overcome or averted. Whereas when you are appreciating, you are looking through the lens of love. Through a lens of lightness, happiness, and inspiration.

Feeling appreciative can have a profound impact on your physiology. 

Try this for a moment. Stop, close your eyes for a few seconds, and think of someone, or something, that you could appreciate. Did you notice that your breathing changed and that life seemed to slow for those few moments? Do you now have a smile on your face and generally feel better about life?!

Here is a terrific video from the Gratidudes. It's sure to get you inspired! When you get your breath back after doing the dance; enjoy the rest of this article on the attitude of gratitude!

Here are a few tips on how you can keep an attitude of gratitude/appreciation.

Keep an Appreciation Journal

At the end of each day jot down at least 5 things which were a magic moment and which you appreciate. It could be as simple as:

  • A smile from the cashier at your local supermarket
  • A delicious meal or snack
  • Writing or receiving a letter
  • Finding a parking spot right where you wanted it
  • A painting from your child
  • A phone call from a treasured friend
  • Blue skies
  • A toothless grin from your baby
  • Uplifting conversation
  • A new bloom in the garden
  • A joke someone told at work

On days when you are feeling the blues, grab your appreciation journal and re-read it. You will feel better almost immediately.

Be Grateful for the Not so Good

That's right! Be grateful for the tough times. For example, you may be upset because your boss isn't providing you with the emotional support you want right now. But you could appreciate that you are learning to support yourself.

You may be cross because your team members are nagging at you and under-performing. You could though, choose to appreciate that you are your learning to be patient and focused on bringing out the best, even under stress. (Get tips on how to deal with difficult people)

Stop Complaining

Commit to yourself that you will quit whining. Ask your friends to work with you to live in an attitude of gratitude, by agreeing that you will no longer spend time complaining. You may find initially that there are long periods of silence - at which point you will see how much of your life is spent focused on the negative.

If the people around you continuously focus on the negative, be an inspiration to them, by re-directing the conversation, asking them to think about the positive in the situation. They may at first look somewhat askance at you, but over time, they will undoubtedly stop complaining to you, because you aren't feeding their misery.

Read more about why it is essential to be careful about what you talk about and focus upon.


Look for Things to Appreciate

People are so conditioned to focus on the negative, that it becomes far too easy to overlook all the positive.

There is a terrific saying, "A man who has no shoes can be glad he has feet!" You see you can choose to focus on the fact that you have no shoes. Or, you could elect to be extremely grateful that you have feet to walk with. 

You can decide to be cross that you have cellulite on your thighs. Or, you can appreciate that your legs can carry you throughout your day.

Here's an exercise for you!

Stop now, before you go any further and think of three things you appreciate about your workplace.

I hope you have three things! Does this simple exercise, stir better feelings within you? When you feel better, you perform better.

If you couldn't find three things, this list may well prompt you to find an attitude of gratitude for your workplace:

  • Who lightened your load for a while so you could focus on other issues (work or personal)?
  • Who covered for you, and helped make your work easier?
  • Who protected you from work politics?
  • Who spoke up with you, and supported your point of view?
  • Who acknowledged your efforts?
  • Who spoke up for you when you weren't there to represent yourself?
  • Who has shown trust in you?
  • Who believed in your capability, more than you believed in yourself?
  • Who asked your opinion?
  • Who has made you laugh recently?
  • Who has offered you opportunities you may not otherwise have had?
  • Who included you?
  • Who lets you know they value your work?
  • Who makes it possible for you to do what you do?
  • Who did you take for granted that deserves your thanks?

Send Thank You Notes

How often have you ever said "thanks" to each, or any, of the people from your list above? If you want more of it, then maybe you need to let them know. Sometimes people may not know that their actions have had a positive impact on you, and if you don't tell them, they may stop doing it.

It is even more potent if you post the note. Most people these days only get bills and junk mail. To receive a note of appreciation in the mail will brighten someone's day, and the great thing is that it will brighten your day too, as you write it and think of how the person will respond when they receive it.

Here are some sample Appreciation Letters

Once you start to take note, you will (re-)discover how precious our lives are, and how much we can appreciate every day. An attitude of gratitude is simply the best way to live! 

You will live a much happier and more fulfilled life. You'll be a rockstar leader, living, loving, and leading remarkably!

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