Practicing Gratitude

“When you’re thankful for what you have; you end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never have enough.”
– Oprah Winfrey

What do you focus on as you move through your day? Do you wake up to your alarm and think, I slept in a comfortable bed and now have a family to care for and work to support us? Do you appreciate the sun in the sky, the clean elevator you ride to get to your office? Do you laugh at a friend’s funny text, and wave at the driver who lets you merge easily into traffic? Are you thankful for the meaningful work that makes your day fly by and gives you purpose?

What we focus on impacts our perception of the world around us, which in turn determines our attitude towards life in general. When we appreciate what we have, we find more and more to be thankful for, and then we encounter even more opportunities to express that gratitude. This process multiplies our happiness and satisfaction exponentially. Complaining and comparing ourselves to others, especially at work, only amplifies negativity and bitterness.

Being grateful is a life skill that needs to be learned and practiced since our attitude determines how we respond to challenges, approach change, and deal with difficulties. It also impacts our physical health!

Here are some suggestions for building that skill by employing a purposeful gratitude practice:

  • As soon as you wake up, say thank you for the opportunities that this new day presents.
  • Just before you break for lunch, think of one specific thing you are grateful for today. Keep a file on your computer or post a little note somewhere in your office.
  • Take an afternoon stretch break and repeat a gratitude affirmation, such as:
  • I gratefully receive the lessons that each life experience brings.
  • I am grateful that technology is working well today and I am able to get this report out.
  • I am lucky to have my pets who are a source of comfort and unconditional love.
  • I am thankful for the ability to learn, develop, and grow.
  • I appreciate my strength and resilience. I know I can survive and thrive.
  • Share with your dinner companions something that went well today and explain why.
  • Once each week, send a note to someone who supported you in a large or small way.

Please share with me your strategies and successes in practicing gratitude in your life.

This blog is one in a series discussing the importance of gratitude in our personal and professional lives, the benefits of routinely recognizing the good things in our lives, appreciating others who have helped us, and saying thank you.

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