Gratitude as a way of life is the focus of today's Mindset Monday. I can’t think of anything that can transform a situation or my feelings about something more than finding and acknowledging gratitude. We often hear about having an attitude of gratitude. But, gratitude is more than just an attitude. It’s also a feeling, an emotion, a virtue, a way to cope…I’d even go so far to say that gratitude can be a way of life.Enjoy this episode? Please subscribe to the podcast in iTunes and leave a 5 star rating and review! They really do matter, and I read every one of them. Episode Notes Hello, thanks for listening Ovation Nation to double digit Mindset Monday – it’s episode 10! I’m your host, Marc Smith. I want to talk on this Mindset Monday about gratitude as a way of life. I can’t think of anything that can transform a situation or my feelings about something more than finding and acknowledging gratitude. We often hear about having an attitude of gratitude. But, gratitude is more than just an attitude. It’s also a feeling, an emotion, a virtue, a way to cope…I’d even go so far to say that gratitude can be a way of life. Joel Osteen says, “Choosing to be positive and having a grateful attitude is going to determine how you’re going to live your life.” What is Gratitude So, what is gratitude? The word itself is made up from the latin root word gratia. If you think about the word, in addition to gratitude, you’ll notice that the words grateful, gracias, gratify, gratuity, and grace come from it. So, gratitude has to do with kindness, and giving, and favor, and generosity, and receiving something unearned. To me, gratitude as a way of life comes from a deep, happy place in me that is full of appreciation, humility and joyfulness. It goes beyond the good manners of saying thank you, or the obligation like when some parents ask their children, “Now, what do you say to grandma?” Those cultural forms of appreciation have their place. But, as the author, GK Chesterton writes, “I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by joy.” The Benefits of Gratitude as a Way of Life I suppose because gratitude as a way of life comes from the heart, it makes sense that researchers are finding that it’s good for your health. A study showed that patients who experienced a heart attack were more likely to suffer another heart attack within 8 years if they blamed their attack on others and outside factors. This was opposed to heart attack patients who acknowledged benefits and gains from their experience, including being more appreciative of life. They had a reduced risk for another heart attack. If nothing else, a focus on gratitude can help us want to take better care of our bodies. In other research, it’s been found that positive emotions, including gratitude, have a physiological healing effect on our body as they undo the harmful effects of negative emotions. I think this is what Naomi Williams may have been thinking when she said, “It is impossible to feel grateful and depressed at the same time.” Gratitude in Tough Times But, is gratitude as a way of life easier said than done during hard times? I mean it’s pretty easy to be grateful when things going great and life seems in flow. But what happens when we suffer loss, or face hardships? What do we do with gratitude blockers like anger, resentment, and grief? Well, gratitude, or finding gratefulness in even the toughest of times, plays a role in eventual happiness and growth. Living with gratitude as a way of life can help transform even the darkest moments into an opportunity for growth. It’s not about being grateful for the circumstances. I’m not grateful for loss or even a dumb decision that’s made things difficult. It’s more about being grateful for the skills you have for transforming those circumstances into something positive or for growth. Remembering my Mom with Gratitude One of the reasons that I chose gratitude for Mindset Monday is that this week, 7 years ago, my mom went into hospice and passed away from breast cancer. It’s always a tough week as it brings to the top of my mind how much I miss her. I don’t think that’ll ever go away. So, I feel the sorrow, the pain of loss returns, the tears come when I realize how much I miss just picking up the phone and talking. But, I also turn to gratitude as I remember her and celebrate her role in me becoming the man I am today. I’m grateful that I was her son and she was my mom. I’m grateful that I felt the unconditional love that only a mom can give. I’m thankful that I have her empathy for those who are suffering and working toward a better life. I’m grateful that she brought dogs into our home at such a young age and taught my sister and I to be responsible and love all animals. I’m grateful that she taught me to always look for the good in a person. I’m thankful that she and my dad instilled a sense of humor in me that’s one of the most valuable things that I have. I’m grateful that I learned so much from her about strength and graciousness as I watched her fight like hell against the disease and then face dying. And, I’m grateful that from her death I have determined to live with even more happiness, purpose, and success in my life. So, if you’re listening to this episode in the morning, what is there happening today that you can be grateful for? Or, if you’re listening at the end of the day, what are 2 or 3 good things, gifts, benefits that happened today that fill you with gratitude. Make these questions a habit. Research shows that reminding ourselves of things we are grateful for affirms us and makes us happier. As Dr. Robert Emmons says in his book, Thanks! How Practicing Gratitude Can Make You Happier, “When we are grateful, we affirm that a source of goodness exists in our lives.” Gratitude “Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.” – Eckhart Tolle
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