Being Grateful Helps Your Empowerment

I decided to change things a bit and send my blog out to you a day early so that you get it on Thanksgiving. My guess is that most of you, like me, will be otherwise engaged on the actual day and might not get a chance to read this post. However, since it’s coming out early, maybe you’ll have the opportunity to take a sneak peek.

Thanksgiving, traditionally, is supposed to be a day where we give thanks. So, first I want to extend my gratefulness to all of you for your readership … it means a great deal to me. I also wanted to offer some tips to help focus on the concept of gratitude.

Especially considering recent events, Hurricane Sandy, it’s challenging to stay positive right now.
Additionally, there are so many who have been affected by the ill effects of the ongoing war. Others live with the anticipation and unknown … also quite devastating. And then, of course, there’s the economy that still is so difficult. As a result, the Holidays may not seem as joyful as you’d like.

Of course, there are the more common problems of day-to-day living that can be quite stressful and anxiety provoking. These can be brought on by any number of situations: loss of loved ones, divorce, health issues, and divisiveness among families.

So it may seem hard to be thankful.

But, I would suggest to you that even in the worst situation, there is a way to find something positive, there is a way to look at a situation more optimistically.

The truth is that for some people, being optimistic comes easily. It turns out that they are genetically born to be that way. Even for those of you who are not blessed with this gene, there are things you can learn to do to have a brighter perspective on life. And … there is a very good reason to make the effort to do so. Research has shown that being optimistic is better for your health both physically and psychologically. Bottom line: you’re more empowered!

I’ve put together several suggestions to help you achieve a more positive attitude:

  1. As taught in a class on Positive Psychology, do an exercise to increase gratitude. Each night (it has to be done at night), write down three things for which you are grateful for that day (it must be written to be effective). They should be small things like you didn’t hit traffic. The idea is to find more and more small things to make you happy enabling you to find more and more small things in life that make you happy.
  2. If something bothers you, ask yourself, “Will this upset me in a month, in a year, in five years?” Seeing it this way allows you to put things in perspective.
  3. When something bad happens consider what the lesson in it is. Even bad things offer meaning.
  4. If there is something tragic that occurs, consider that it happened as a reminder to help you take on a broader awareness of the important things in life.
  5. Try to laugh more; humor is very helpful for “letting go” and seeing things in a different light.
  6. Learn to accept others (and yourself) as they are — warts and all. No one is perfect and our diversity is what keeps us interesting and allows us to learn from one another.
  7. Know that whatever is upsetting will pass.

Remember that you always have a choice in how you react.

Hopefully, these tips will help you and maybe even trigger some of your own ideas. Again, remember that the more you are able to deal with life’s challenges, the greater sense of empowerment you will have.