FROM THE ARCHIVES….The Attitude of Gratitude & the Thank You Project

I posted this back in May of 2015…
and thought I’d repost…with some “tweaks.” Enjoy!

“If the only prayer you say in your life is ‘thank you,’ that would suffice.”
– Meister Eckhart


Gratitude is something that needs to be practiced.  Yes, I’m a grateful person most of the time, and maybe you are too, but we all have times where we lapse into feelings of “oh, poor me!”  The great thing is that it’s so easy to turn that frown upside down…silly, but it just came to me & I had to write it!  Robert A. Emmons, Professor of Psychology at UC Davis, is an expert on gratitude and has done extensive studies, along with some colleagues, on the subject.  He says there is a difference between feeling grateful and the conscious choice of being grateful.  In other words, illness, death, divorce, joblessness are all very stressful events in one’s life and you can acknowledge that they suck, but still cultivate gratefulness and in doing so, help the situation and your feelings about it.  He continues that an attitude of gratitude is essential in getting through tough times and has the power to heal.  “To say we feel grateful is not to say that everything in our lives is necessarily great. It just means we are aware of our blessings.”  He offers these suggestions….

  • Remember the bad: Think back to when you were at a low point and remember how far you’ve come since then.
  • Re-frame the present: Don’t ignore the negativity of a painful event. Instead, find moments of gratitude — small glimmers of hope — that grew from the experience. This will help you gain perspective and encourage positivity where you least expect it.

….or maybe you’re just going about your daily life, without any turmoil or difficult event, but it’s still important to practice gratitude.  Here are some suggestions that I’ve gleaned from multiple websites (and my own practice)…just doing one will be a positive experience, I promise!

  • Write in a gratitude journal.  Studies have shown that doing this for just 3 weeks can increase happiness by 25%
  • Use a gratitude jar if you’re more of a visual person.  It can be as easy as writing one word or sentence on a little slip of paper and throwing them in a mason jar (read them whenever you need a little boost)….. or throwing your lose change in a jar while thinking about something your grateful for and then donating the money to charity when the jar is full.
  • Practice grateful thinking…maybe while meditating…or just while lying in bed before you start your day…or on your morning walk.  You’d be amazed that by doing this simple thing, consistently, your whole outlook on life will change.

Emmons also notes that practicing gratitude directly correlates with better functioning in life by taking control of happiness.  It also seems to compel people to give back to society, because they are so grateful for what they have.  Basically it’s a win, win for the world in general!

…here’s an old Ted Talk about happiness and gratitude…Enjoy!

I’m somewhat of a newbie when it comes to podcasts, and one of my favorites is called A Kind World. I recently listened to an episode called  The Thank You Project. about a woman, Nancy Davis Ko, who took a year and sent handwritten thank you notes. What a great, positive, easy thing to do, that in the end helped her and made her more grateful. As my daughter-in-law, Kate, taught me years ago, everybody loves to get snail-mail in this highly digital age. Listen to the podcast and start your own Thank You Project!


Are you unplugging for 24 hours??

You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!

1 Comment

  1. Glad you liked the mail! I love writing letters… every time I flip through my address book I end up with a list of people I want to send notes to because I miss them or am thinking of them or have to tell them a funny story! Such a nice way to check-in with people. You’re on my list! I’ll keep sending!

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