An Attitude of Gratitude


Recently, while dealing with a particularly difficult season of life,  I noticed that my negative thoughts and attitudes were affecting my sense of peace.  Everyday situations that would normally be a minor blip on my radar would loom large, keeping me awake at night and increasing anxiety during the day.  Negative self-talk becomes prevalent at times such as these.  Becoming aware of this negative cycle, I have looked for ways to increase a more positive, optimistic attitude and to restore a sense of calm and peace to life.  

When circumstances are difficult, it is easy to see what is going wrong in life, blinding us at times to the beauty and goodness that life holds for us.  It is as if instead of "rose-colored glasses" we see the world through shades of black or gray.  I believe one way to restore a more balanced perspective is to have an attitude of gratitude.  

One way that I am attempting to get back on track is to write thank you notes to people who have been supportive and encouraging, or who have been influential in my life.  My goal is to write two notes/week until at least the end of this year.  When I began to think of whom to send notes to, I was humbled by all the people that I could think of who have played a huge part in helping.  Noticing even when strangers are kind to you, such as the clerk in the grocery store, can lift one's spirits.  

Journaling is another tool to help change our outlook.  So many times, it is tempting to journal about pain and suffering, but what about a Gratitude journal where one can record simple things that make you smile during the day, a wonderful conversation with a dear friend, a beautiful sunset, a rainbow, or an answered prayer.  It is amazing how much can be added to the journal when one begins to look for the positives in life.  

It takes conscious effort to focus on the positives, to be grateful for our experiences when life can be such a struggle at times.  But I believe that it can be helpful to restore our sense of balance, peace, and give us strength to deal with our circumstances.  

"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.  It turns what we have into enough, and more.  It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend."  - Melody Beattie