Welcoming in November with GRATITUDE

Last week I found myself in a bit of a funk. Some regular life frustrations, not feeling good for a day or so after a shingles vaccine, and falling into some entitlement thinking.

It didn’t seem so bad at first, a small wobble. However, as time always reveals, small wobbles when unattended become big deviations.

In November our theme is gratitude. Gratitude seems simple, stay and be thankful, yet it’s a bit more complex. In this TED talk, Dr. Kerry Howells, who teaches educators, poses some interesting ideas about how thinking and thanking are related.

In her talk, two things stood out for me. The first was the idea of how her research revealed that priming ourselves toward an attitude of gratitude prior to learning had a drastic impact on the experience of learning. It seems that lesson could also apply to life.

If I have primed my week, each day, with gratitude perhaps the bumps along my path would have felt different and my week would have turned out to be less funky.

A study with college students showed that writing gratitude letters had a positive impact on mental health and I know when I am more grounded in an attitude of gratitude my days flow more easily.

She also shared that gratitude starts with a feeling of appreciation. Sometimes that is spontaneous, seeing the beautiful leaves turning every fall color. Other times bringing our attention to what is working takes more effort and some form of practice as we develop that skill.

The second step of gratitude is expressing that appreciation. Expressing gratitude is also a practice toward a skill. How often have you felt gratitude and yet failed to express it to the person who you know made that experience possible for you?

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