We are all aware of the benefits that come from manifesting genuine appreciation and gratitude. But sometimes that’s easier said than done. In the face of a sinking economy, do you find it difficult to focus on gratitude? When it feels like your very way of life is being threatened, can you still have an attitude of gratitude?
Yes, sometimes finding the good in a situation can seem like looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack. Yet, the benefits of being in a state of genuine gratitude in spite of what’s going on around us are worth investigating. This is where focus comes into the picture. We can actually train ourselves to search for, discover, and focus on legitimate reasons for gratitude.
Seek gratitude and you will find it
Regardless of where we are, or what we may be doing, there is always something in our life worthy of your gratitude. The challenge is to train ourselves to automatically search for reasons to manifest gratitude and appreciation.
This may or may not be your natural tendency, but with practice all of us can certainly develop the gratitude habit.
Have you ever been around someone who never has a bad word to say about anyone or anything? How do you feel while in the company of that person? It’s refreshing, isn’t it?
Conversely, have you ever been around someone who always has something negative to say? How does that make you feel? Nobody likes to be around Mr. Bummer, especially since negative attitudes can be so contagious.
So the first thing we can do is to seek out friends and associates whose tendency is toward gratitude and positive thinking. At the same time, to the degree possible, we want to avoid spending too much time with those who like to dwell on the dark side. Choosing our associates wisely can really help us to cultivate the attitude of gratitude.
Now that we’ve surrounded ourselves with a more positive group of people, what should we do next?
Become a gratitude treasure hunter
We want to develop the habit of searching for, and discovering, something to appreciate about every person, situation, or experience we encounter.
Admittedly, this can be difficult sometimes. That’s why I likened it to a treasure hunt. Even if the situation you are in seems to be 99% negative, could you locate that one percent that is worthy of your gratitude? Once located, could you focus on it?
I was thinking about people that pan for gold. Almost all of what fills their gold pan is just rubble, but where is their focus? Most of the time, they don’t even see the gravel and sand because they are searching for the sparkle. They’re looking for that tiny, little fragment of gold, and they are so focused that their mind filters out everything else.
What happens when they find that little piece of gold? They get excited, their focus increases, and their gratitude grows. Could we apply that approach to our daily life?
Choose the gratitude orientation
Popular opinion and the nightly news seem to have combined to paint a very negative picture. How much have these two, powerful forces influenced your personal viewpoint?
It is far too easy to adopt the perspective of the majority when you are surrounded by negativity, but in this case it’s not a very healthy option. To keep a positive perspective, you need to learn to think for yourself, and avoid letting others do it for you. That means you need to find ways of limiting your exposure to those who influence your thinking in a negative direction. That way you can…
1) Stay informed, but without getting too absorbed.
2) Choose to focus on the positive aspects of every situation.
3) Change the subject when a conversation starts to go negative.
Everything is seeking balance
When the natural state of balance is disrupted, something always happens to correct the situation. Sometimes a correction may seem painful, but that does not mean that it’s a bad thing.
If you push yourself too hard, for too long, while ignoring your health and the need for rest, what will happen? Chances are, you’ll get sick. Nobody likes to be sick, but in reality it’s just your body’s way of seeking balance. You needed to rest and recover, and being sick provides the opportunity to do just that.
If you find yourself in this situation, could you appreciate the fact that you are now getting some much-needed rest? See, there is always some reason for gratitude.
If an economy pushes itself too hard, it gets out of balance. Right now the economy is sick because it needs to rest and recover. Can we appreciate that the end result will be a healthier, more balanced economy?
Use questions to build your feelings of gratitude
Regardless of the situation you find yourself in, asking the right questions, or making the right statements, can help you discover some hidden reason for gratitude.
1) What is there about this situation that I can appreciate?
2) What valuable lesson has this experience taught me?
3) How can I benefit from this person’s example?
4) What is this person’s most outstanding, positive characteristic?
5) How can I inject some positive energy into this situation?
If you cultivate the habit of focusing on the positive, your level of gratitude will increase. As you find more and more reasons to appreciate every aspect of your life, you will become a magnet for attracting positive energy. And that positive energy flowing into your life will give you even more cause for genuine gratitude.
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