In his article, The Six Things We All Need to be Thankful For, Glenn Gesher, Ph.D., encourage us to first look to the things closest to us to cultivate gratitude. According to Gesher, focusing on the following things is a great place to begin our gratitude practice:
Food, shelter, and the basics: Instead of focusing on the fact that you don’t live in a mansion, you can focus on the fact that you have a dwelling that protects you from the elements and allows you and your family to gather and sleep safely. It doesn’t matter if you rent or own your home, if it is an apartment or a 3 bedroom home with a yard. You may not have the finest foods in the refrigerator, you may not have a fully stocked pantry, but being thankful for the last meal you ate helps shift the focus toward abundance rather than lack. Showing appreciation for the basics is the very first step in cultivating gratitude.
Family: This includes partners, parents, children, in-laws and other extended family members. Do they always meet all of our expectations? Probably not; but shifting focus away from that and toward what they do provide us is the next step in cultivating gratefulness in our lives. Perhaps they listen to us, or help us get from place to place; they may share vegetables from their garden, or tell us funny stories. Focus on these positive aspects more often that you focus on the frustrating things that family members do and watch your feelings of gratitude soar.
Pets: Take time to appreciate the love and comfort that is so freely given by the animals in your life. Again, pets can cause frustration in our lives from time to time. That frustration can actually act as a signal to intentionally shift your focus to something you appreciate about your pet.
To add to Gesher’s list, you can also find opportunities throughout the day to appreciate some of these things:
- Your health: Identify elements of your health that serve you well.
- Your skills and abilities: Find ways to acknowledge how your abilities have helped you get where you are in life.
- Your friends: How do your friends support you during challenging moments?
- Your coworkers: Identify the things coworkers do that contribute to the success of the program.
- Community helpers: Recognize the service of people who dedicate their lives to making sure your community continues to function smoothly.
- The Internet: List the ways that the internet helps simplify your life and keeps you in contact with friends and loved ones.
- Modern transportation: Think of the ways that the modes of transportation you use have a positive impact on your life.
- Indoor plumbing: This may seem like a stretch, but somedays this might be all that you can find to be grateful for… but even on our toughest days, we can all be grateful that we no longer use outhouses!
For the main article Cultivating Gratitude, CLICK HERE
For the article Research on Gratitude – The Benefits, CLICK HERE
For the article Strategies for Adults, CLICK HERE
For the article Introducing Gratitude to Children, CLICK HERE