Attending to Gratitude

I hope you enjoyed a wonderful holiday filled with family, friends, food, and fun!  I am so grateful to all of you – my clients and students. Thank you for sharing yourselves with me over this past year.  You all bring so much joy and learning into my life each and every day.

Last week I was speaking with a client who is working on shifting her negativity bias.  One of her commitments is to write down three gratitude’s every day.  After doing this for a week she said to me, “I feel so silly. My gratitude’s are so insignificant, they feel unimportant and trivial.”

I have heard this reaction before when asking clients to do this assignment.  How easy it is for us to point out, talk about and emphasize the trivial and unimportant negatives in our lives.  We complain about the weather, traffic jams, a disagreement that will soon fade; we are quick to point out and comment on all the minor inconveniences, mishaps and roadblocks we face. 

Why do we find it silly then to mention, emphasize, and even honor those small and yet wonderful things that surround us every day?  A comfy bed, a good book, a smile, a hug, a sunset, a perfect fall day, a delicious meal, a surprise phone call from a friend, an easy commute, a good workout, a hot cup of tea… there are so many mini blessings in each and every day.

Where is your attention?

How amazing would be if we learned (and practiced) to give our full attention to all the simple yet wonderful things that surround us each day?

What were you grateful for over this past weekend? Take a few moments and reflect. Reach out to a family member or friend and let them know how much you appreciated your time with them over the past few days.

As we continue through this holiday season we can focus on the busy, hecticness, or the old conflicts and challenges that seem to surface during the holidays.  Or, we can shift and train our brains for positivity and success.  We can bring our attention and focus on gratitude and appreciation. Where we each choose to direct our attention will expand into our homes, to our communities and to our places of work. Where will you put your attention for this month?

Ten ways to Cultivate and Share Gratitude

  • Notice your negativity bias, take note, then rephrase or refocus by finding gratitude within that moment.
  • Wake up each day and as your feet hit the floor say, “I am grateful for this day ahead, for every opportunity and for every challenge.
  • Write in a gratitude journal at the end of each day.
  • Recognize the efforts of family, friends, and co-workers with a “thank you” or “job well done.”
  • Donate your time or financial support to a charity that speaks to what you are you are grateful for in your own life and know that you are helping to provide that for another.
  • Practice the art of the hand-written thank you note.
  • Write a letter to a family member or friend and share what they have meant to you in your life.
  • Even in the midst of the greatest challenge practice focusing on what you are learning.  What gift or blessing can you find?
  • Social media posts; share something you are grateful for each day throughout the month of December.
  • Take time to meditate each day and practice moment by moment presence to all that is good in your life.