“Gratitude is an opener of locked-up blessings.” Marianne Williamson
Lately, I have been seeing and hearing the word “gratitude” everywhere. I’ve read about gratitude in blogs, it comes up in conversations with friends and God reminds me of my blessings during my prayer time. Every time I see or hear this word I think, gratitude CAN change your attitude!
I know from experience that when I pause and begin to list the things that I am thankful for, a good day becomes great and a crummy day instantly gets better! How can such a simple thing make such a profound change? I know that during one of my hardest seasons of life, God prompted me to look up and out and that’s where gratitude was living!
One of my dear friends had health and personal issues from her past that made her life difficult. She also struggled with addictions and loss – her life had been filled with pain and sadness. Someone suggested she begin a “gratitude journal” to keep track of the things in her life that she was thankful for. I remember her sharing years later that this simple exercise, this notebook filled with gratitude, changed her life. Yes, she said it changed her life! Several years ago my friend passed away, but the end of her life was filled with love and joy. She found God during this journaling exercise and her mind and heart were full of Him and gratitude for her life.
I challenge you to begin your own journey of choosing gratitude. Here are a five ways you can celebrate a change in your attitude:
#1. Start a “gratitude journal.” You might decide to list 3-5 things you are grateful for before you fall asleep. Or you may want to begin your day listing all the things you are thanking God for. As you begin keeping this gratitude list, many of your troubles will become smaller and those trials and difficulties will become more manageable.
#2. Say what you are grateful for at dinner. Go around the table and let each person express what they are thankful for that day or that week. Or pick another meal – the important thing is to get in the habit of sharing your gratitude with your family and friends.
#3. Create an email or texting thread with your small group, adult children, family or friends asking everyone to list three things they are thankful for that week. Since my two grown daughters don’t live near me anymore, we use technology to still connect and share what we are thankful for.
#4. Create a Gratitude Board. I’ve shared about the Joy Board my family created one vacation, where we listed things that brought us joy on a piece of poster board. This concept can be applied to drawing pictures or writing things in which you and your family are grateful. Display this board near a common family area or near your door so everyone will see it often and be reminded of their many blessings!
#5. Practice gratitude. When you are having “one of those days” where you feel in a funk, received bad news, have to change your plans or whatever may throw off your day, stop, and list what you are grateful for! I have a friend that asks her spouse and children to give her 10 things they are grateful for when they are grumbling or complaining about things. The more you practice being grateful, the more things you will notice to be thankful for….and your attitude will follow the feeling of gratefulness!
Your life isn’t perfect but there is always a reason for us to give thanks. In my experience, the more I seek out those things in my life, the richer my life becomes. I want that for you too! Pick one of the above and get moving toward a more grateful way of living. Please share your ideas for changing your attitude with gratitude by leaving a comment below.