ABC News author Liz Neporant posted a great article “4 Ways to Cultivate an Attitude of Gratitude” with some ways to bring the idea of gratitude into your life. The idea of consciously looking for places to feel or express my gratitude to those around me is something I strive for every single day. In my own life, people who are genuinely grateful and thankful of what they work for, what they are blessed with, and what they are surrounded by are the most successful people – both ABOVE and BELOW the waterline.
Here are the four points in the article and my take on them:
Retrain Your Brain
It takes a lot of effort to wake up each morning and be negative, but after awhile it seems second nature. And that’s BAD. Just as with any habit, you need to consciously make an effort to change behaviors and replace them with healthy and productive ones.
Use a ‘crutch’ if you need to. Set a reminder in your calendar, put Post-It notes on your computer, hide reminders in your wallet. Whatever it takes to remind yourself to stop being instinctive with negative and give yourself ways to become positive.
Pass it Along
You reap what you sow. If you are throwing ungratefulness around and raining on everyone’s parade, it should come as no surprise to you that people will start treating you with the same vitriol that you hand out. (EDIT: You might do well to learn about the Law of Attraction.) Tired of how people treat you? Be the change you want to see in the world (Gandhi). It starts with YOU. There is no other secret to this.
I am blessed to have a friend Danielle Smith at Extraordinary Mommy that is just so pleasant to talk to. The other day (EDIT: this article was originally written in 2014) I helped her out with what I considered a little issue with Google+ Hangout on Air (the platform can be SO finicky). Danielle isn’t a tech professional, she’s a professional video correspondent – so I have skills she doesn’t and she most definitely has skills I lack. She was so grateful for the time I took out of my day that I would help her again in a heartbeat any time she asked. Make people feel valued and they will value you in return. In comparison, there are others that you know no matter how much you help they will never be happy or express joy. When my time is so limited, who do you think I would choose to help and interact with going forward?
Email Your Thanks
Okay, so it doesn’t have to be email per se, but I think it is vitally important that we take a moment to look at how we portray ourselves to others publicly. Part of my “Myth of Overnight Success” talk I do was this idea of controlling (or crafting) how you represent yourself online – your perception. If all you do is complain and never practice gratitude, all people will think of you (and treat you) is with the same. Take time out and thank people, publicly (online) and privately (in person or via email/private messages).
The Internet is a very big place and you will get ignored if you don’t add value or thanks in return. And we all know the very worst thing to happen to someone that publishes online is to be ignored and overlooked.
Bless Your Stress
We all have stress. You are not unique. While some stress is very understandably worth decoupling from your day-to-day life (great illness or loss of a child or family member, etc.) the fact that you have hardships in your life does not give you the right to downplay other people’s lives. It should, however, give you pause to be grateful for what you do have and look for ways to celebrate the good and joyful – not just in your life but in those around you.
For me, today, I’m stuck in the house again with (yet another) snow day off for my kids***. Ultimate Cabin Fever. It’s draining to complain all the time, so I’m switching it around and rather than feeling stressed, I’m looking at the opportunity to enjoy my kids and switch up our snow day routine.
How Do You Express Your Attitude of Gratitude?
Especially with Valentine’s Day coming up (YIKES tomorrow!!) people are thinking of ways to show those in their lives how they feel. I think this should be happening all the time in many different ways. Have any ideas?
*** Since writing this article in 2014 I have moved from New Jersey (also known as the land of cold and snow) to San Antonio Texas (where I have apparently brought cold and snow but is otherwise a warm and sunny place to live.)
(This article was originally posted on my personal blog in 2014 & I thought it was relevant to repost here.)