An Attitude of Gratitude

By Jenifer Tull-Gauger

I was “in a funk.”  The year had been hard on me.  Way too busy.  Most of the busyness was good—we had non-stop visits from family and friends, and enriching events to attend.  But our finances were severely strained and I saw no solution.  My own schedule was pulled in so many directions, I felt I had no time to breathe.  I noticed my patience, calm and spirit  leaving as any little negativity from anyone brought me unnecessary aggravation.

I started to notice similar messages coming to me from many different sources—the book I was reading, a caring friend, an article, Ted Talks on YouTube.  The messages were about expressing gratitude.  The simple methods for doing this daily inspired me.  I started to put some of the suggestions into action.

At first, the time, money and other stressors were still there, but I noticed a change in myself.  My days were easier and more joyful, even with all the activities.  I was able to laugh with my family and we had more fun together.  Instead of being annoyed that I didn’t have time to stop and enjoy the sunset, I glanced at the sky, took a breath, and continued my activity, being grateful to do so under beautiful orange clouds.

Here are the simple ways I found to express gratitude:

-Upon waking, let one of your first thoughts be about thanks for the new day.

-Start each work day by sending an e-mail to someone saying thanks or telling what you appreciate about them.

-Write a short note to a family member with a message of praise and love.  Deliver it.

-Cut out a small heart paper, write what you appreciate about your significant other, and place it where he/she will find it.

-Smile at someone.

(Note: Do the above four in faith that they will be received in the positive spirit in which they were given, but do not expect anything in return, not even an acknowledgement.)

-Throughout your day, notice your blessings (a green light, fluffy clouds, a kind word, a satisfying meal), take a breath, and be grateful.

I hope you will consider trying some or all of these simple ways to express gratitude.  They helped me change my attitude and find more joy.

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