Expressing Gratitude

January 4th, 2009

With the start of a New Year, I find it’s a good time to reflect on my life.  What challenges have I overcome?  Where am I making progress?  What am I grateful for?

Gratitude is a powerful force.  Just ask anyone in a 12-step program.  Recovering alcoholics, drug addicts, and Alanonics will all tell you the difference gratitude makes in their lives.  It keeps us focused on the positive.  It helps us retrain our mind, which might have been conditioned by experience to focus on the bad.  Gratitude also helps us get through the most challenging of times.

Personally, I used gratitude while dealing with my cancer treatment.  When I felt terrible and life looked grim, I focused on what I was grateful for.  It might not have been anything grand.  Perhaps that a friend called to check in.  Or that I had a job which allowed me to call in sick as needed.  Whatever I could hold on to would keep me from falling into despair.

If gratitude doesn’t come easy to you, I have a simple, though silly sounding, suggestion.  When you’re mind keeps going back to your troubles and concerns, go through the alphabet, finding something your grateful for that corresponds with each letter.  A, B, C…  It wont solve your problems, but it may provide you with a moment of relief.  Try it once.  And if it helps at all, do it again.

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