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Accessing the Power of Gratitude

Gratitude

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, butterflies. What’s on your list?

Some Ways to Practice Gratitude

  • 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.

– Billie Frances

 

Author’s content used with permission, © Claire Communications

Full Speed Ahead with Positive Thinking

Full Speed Ahead with “Yes, and” Thinking

Nothing zaps a great idea faster than “Yes, but….” You might as well say “No.”

It’s not just about semantics. In fact, “Yes, but” may be the No. 1 phrase for killing personal hope, putting great ideas on ice and threatening innovation in organizations.

Take Jonah, for example. Jonah is a senior manager in the real estate division of a large financial services company when he learns of an open position in the company’s prestigious new-product research team. He’s been successful in the real estate division, but never really fulfilled. What he really loves is the charge he gets brainstorming new ideas and researching their viability.

Jonah is excited to apply for the position—initially, then during a conversation with a friend, he says, “Yeah, I’d be great for that team, but you have to know someone to get named.” After the call, he finds himself increasingly discouraged.

Will he get the position? At this rate, he won’t even apply.

Luckily, Jonah’s coach points out his self-defeating self-talk and suggests a simple fix.

“Yeah,” Jonah says again, “I’d be great, and it’s hard to get on the new-products team if you don’t know someone, but I’m going to give it a shot.” Catching himself again, he says, “And I’m going to give it a shot.”

He works hard on his résumé, even proposes a potential product line for the team to consider, and shows up impeccably for his interview. Jonah doesn’t get the position, and that’s okay because in the process he’s become clearer about his career goals. He’s inspired to take some classes and to develop his network of contacts, thus making his success more likely in the future.

And Thinking

And is powerful. And unites opposites opens up opportunity, creates possibilities that weren’t evident before. Couple and with yes, and you have a winning combination. Here are a few more examples.

Yes, and opens up possibility.

Yes, I wake up many mornings with ideas for new inventions, but I’m an accountant. I can’t quit my job.

Yes, I have lots of ideas for inventions, and as an accountant, I’ve handled my money well. Next month I’m building a prototype of my most promising idea.

Yes, and invites cooperation.

Yes, I’d love to telecommute, but my boss doesn’t trust anyone and would never go for it.

Yes, I’d love to work from home, and my boss has trouble trusting his employees. I’ll develop a proposal showing him the benefits of telecommuting and suggest that we try it for a month.

Yes, and encourages creativity.

Yeah, I’d love to live here, but you have to be rich to buy a house in this market.

Yeah, I want to live here, and the market is challenging. So I’m seeking unconventional opportunities as I improve my finances.

Try it on. Every time you hear yourself say, “Yes, but,” change it to “yes, and.” In that moment, you’re breaking the habit of closed thinking. The more you do it, the more open your thinking will become. As with any habit, it takes time to break. And it’s worth it.

Author’s content used under license, © 2008 Claire Communications