The Importance of Practicing Gratitude

Many years ago, I taught with a fantastic man, Adrian.  He would often show up on Monday mornings, with a big grin on his face, smack the nearest person on the back, and loudly exclaim, “Ain’t life grand!”   I secretly felt that he had some suicidal tendencies!  His infectious enthusiasm, marvelous on a Friday after last period, was often not appreciated on a Monday morning.  Did Adrian have the perfect life, perfect family, and lots of money in the bank?  Absolutely not!  What Adrian had was a zest for life.  He had such a positive attitude, a deep-seated appreciation of life, and a marvelous sense of humour.  Life was better around Adrian – except for Monday mornings, that is.

Some days are just better than others.  Some days, the sun shines brighter, things go more smoothly, the stars align, and life is good.  It is easy to be grateful!

Other days, nothing seems to go right.  We have all had those days.  I don’t need to elaborate!  Those are the days where feelings of gratitude are more of a challenge to find.  These are probably the days where it is most important to recognize those things which we often take for granted.

So, why is Practicing Being Grateful so important?

I use the word practicing because I believe that we can change our mindset to focus on what is going right, not wrong.  Have you ever been around people whose negativity sucks the energy out of others around them?  I believe that having a core value of gratitude instilled within us can help avoid this trap.  

  • It puts things into perspective – Instead of that glass being half empty …  It shakes us into realizing that we have so much more than we realize
  • It pushes us out of those ‘stuck moments’.  These might be situations when we face challenges with our business, at home with our families or curve balls that life throws at us.  We stop, and look at the situation from the point of view that ‘this too shall pass’, and this is a learning experience.  Then we can move on. As Tony Robbins once said, “When you are grateful, fear disappears and abundance appears.”
  • We can learn to appreciate the small things.  Ever watch a small child investigate something new?  The sense of wonder is amazing.  When do we lose that sense of wonder?  
  • We can also learn to appreciate the big things that we often take for granted.  What if you woke up tomorrow and realized that you had lost one of your senses – sight or hearing?  What if you lost a precious family member or friend?  What if you got that precious sense or person back the following day?  How much more would you value that gift that had been taken away?  
  • I love this quote from Oprah which sums up so much, “It is not easy being grateful all the time.  But it’s when you feel least thankful that you are most in need of what gratitude can give you.”

At Karlande Designs, we so frequently hear stories from individuals facing horrific challenges and diseases.  We are often touched by the courage and the spirit of these wonderful souls.  They have taught us so many valuable lessons in the importance of gratitude and are the inspiration behind this blog.

Here is your challenge:  For the next week (and you can define that in terms of 5 or 7 days), keep a daily journal of 3 – 10 things for which you are grateful.

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