When I moved to Florida, sight-unseen, from my beloved Colorado, I hated it and vowed I’d never stay. I’ve now loved living here for decades and have created a life beyond what I ever thought possible. How did I shift from hating Florida to loving it? I learned to construct happiness…independent of my location or circumstances…and my world changed forever. I then began sharing the principles I learned with others and saw their lives transformed too. It all begins with GRATITUDE.
Have you noticed how easy it is to be grateful when you feel good and your own life is in order? But what happens when things aren’t so tidy? That’s when we’re tested.
Sure, it’s easy to complain. That’s become a cultural norm. Think about the last time someone initiated a conversation with you. Did it begin with a complaint, a judgment, or some other form of blame? (e.g., “Can you believe ________ ?” “He/she/they should ________!”, “She/he/they are idiots!”) Those entice us to share another person’s bias. After all, we want to belong and have allies. It’s become the lazy route to camaraderie! But, what if you knew that focusing on blame or judgment could become a bad habit? A habit that would actually create more struggles in your own life? It’s true. (Have you noticed that the more contentious conversations you have, the more they occur?) You really do get what you focus on! But there is another way.
Consider finding positive things to appreciate! That felt impossible back when I was mired in disliking Florida. So, I began with the smallest thing I could think of. I could appreciate a flower…or a bird….or a winter day without a parka. Gradually, I began to see other things to appreciate. And as I practiced, more opportunities to be grateful began to come my way. That’s how it works. Likes really do attract likes.
In fact, research has been conducted on gratitude. Dr. Robert A. Emmons of the University of California, Davis, and Dr. Michael E. McCullough of the University of Miami asked participants in a recent study to write a few sentences each week, focusing on particular topics.
One group wrote about things they were grateful for that had occurred during the week. A second group wrote about daily irritations or things that had displeased them, and the third wrote about events that had affected them (with no emphasis on them being positive or negative). After 10 weeks, those who wrote about gratitude were more optimistic and felt better about their lives. Surprisingly, they also exercised more and had fewer visits to physicians than those who focused on sources of aggravation.
Remember that the next time you get snagged by negative people, headlines, or circumstances surrounding you. Rather than complaining or blaming, consider finding something positive to feel good about. If you look hard enough, you can always find a positive. Be a trend-setter! Be the one who finds something to appreciate at every turn. And help others by gently redirecting conversations away from blame and judgment. Let gratitude be your gift to our pandemic-weary world this year.
QUOTES TO REMEMBER
Great minds discuss ideas.
Average minds discuss events.
Small minds discuss people.
NOTE FROM LINDA
November’s holiday reminds us to pause and shift our focus to giving thanks. So, I’m focusing my appreciation on all of you. Your challenges, along with my own, have always motivated me to seek out the best possible tools to enrich life or make it easier. And because I only share tools that I’ve successfully tested on myself, I have grown in ways I never thought possible!
A big public THANK YOU to all who have put their faith in me and given me opportunities to serve. And to my cherished readers, know that life satisfaction will come to you too, when you leverage the amazing power of gratitude. How do I know? I learned to construct a fulfilling life through gratitude! And so can you (even during a contentious presidential election).