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Cultivate the Gratitude Attitude "You simply will not be the same person two months from now

after consciously giving thanks each day for the abundance that exists in your life. And you will have set in motion an ancient spiritual law: the more you have and are grateful for, the more will be given you." -- Sarah Ban Breathnach ~ Simple Abundance One of the quickest way to make the shift from being negative, resentful, angry, victimized to being positive, compassionate, empowered, is through gratitude. When you truly feel grateful for what you have in your life (and I'm not referring to just the material things), it's almost impossible to dwell on the negative feelings. In fact, scientists have found that feeling grateful produces the feel-good chemicals in your brain, the same chemicals that reduce stress, lesson pain and improve your immune functions. Being grateful puts you in a totally different mindset and energy level, and enables you to look at your life & current circumstances from a more positive perspective. As a result, you will feel more in control and empowered to take action and make both inner & outer changes in your life. I'm sure you have had experiences in the past that you thought was THE worst thing that could happen to you, and it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. We all have experiences like that. In fact, all the negative or even tragic experiences we had, served a purpose. As human beings, we are meant to continuously grow and transcend ourselves. All the challenges we have are there to stretch us and force us to learn and to grow. If we can see this truth, and recognize all the blessings in disguise that we have all experienced in the past, we will have this "inner knowing" that everything will work out in the end, that the Universe is loving, even though we may or may not see the "master plan" right now. And that "inner knowing" gives us tremendous comfort and security, doesn't it? If you can consciously focus your energy on gratitude, and actively look for things/people to be grateful for, you will reap the benefits on multiple levels:
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You will instantly feel calmer, more joyful, and centered

According to the Law of Attraction, you will attract even more abundance, joy and other things you'd be grateful for into your life You will take comfort in the inner knowing that "all is well" and everything will work out in the end, despite your current challenges and circumstances

So, how do you cultivate the gratitude attitude? Here are some action exercises you can try:

Low-tech suggestions: Post a calendar on the refrigerator and commit to writing down daily what you love. "why not just call?" If you are into text messaging. in their wallet or purse. If you have an answering machine. and it's the perfect time to focus on gratitude. This is especially useful if you have kids and want to stay in touch with them in a positive and uplifting way.. Use post-it-notes and place "gratitude notes" where your loved one will find it. modify your list and keep track of the top 3 things for the day. make a mental list of the 3 best things that happen to you today. My thought is. Catch someone in the act of doing something nice or helpful.on their pillow. and see how they can change your life. lessons and opportunities (to learn & to grow). make a conscious choice to be fully present and look for the blessings. so you can refer back to your journal in the future. instead of trying to run away & avoid the experience. Gratitude & Appreciation Everyone enjoys being recognized and appreciated for the small things. etc. When something else better shows up. on the steering wheel. you might want to write down your list at the end of the day. Look for the memo button and record your message of appreciation for someone to "discover" when he or she arrives home. Taking the time to acknowledge and appreciate others sets you up to experience even more positive experiences.• When you are in a negative. • "Top Three Things" exercise: as you go through your day. Do this exercise for at least a week. challenging situation. Thanksgiving is coming up. If you keep a journal. I'm sure you will find new appreciation & outlook for your life. Why not make a commitment to try out these action challenges. Hi-tech suggestions: Have you seen the TV commercial with the family sitting around the dinner table text messaging each other? Looks silly and I am surprised at how popular that activity is.. appreciate or admire about the people in your family. why not send messages of gratitude and appreciation. It is a fun activity to get the whole family involved in. most have a way to record a message. This exercise trains your mind to consciously and actively look for the blessings in your life. Attitude of Gratitude by: Steve Gillman 2 . Focus on finding "what's going right" instead of following our tendency to focus on "what's going wrong". Commit to incorporating one of the following suggestions everyday.

You don't need to ignore the ugliness in the world. Imagine going through life like you're a child. and maybe a house on the beach. One way to encourage this habit is to start writing down every positive thing that happens to you. It is the natural feeling that comes when you recognize the real value of the people and things in your life. a loving family. Gratitude 101 Your life is better when you feel blessed. Continue this until you start automatically seeing the good things in life. 3 . once you are aware of the good. The right frame of mind is necessary to fully enjoy life. The first step is to stop and smell the roses. your experience is a richer one. something you can learn. Gratitude. Of course. and start looking for it. so where does this feeling come from? Creating Gratitude An attitude of gratitude arises from how you look at things. The second step is to make this appreciative approach to roses and life a habit. We might imagine ourselves giving thanks if we had money. you'll start to see wonderful things all over. Simple exercises like the one above train your mind with time. roses really do smell great. and a much richer experience of life is the natural result. If you've ever bought a white car. When you are in the habit of "counting your blessings. Of course it could feel great to win the lottery. Focus on the good and you cannot help but have a better attitude and experience of life. In the same way. money. But we know there are ungrateful. Just consciously choose to see the good and beautiful things.these are all good things. it is easy to think that gratitude comes from having what we want. How can you be thankful for something you don't notice or enjoy? By the way. you know how awareness and focus can alter your perception of reality. is something you can encourage. when you can look around and say "Thank you. unhappy people with these things." or "Thank you universe." Whether or not you are religious. until doing so becomes automatic. God. houses." gratitude. but not enough by themselves. travel . and every morning is Christmas. You need the attitude of gratitude. and all the things you like. You will have an attitude of gratitude. and started seeing white cars all over. We also know that there are poor people full of gratitude for what little they have. when you see life as a wonderful gift. and great friends. then.An attitude of gratitude? People often to think it will come from having some great luck or fortune.

But recognizing and appreciating the good in those situations we perceive as negative is more difficult. downright impossible. author of The Gifts of Change (Beyond Words Publishing). we all had to accept the fact that her condition was terminal.” “I am appreciative of the relationships that are part of my life. 4 . and expressed our thanks to God and the doctors each time it looked like she had beaten the odds. this time of shared grief truly enhanced our relationship and made me realize anew how fortunate I am to have him as a father.” That’s the whole point of developing a “Gratitude Attitude. and in the end. it also gave me so many precious memories. “Although it was very difficult to help my mother through this final transition in her life. the concept of thankfulness didn’t initially seem to be relevant. In the chapter entitled “The Hidden Advantage of Hindrances. “For six years. But following her last surgery in June. After all. it’s easy to recognize positive outcomes and express our appreciation for them.” explains Christie. says self-help author. we had taken a positive approach.” Christie uses a quote from Elizabeth Kübler-Ross to illustrate the choice we all have when confronted by difficult experiences. or at times. helping us focus on what we gain from every occurrence in our life. when my mother suffered a recurrence of the cancer that had plagued her since 1999.” But as she helped her parents cope during the last weeks of her mother’s life — a time she described as both heartbreaking and healing — Christie realized that there was still much to be grateful for. And to be quite honest.Developing an Attitude of Gratitude SUMMARY: Developing a “Gratitude Attitude” enables us to find the positive in those situations we perceive as being negative. “The benefit of having a ‘Gratitude Attitude’ became very apparent to me this past year. And although my Dad and I had always been close. Instead. which ultimately helped me deal with the loss. says Nancy Christie. wouldn’t have changed the outcome. “I’m thankful for the promotion I received at work.” Sit down at any table this Thanksgiving and chances are you will hear some variation of the above statements.” “I am grateful for the good health I enjoy. “I could have spent those last weeks condemning the medical profession for failing to heal my mother or berating God for taking her from me. Being able to provide some measure of comfort to her — not just medically but by talking and caring for her physical needs — comforted me as well. That’s where a “Gratitude Attitude” comes into play.” The Gifts of Change explores the idea of seeking out the good in all situations. I tried to focus on the positive experiences those weeks gave me. she explains. But that would have kept me from making the most of the time I had with her.

’ We complain about it. Before you say anything about a friend's situation. Make a pact with your friends to cut the complaints from your conversations. I've seen it happen to myself and to my friends. encourages us to mine the situation for ‘hidden gold’ that enrich our lives. Help your children to be 5 . we all tend to be what my husband calls ‘members of the Whiny Family. “We tend to dismiss that approach as ‘Pollyanna-ish’ but it’s really an empowering attitude. Here are five little things we can do each day to nourish our sense of gratitude: 1. while things may not be going the way we planned or hoped. energetic.” says Christie.” 5 WAYS TO CULTIVATE AN ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE by Susie Michelle Cortright Gratitude keeps us centered and wards off jealousy and negativity.” But adopting that approach isn’t easy. 2. Give the gift of gratitude to your children. supportive. “She pointed out that we can also see them as opportunities for growth and transition. Choose your friends wisely. Day by day. They'll be perfectly happy until someone tells them they're being mistreated. we blame others for it. Help your friends develop more positive traits by living those positive traits yourself. Help your friends cultivate gratitude. we still have control over our responses and the ability to make even a bad situation work for us. If you strive to be spiritually strong. and instead. remember that everyone's situation is unique. and set out to find some. they're upset. A ‘Gratitude Attitude’ keeps us from wasting our mental and emotional energies fighting against what can’t be changed. Kübler-Ross wrote that tragedies are not really tragedies unless we choose to make them so. empowering.” she notes. Christie admits. Don't let your friends wield such power. we metaphorically kick the situation which only hurts us in the process.“In Death Is of Vital Importance. hour by hour. “When things don’t have the outcome we desire. seek those characteristics in others. and positive. What we are saying in effect is that. Know what kind of friends will help you nurture your soul. and work to avoid wielding such power yourself. intelligent.” “It’s a real test of one’s ability to uncover the positive in the face of adversity. as hints that our life needs to change. Suddenly. 3. make a goal to stop complaining about your life.

satisfied with the simple things while giving them the innate power and ability to achieve whatever they want in life. A heartfelt "thank you" often does the trick.. 4. Be mindful of the little things. 5. professional. tell them how much you love them. a distant mountain range. Today.and all the ways we can help one another have more gratitude for the gift of life. Together. let's work on focusing on what we have . your kids. and all the ways they have enriched your life." Whom in your life do you appreciate? Let them living in such a way yourself. you record at least five things you're grateful for. Go for a walk and notice only those things that are beautiful. when we're focused on a 'big' goal. Regardless of whether you write down these items. Keeping an Attitude of Gratitude by Louise Morganti Kaelin When was the last time you stopped to acknowledge all the good things in your life? Very often. Perhaps it's your child's toothless grin.and be mindful of all the ways you show your appreciation by the things you do in return. your husband. Take a few minutes today to appreciate nature. and family life for which you are thankful. why you're thankful for them. Also. in which. spend some time each day to focus on the little things in your life that make each day special. your friends. speak often of the importance of a Gratitude Journal.not just after a gift exchange . Oprah Winfrey and Sarah Ban Breathnach.. try to notice the details.not on what we don't have . Give thanks for the beauty that surrounds us. at the end of each day. author of Simple Abundance. whether it's your mom. or just caught up in 6 . Make it a habit and your attention will suddenly turn to all the things people do for you. or the cottonwood tree in your backyard. write thank you notes regularly . Say "Thank You. Another idea: Spend 15 minutes writing a letter to your children. your child's daycare provider or the helpful woman behind the cosmetics counter. A warm home. Whether you focus on the stars above. In this note. This can be something you give them now or after they have grown. strive to be aware of all the aspects of your personal. Delicious food enjoyed with family.

3. Starting your day with gratitude puts you in a pretty good mood. 2. shower. exercise. Notice how your breathing changes? How it slows down? That you start smiling? And just feel better in general? It is amazing to me how something so simple can change my living. Close your eyes and think of something (or someone) you're grateful for. brings peace for today. in the long run at least. you can incorporate this exercise into your morning routine. etc. a house into a home. I suspect you'll find it much easier to accomplish. we often forget about the things that bring us joy.the bad news.Melody Beattie You Can Choose: Is Today Going to be a Good Day or Bad Day? Every day you have a choice: Will it be a good day or a bad one? It really IS up to you. and creates a vision for tomorrow.' -. you will achieve wealth. Or. Recently. the better I feel. And you can practice certain habits every day to ensure that. List everything you can think of. And when we're feeling down.and thought you might like it too. I feel better. Start your day off by remembering what you're grateful for. health. And the more things I can acknowledge my gratitude for. As you continue with this exercise on a daily basis. begin with the hardest thing you have to do that day. the interruptions. while others feel challenged and hopeful? Or 7 . Gratitude makes sense of our past. What do you do regularly in the morning where your mind is free? Walk. and more. but I thought it was a likable idea -. a stranger into a friend. the unexpected problems. I don't remember who put it together. You can also plan your day for success and organize it for productivity. You can't control the external circumstances of your life -. when you get to work. various quandaries. You can write these in a Gratitude Journal. you'll notice that your list grows.but you can control your response to them. No matter what my attitude was when I started. confusion to clarity. 1. So. It turns denial into acceptance. It turns what we have into enough.a menu of your daily "choices" -. chaos to order. Here's a simple way to incorporate gratitude into your life on a regular basis. I came across the following table. Try it now. -. it's very hard to remember that they exist at all! Yet there is a definite physiological response when we acknowledge our gratitude. commute to work? Reap double benefits from what you're already doing by making that your 'gratitude time'. I changed it considerably from the original (which was too "New Age" for my taste). and happiness. It can turn a meal into a feast. Optimism: How to Avoid Negative Thinking by Kali Munro Have you ever wondered why some people feel down and defeated when faced with difficult situations. 'Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.

yet many optimists have also experienced great hardships and traumas. write down all your feelings about the event and how you responded. its causes are confined to that one situation. but rather in how people perceive and respond to adversity. These different approaches to life impact on health. most of us need help being optimistic. Achieving a balance of being realistic and hopeful can be a challenge. such as an argument with your 8 . because you won't be challenging your feelings. The difference between optimists and pessimists isn't a difference in life experiences.whether they view things from an optimistic or a pessimistic viewpoint. Do this for a few unpleasant situations. and are their fault. While a pessimist may give up. The defining characteristic of pessimists is that they tend to believe bad events will last a long time. People who are optimistic generally have better health. Fortunately. what you feel is what you feel. Next. Ways To Be Optimistic The first step to optimism is to identify the thoughts and beliefs running through your mind after something unpleasant happens. A healthy dose of optimism can be uplifting and hopeful. Extreme pessimism can be depressing because it seems to only focus on the negative and catastrophizes events. For example.why some people get all worked up and angry over small inconveniences and disagreements. confronted with the same situations. age well. while others respond more positively? These different reactions are due to how people interpret events . optimism can be learned. Then separate your feelings from your beliefs. Differences Between Optimists and Pessimists There are many reasons why people become pessimistic. and gives some suggestions on how to become more optimistic. Optimists. undermine everything that they do. Extreme optimism can be off-putting and invalidating because it seems phony and can be a denial of reality and pain. and live more free of many physical problems associated with aging. This article explores both ways of thinking. Pros and Cons To Both Optimism and Pessimism There are pros and cons to both optimism and pessimism. an optimist who is going through a hard time assumes that life will get better. while a healthy dose of pessimism can be realistic and wise. losses. while a pessimist believes life will always be difficult and painful. Anne Frank is a good example. believe that defeat is a temporary setback. an optimist will try harder to change the situation. or highly critical parents . How did you interpret the event? Write out all of your beliefs and read them over. and it's not their fault. including child trauma. While we can learn from both optimists and pessimists.

But if you step back and think about the situation more realistically. For instance.partner." try to notice that a pessimistic way of thinking is present for you. and getting a parking ticket. Being gentle and loving with ourselves when we make mistakes." In the heat of an argument. right? But instead of thinking of performance. yet real perspective in the face of adversity can be a real challenge . or when bad things happen is key to being hopeful and optimistic. For example. a work conflict. I know we can again. it can help just to be aware that you think that way. and more realistic explanations. we should split many are facing right now in the world . The next step is to distract yourself from your pessimistic beliefs or dispute them. and efficiency." Maintaining a hopeful. Disputing pessimistic beliefs involves replacing them with alternative. and goodness as well. Next time your thoughts jump to something like "I never get my way. you might tell yourself. and this will help you to become aware of and to change patterns. you might immediately think: "S/he never understands me! I'm always the one who ends up apologizing. love. generosity. And even if you're not sure it's possible. and will probably understand me again once we've both cooled off. and sometimes easier. neither was I. 9 . but distraction can also be effective. and you may even be able to work things out faster. and while s/he wasn't very understanding. This isn't working out. and control." "Nothing ever gets any better. Disputing pessimistic beliefs will bring deeper. Just as it is important to recognize what is unjust and unfair in our lives and the world. longer lasting results than distracting will. it is equally important to see the beauty. I'd like you to take this opportunity to think about how many things in your daily life that you do "just for the joy of it"? What I'm talking about here is value-based happiness (as opposed to temporary happiness). it's hard to think rationally. "We just had an argument. You might begin to see a pattern in how you interpret and react to events. If you do have pessimistic thoughts. We've always been able to work through our problems before." or "People are always mean to me. you might find that your thoughts become more positive. positive. S/he's understood me lots of other times.but it is essential to living peacefully and happily. kinder. Professional Life Coach It's the Holiday Season --A new year is just around the corner! I'll bet you're already thinking about how you'd like next year to be a little different than the last. you can do it! Focus On The Joy By Kathy Gates. if you have an argument with your partner.

about your life. And I absolutely guarantee that you will achieve more. and what you value. It is the by product of doing things not for what you get in return. Negating the Inner Critic by Derek Ayre 10 . Focus . decide instead to read and learn how to do one new thing each week. How does that feel? Not bad. like reading time. Not only will you reap rewards. or learning time. Focus on the Why. Invest in yourself more than you ever thought was allowed. ok?) Instead --Focus On Learning. not because you "should" or "have-to". tap into the higher goal that mopping the kitchen floor supports (having a clean and healthy home). or family time. Focus on Time. Value Based happiness is a by product from living a life Focused on the Joy. and have a much better journey along the way. You create value based happiness by Focusing on the Joy of life. When you love what you do. you'll rise above problems. instead of constantly looking for the next new thing that might make you feel better about yourself. you'll find it easier to put in the work that it takes. Over the next 12 months. but because you want to. (One author gives the example of giving blood . you naturally become more efficient. When you do things for the Joy of It. but those around you will benefit more than you ever believed. FOCUS ON THE JOY Focus on the people and things that are most important to you. Value based happiness comes from looking at things with your heart. Instead of making a goal to achieve more in your job. the joy comes in knowing *why* you're doing it). effectiveness. they are important. (Yes. Instead of just forcing yourself to mop the kitchen floor. and goals. and move easier through life.while the experience itself may be less than pleasant. So how do you Focus on the Joy? Throw out your ideas about control. huh! If you focus on the pleasure that a desire gives you.Value-based happiness refers to the general feeling of well being that you experience when you are doing what you perceive to be meaningful --when it's something that's important to you. Schedule your time to include what's important to you. instead of focusing on the effort. or exercise time. Focus on the process of creating something. maintain your efforts. because they are a part of your highest goals. on the pleasure you get out of moving towards your goals. but let's just try something different. not just your eyes. not what results you expect.

Here lies the resolution. It is not that these "authorities" are wrong in their teaching. the outer critic (the parental/teacher) manifests as an inner critic . it isn't until we can recognize that "right and wrong" are value judgements that in many instances. It's the power of acceptance. To accept a person exactly the way he/she is. mud) at the bottom. "Because you did/said such and such.. As the child grows into an adult. is what we all dread. Take the example of a child who in his early years witnesses a strange ritual of getting rewarded for keeping his bed dry at night. that we are "at-one".g. Acceptance and Rejection: Clarification 11 .". Our bodies' are ninety per cent water. In fact. What part of the water is good or bad? If we try and get out the bad. it can be understood just how powerful these two actions are. To reject him/her will embitter and cause hatred that will be directed to him/herself or others. because we have all be subjected to these teachings that have its origins in the earliest annals of society.. has no credence in reality. and our spirits move just like water (fluid) and then there's the truth that there is no separation.a stream of nagging thoughts (shouldism) that in extreme cases of anxiety. Teachers and parents formulate the inner critic in the mind of a young child. Rejection was something that was feared more than death by execution in primitive societies. He would be subjected to statements such as "There's a good boy!" and "You'll be having some sweets!" And then if on an odd occasion he has an accident. it will contaminate the clear water. goes on and on and on.The majority of clients who I deal with are suffering as a result of a severe "inner critic". will mellow and transform that person. mind and spirit are really one. we will recognize that when we try to reject an undesirable thought/feeling. that we can move on. we will throw away the good. For example. regardless of how we interpret the two words. "If you do such and such. perhaps in a public place. we are trying to reject ourselves. So perhaps now. Rejection. If we can reach True understanding and recognize that there is no "part". Analogy A good analogy here would be a glass full of water. The Power of Acceptance. But. good or bad is part of us.. something will happen. Symptoms can range from severe phobias to deep depression.. A Touch of Eastern Philosophy Every thought. he is subjected to a scolding. If we stir the bad (e. In other words he is rejected and has to "be good" in order to gain approval again. boy are you for it now!" Acceptance is what we all crave. Body.

you will be able to "de-structure" it and a transformation will take place. For 12 . Many times in life we struggle between hope and hopelessness. or taking care of a pet. If you can get back to your own sense of promise--then hope can reemerge as you see ways of reinventing yourself.communication by writing or speaking can aid clarification. Acceptance is doing nothing. Sometimes your potential may have shown through just because of dysfunction or difficult times. as we get older and evolve. Because. Indulgence means to react to/on the thoughts/impulses. Problems at home may have pushed you to study harder. For example. Barbara Becker Holstein Do you realize that your past experiences hold the key to a better future! Each of us can learn to unlock the door to a better future by understanding the promise that exists in our own unique memories. or growing vegetables. Just being. Maybe it was what kept you going. Maybe you had a rock or coin collection that meant a lot to you. observe and where appropriate communicate . if your family was fighting you had to find a way to escape. Perhaps you loved dance class as a little girl or singing songs with grandma. It will be replaced by a more positive attitude that you can choose. One place to find hope is in the promise of your own past. so that you could spend more time with your studies or your hobbies. But one must feel "safe" with the recipient of such a communication. Observing it at deeper and deeper levels and gaining an insight into the way that you got it constructed. Remembering Our Past as a Positive Gateway to Our Future By Dr.Care need to be taken here not to confuse acceptance with indulgence. or to learn to do something better. You may have connected with yourself by climbing up into a tree house that you had built and decorated with your own hands. No matter how difficult your childhood may have been or how busy or anxious you felt. you lived them and within them was the promise of your own potential. or cooking. or give in to the urges and impulses thus hurting self or others. some dreams are gone forever in terms of being practical. No matter how gummed up your earlier days were. the inner critic is so ingrained in the subconscious mind. the jewel of your own potential still showed through at times. And at some point during the process. This means to either deny it and punish yourself for thinking such a thing. Acceptance means to acknowledge. Being with the inner situation. and sometimes needs the guidance of a therapist. Of course. acceptance takes practice. and less time thinking about your problems. This is because paradox on top of paradox can occur in the process and cause confusion.

the more you can practice positive states of well being. to discover unique enhanced states of well being. we can make a lot of them.. It's obtainable if you are willing to be practical and very specific. hope and joy is obtainable. Is making a positive future easy? I wouldn't call it easy. you can become a better expert at understanding what made them heightened joyful times. Also. You have to be more specific. a compromise between our dreams and what might be a practical reality. i.e. As you begin to recognize these positive states of well being. It may not be enough to remember a wonderful day that you spent at the circus with your uncle. 13 . or a conductor of an orchestra if we have not pursued music theory. It is crucial to learn how to look back into your own past. We have more capacities to resolve a situation and creatively find a way to bring forth one's promise from childhood into a new form. how we will spend our leisure time.example. We often decide where we will live. we may not be able to be a commercial airline pilot if we never learned how to fly. THE ENCHANTED SELF. but having a future with meaning. Although we can't make all our own choices in life. That's the beauty of your own promise. as we get older we have more options to work out. The more you can specifically isolate what made the memory enchanting. etc. whom we will marry. Why did you like that day? Was it the weather conditions? Was it the way you felt that day? Was it being with this particular uncle? Was it something you saw at the circus that excited you? Was it something you purchased? Was it something you ate? Was it the way the air smelled? And so on. It's pleasant to recall but it may not teach you enough in order to help you find your own promise. how we will live.