This year has been a year like none other.
A year filled with fear, isolation, violence, uncertainty, and (for many) immeasurable loss.
2020 has effectively brought a groundswell of negativity that has washed over us all and I pray we do something to regain our footing before we drown!
What has the power to transform negativity into something positive?
What has proven to create a sense of well-being, increase positive emotions, promote better sleep, aid in compassion, empathy, and kindness and even boost our immune system?
The practice of gratitude.
"Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings." ~ William Arthur Ward
There is power in positivity; in fact, many world religions focus on gratitude as a significant foundation to their faith including Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.
Gratitude works, but it takes effort to exercise.
Here are a few things I’ve found to be most useful in the practice of gratitude:
1. Be Mindful- Begin and end your day with gratitude. Start your day with thanksgiving for being alive and having the ability to get out of bed! At the end of each day express one thing you are thankful for- recount the best part of your day.
2. Thank You Attitude- Go out of your way to thank someone. A simple thank you goes a long way. Get creative – thank your mailman, the lady who cleans your office space, the teenager that bags your groceries, your kids for being considerate, or your spouse for taking the garbage out. Being thankful for the acts of service done by others keeps us humble and appreciative.
3. No Complaints- They say if you do anything for at least 21 days you form a new habit. Take a vow to not utter a single complaint for 21 days. You will be amazed at how easy and often complaints just fly out of your mouth without a second thought. If you can master taming complaints, you just might see how liberating it is to remove the toxicity that grumbling, complaining and negativity bring to your life.
4. Take Inventory- Literally, count your blessings. Taking time to write out the things in your life that you are grateful for can infuse thankfulness into your soul and help you to focus on the positives and not the negatives. Can you write out 50 things that are affirmative in your life? How about hot running water, reliable transportation, easy access to food and water. The list goes on….
5. Recognize the Good- If you’ve ever read the Yiddish Folk Tale- “It Could Always Be Worse” then you know how important it is to keep things in perspective and recognize the importance of being thankful for the good things in your life- that whether by choice or by happenstance life could drastically change.
Whether you are washed over with discontent, fear, anxiety, sickness or depression-- gratitude is just what the doctor ordered.
Turn the groundswell of negativity into one of gratitude and be better for it!
Give thanks to Adonai; for He is good, for His grace continues forever. ~ Psalm 107:1