Attitude of Gratitude

Glass mosaic church window

Church isn’t the only place to give thanks

This is the season of the year when we focus more intentionally on our blessings.  A grateful spirit brightens the mood, boosts energy and fills daily living with a sense of glad abundance.  Gratitude means being thankful for your family, your health, your job, even the weather.

Although giving thanks is an ancient virtue, only recently have psychologists focused on the “trait” of gratitude-appreciation, not just for a piece of fine crystal or a bouquet of roses, but for everyday things that make life a bit better.    Gratitude is an emotional and intellectual process that comes from recognition that someone has treated you kindly.  It’s not feeling good because something good happens, but realizing that someone deliberately did something of value for you.

A truly grateful spirit responds to the simplest of unexpected gifts such as the ones we receive everyday from our pets.  Their unconditional love is shown in so many ways — excited greets at the door after a long days work,  their quiet presence at our feet while we talk on the telephone, and their soft cuddles and wet noses keeping us warm at bedtime.  The love they show us is a daily gift to be grateful for.   This world would be a better place if we could learn to meet each day with the enthusiasm and energy that we see in our furry friends.

How can we help our gratitude to grow?  We can make thankfulness part of our daily emotional diet.  We can focus on positive attributes-a ready smile, a helping hand, a listening ear.  We can develop a good memory for kindnesses that have come our way-a teacher’s encouragement, a friend’s loyalty.  Expressing gratitude can be more than a “thank you.”  Write a note when you notice a job well done or a kind act.  Tell a store clerk what a good job they did . Hold the door for the young mother with a toddler.  Spend that extra few minutes playing with your pet.  And, be thankful for one more thing; the chance to let someone else saver the sweetness of a grateful moment.

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