Oprah made gratitude trendy.
Two things are true. 1) Oprah is smart. 2) There’s nothing new under the sun.
Gratitude, counting your blessings, looking on the bright side — all are time-tested practices that have a really good track record for improving your perspective. With an improved perspective, or outlook, more possibilities come into view. You can actually change your situation, or the way you view it, by looking for something to be grateful for.
I’m not talking about denying reality, or sugarcoating anything, or being one of those insufferable New Agers or [fill in the blank with name of most irritating religion in this moment] who make you feel like you can never have a “down” moment. Nope, I am talking about just taking time,, at the beginning and end of each day, to stop and remember everything you have to be grateful for.
I’ve faced some pretty daunting challenges in my life — who hasn’t? — and this I have learned: After I have identified a problem, it does no good whatsoever to wallow in it and bitch about it. Nothing changes until I change. Nothing changes until YOU change. The easiest thing you can do is change your thoughts, your focus. What you focus on, expands. The more you focus on your problems, the bigger your problems become. Problems can quickly overtake your whole life. However — you can change that on a dime. The key is to get control of your thoughts.
I’m grateful that I have good friends.
I’m grateful that I have a home to invite them to, so that we can watch a movie together.
I’m grateful that I have a nice TV so that people can come over and watch a movie.
I’m grateful that I have wonderful work, and colleagues, who are friends. . .(see #1)
I’m grateful for days so full of clients that I am really, really tired at the end of the day.
I am grateful for days that have few or no clients, so that I can work on other projects, or be spontaneous and do whatever I feel like doing. I am grateful to have this flexibility in my work life.
I am grateful to have a loving and supportive partner.
I am grateful that my fabulous adult children turned out in spite of me.
I am grateful to have the pleasure of being a cat slave.
I am grateful to be part of the cultural, artistic, and innovative fabric of my city — one of the great cities in the world!
I am grateful for all the people who choose to work with me, who find that work to be of value, and who compensate me.
I am grateful for my warm pajamas and snuggly bed that await me as soon as I finish writing this.
I am grateful for EmergenC, and that I am feeling better than I did this time last night.
I am grateful for the prospect of a pleasant, interesting, and productive day tomorrow.
That didn’t take long to come up with a list of fourteen items. I was already having a pretty good day, and now I will go to sleep with a happy and grateful heart, instead of full of worries and complaints. Sometimes, the list is not so long. Sometimes, it is a struggle to come up with just three items. But you must. I am convinced that remembering to be grateful — thankful — appreciative — is one of the most important things I do.