By M. Leigh Tyson
The assignment was simple enough. Write an article on the “attitude of gratitude.” The more I thought about writing the article, the more aware I became of how rare the gift of having an “attitude of gratitude” is in our society. We are a culture of the-more-material-things-the-better,” and they must be showed off! On Facebook, Instagram, and everywhere else, we want the world to see how “blessed” we are. Our society often sees the worth in people based on what they have.
The key to having an “attitude of gratitude,” is, in my opinion, to be content with what we have instead of looking at others with an attitude of envy. It seems that people are wired to look at others’ lives and compare. In many ways, developing an “attitude of gratitude” takes discipline. It takes work to change our current mindset. There are a few things I’ve found that help foster and maintain the right attitude:
- Be thankful for the small things -It is easy to go through life not really living. Most of our lives are taken for granted. We wake up in the morning in our warm beds, but rarely feel grateful for waking up or having a warm bed. We sit down to eat, but often do not feel grateful for the fact that we have food. Train yourself to be thankful for the little things in your life.
- Journal – A great way to develop a habit of being grateful is to use a journal. Developing a daily habit of taking time to write down the good things in your life is a great way to build an outlook that values the good things in your life.
- Help others – Develop an outlook on life that takes the focus off you and places it on those that need help and people that you can help. It can be as simple as sitting down for coffee with a friend that is going through a difficult time in life or volunteering with a community organization.
- Always say thank you -Stop going through the motions in life, when someone gives you something or does something for you, say, “Thank you.” Show appreciation for everything you receive from someone else. Making a point of saying thank you changes your outlook from expectation to being consciously grateful for what you received.
- Treat yourself – Be sure to take care of yourself. Take a walk, schedule a pedicure, or plan a day at the spa. Take time for those things that you enjoy. Making a point of taking time for yourself is another way to slow life down, and focus on being grateful for where you are in life.
All the suggestions above can be difficult to develop in our busy lifestyles. Most of them focus on changing the patterns in our lives from one of unconscious existing to conscious living. Conscious living is constantly realizing the little things in life are not little at all, they are some of the most important parts of our lives that we take for granted. Conscious living is also one of the best ways to develop an “attitude of gratitude.”