WWW.WHAT WENT WELL
The research coming from the field of positive psychology has identified there are four attitudes to consider – hope, gratitude, forgiveness and playfulness. Gratitude is simply the readiness and willingness to show appreciation for those things that bring pleasure into our lives. It is the opposite of entitlement, which is running amuck in our society. Entitlement is the attitude that we deserve or are owed something from life. It has to do with what we feel is expected or required from others. Gratitude is our response to the unexpected.
Gratitude is robustly associated with life satisfaction because it is strongly related to our sense of coherence. This is a belief that life is manageable, meaningful and understandable. Gratitude reframes our perspective toward what went well. According to the research, grateful people are more attentive, energetic, helpful, joyful and optimistic. In addition, they tend to be less anxious, depressed, jealous, lonely and materialistic.
“Beginning is half done!”
Our brains are programmed to think negatively, especially when there is a real or perceived threat. Therefore, we must make a conscious effort to turn our minds to the positive. It starts by putting positive things first. When we focus on the things that worked well, what we learned from them, and what we can do again, we have done the hardest part. Over time, your attention will turn to the more positive side of life.
Make a Habit of Gratitude
It is simple to do. At the end of each day, think about three things that went well for you or your family. These can be significant things or small things; it really doesn’t matter. You can choose to share these with someone or just reflect on them. It’s up to you!
Savor the Memories
At the end of every week, take 15 minutes to think back over the week and write down all the things you are thankful for. These do not have to be earth-shattering events. For example, we may be thankful for our car passing inspection or having an for having an umbrella in the trunk when the skies open up as we are putting groceries into our car. Week by week, record these experiences creating a growing journal of positive life moments to reflect upon when in need of a pick-me-up.
Here are suggestions to get the juices flowing-be thankful for
- Your health
- You are healthy enough to serve others in need
- A higher power that offers hope and inspiration to those without
- The meaning and purpose your children have brought to your life
- The warmth of the sun
- Having the resources for the basic necessities in life
- Having the good sense to be grateful
Appreciate and Celebrate
One way to appreciate and celebrate is to write a letter of gratitude. When my son was eighteen years old, he asked me to read a letter he had written. Given that’s kids that age generally protect their privacy, I asked him why he wanted me to read it and he replied, “Because it is going to someone really important and I want it to be perfect” “It was a letter of gratitude to his first grade teacher, Mrs. Westlund.
While presented here to the best my memory has to offer, the major ppints are preserved. It stated,
“Dear Mrs. Westlund,
Thank you for teaching me how to read. My family and I have travelled to places in the world where people cannot read. And, even though I do not like to read, I know how because of you.
Every morning, I remember you saying to us, “Come my little cherubs, there’s magic in the air.” That was how you called us all to the gathering to listen to a story, and each time you raised you arms and wiggled your fingers as though magic was falling all around us. Mrs. Westlund, I did not even know what a cherub was. Al I knew was that I wanted to be one!”
Mrs. Westlund, even though I did not like to read when I was in school, I now know it was because I could not choose what I read about. Today, I read for pleasure because I choose what I read and I can only do that because you taught me to read.
Thanks so much,
Now it’s our turn, Who do we have to be grateful to?
Owner, The Fitzgerald Institute Of Lifelong Learning.