This month we would like to continue the focus on Gratitude that many people have in November. It feels appropriate to have the final topic of the year be Gratitude as it comes often as a fruit of our efforts to grow in other areas we discussed in previous months. If you aren’t there yet in your growth like many of us, don’t give up on finding gratitude. You may just still need to work through your current struggle, but it will be waiting for you on the other side.
Let’s look a little deeper into the development of Gratitude. It seems it’s in the absence of something that we learn to really appreciate it. I was driving to my office this morning and deeply appreciating the change of season while I am here in central Washington. Even though I previously lived in this same area, nearly 21 years ago and have since visited many times, it took living the previous 5 years in Orlando, Florida for me to more fully appreciate the changes of season, mountains, and unique aspects of this area. I also now appreciate Orlando more that I am not able to enjoy its warm tropical weather. I truly believe that it is the things that we struggle to achieve, must wait for, or are forced to go without that allow us to develop gratitude. Gratitude is worth the effort to develop. Developing gratitude in our lives leads to abundance, positive emotional well-being, and even feeling connected to others just to name a few of the benefits. If I could fully develop any skill to increase my happiness, an attitude of gratitude would be top on my list.
So how do we develop an attitude of gratitude? One of my favorite teachers on this subject is the late Dr. Wayne Dyer. He taught that “abundance is not something we acquire, it’s something we tune into.” As stated earlier, gratitude and abundance are closely connected and each of us possesses the capacity to develop an abundant mindset. Each day our minds have to sift through more information than we can consciously process, which forces our brain to be attentive to what we have cued as important. For example, recently I made it a practice to look up each day and take notice of the beauty of nature around me and take a few moments to focus on what I uniquely like about the landscape. I have done it so often now, I don’t even have to think about it, but can just enjoy the feeling of abundance from the natural beauty that surrounds me.
While I have gained appreciation for nature in this way, we can apply this to anything. Focus on “what is positive, abundant, or unique” in the moment and your brain will record that pattern with greater and greater ease. Your brain will begin to look for and experience abundance and rewire itself. We are not biologically set in our pathways. This has been long since disproved, and a previous attitude of scarcity and not having or being enough can be replaced with a feeling of gratitude for what unique and positive aspects are present in your life at this time. It is my hope that you will be able to see your life with new eyes, much like I did my home town, and enjoy life more fully. I wish each of us the ability to intentionally develop the gift of gratitude this December.
Try the G.L.A.D. technique once a day to train your brain to feel more gratitude
G – Pick one thing you are “grateful” for today
L – Identify one thing you “learned” today
A – Acknowledge one small accomplishment you had today
D – Remember one thing you delighted in today
(This is enhanced when you pick something new each day in each area)