The Power of Gratitude

Accessing the Power of Gratitude

Hand holding card with the word "thank you" in many languages

The practice of gratitude as a tool for happiness has been in the mainstream for years. Long-term studies support gratitude’s effectiveness, suggesting that a positive, appreciative attitude contributes to greater success in work, greater health, peak performance in sports and business, a higher sense of well-being, and a faster rate of recovery from surgery.

 

But while we may acknowledge gratitude’s many benefits, it still can be difficult to sustain. So many of us are trained to notice what is broken, undone or lacking in our lives. And for gratitude to meet its full healing potential in our lives, it needs to become more than just a Thanksgiving word. We have to learn a new way of looking at things, a new habit. And that can take some time.

 

That’s why practicing gratitude makes so much sense. When we practice giving thanks for all we have, instead of complaining about what we lack, we give ourselves the chance to see all of life as an opportunity and a blessing.

 

Remember that gratitude isn’t a blindly optimistic approach in which the bad things in life are whitewashed or ignored. It’s more a matter of where we put our focus and attention. Pain and injustice exist in this world, but when we focus on the gifts of life, we gain a feeling of well-being. Gratitude balances us and gives us hope.

 

There are many things to be grateful for: colorful autumn leaves, legs that work, friends who listen and really hear, chocolate, fresh eggs, warm jackets, tomatoes, the ability to read, roses, our health, each breath you take,  butterflies. What’s on your list?

 

Some Ways to Practice Gratitude

Stability

• Keep a gratitude journal in which you list things for which you are thankful. You can make daily, weekly or monthly lists. Greater frequency may be better for creating a new habit, but just keeping that journal where you can see it will remind you to think in a grateful way.

 

• Make a gratitude collage by drawing or pasting pictures.

• Practice gratitude around the dinner table or make it part of your nighttime routine.

 

• Make a game of finding the hidden blessing in a challenging situation.

 

• When you feel like complaining, make a gratitude list instead. You may be amazed by how much better you feel.

 

• Notice how gratitude is impacting your life. Write about it, sing about it, express thanks for gratitude.

 

As you practice, an inner shift begins to occur, and you may be delighted to discover how content and hopeful you are feeling. That sense of fulfillment is gratitude at work.

 

It’s YOUR turn: What are your favorite gratitude practices? How has gratitude impacted your life? Please comment below!

 

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Tandy Elisala

Family Caregiver Coach, Cancer Empowerment Advocate and Chief Inspiration Officer at Center for Inspiring Greatness | Empowered Family Caregiver
Tandy Elisala is passionate about helping family caregivers go from being overwhelmed and stressed to empowered and calm. Tandy went through cancer four times and learned how to heal using conventional, complementary, and alternative therapy. Tandy left her corporate career to take care of both parents simultaneously while raising three kids as a single mom. She took care of both parents for 2 1/2 years until their respective deaths. Tandy now teaches what she learned on her journey. Tandy is a family caregiver coach, a multiple best-selling author, inspirational speaker and mom to three adult kids, one angel dog and one diva cat.

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11 replies
  1. Mary Ellen Miller
    Mary Ellen Miller says:

    Dr. Tandy I completely agree in the power of gratitude! One of my favorite is writing down daily a different reason per day why I am thankful for my husband and then telling him. I do it first thing in the morning and the power of gratitude is remarkable.

    Reply
    • Tandy Elisala
      Tandy Elisala says:

      Mary, what a great practice of writing down what you are grateful for and sharing it with your husband. What a great way to grow even closer:-)

      Reply
    • Tandy Elisala
      Tandy Elisala says:

      Right on, Tiffany! Whether saying what you are grateful for silently, out loud or writing it down; it has the same effect.

      Reply
  2. Katherine C H E
    Katherine C H E says:

    Great tips! So true and so powerful.

    Here’s another: start thinking of thinks you appreciate and feel gratitude for RIGHT when you wake up — before you stir much or get out of bed. It sets an amazing tone for the day. It can be as simple as noticing how yummy and perfect the temperature is and how soft your sheets are…

    With gratitude,

    Katherine 🙂
    Singer/Songwriter/TV Show Host

    Reply
    • Tandy Elisala
      Tandy Elisala says:

      Yes, Katherine! Indeed. I’ve had a gratitude practice for years that includes affirming what I’m thankful for each day before getting out of bed. Helps the day get started off in the right direction.

      Reply
  3. Mitch Tublin
    Mitch Tublin says:

    Even a person who feels they have nothing to be grateful for – – –
    – be grateful for each breath you take
    – be grateful for each beat of your heart
    – do one thing for one new person each day that helps them
    There are more, there is always something to be grateful for.

    Reply
    • Tandy Elisala
      Tandy Elisala says:

      Right on, Mitch! Being thankful for each breath that we take is a good place to start when going through difficult times and finding it hard to be thankful.

      Reply

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  1. […] things I’m thankful for every morning served me well during my darkest hours. I relied on gratitude a lot. By focusing on gratitude, I stayed (and shifted) my mindset to a positive […]

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