Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Attitude of Gratitude

Several years ago I participated in a six-month class called “Authentic Happiness.”  It focused on the integration of positive psychology and specific actions to take to increase long-term happiness.  It may come as no surprise to you that one of the predominant methods to enhance happiness is to increase the feeling of gratitude.  I think of November, the month of Thanksgiving, as a perfect time to look at the power of gratitude. 

This article will focus on several ways to integrate gratitude into your daily writing.  Make these exercises a part of your regular journaling practice and watch your happiness quotient soar!

Gratitude List

This simple, straightforward practice takes just a few minutes a day.  Each evening (or morning, if you prefer), write down three things for which you are grateful.  Some days this will be easy; some days it will be difficult.

To create your list, consider your lifestyle, relationships, work, spiritual life, family, pets and possessions.  For example, “I am grateful for being able to do work that I love.”  Or, “I am grateful for how my sisters and I support one another in times of crisis.”  

I find that if I’ve skipped a couple of days writing my gratitude list, I try to double the list the next time I sit down and write.  It helps to “rev up” the feeling of gratitude.

Three Blessings

Martin Seligman, a pioneering psychologist in the field of happiness and positive psychology, suggests an exercise called Three Blessings.  Dr. Seligman suggests you write down three blessings of the day (for young children, this may be called Three Good Things). 

In the second part of this list, write down what part you played in making this blessing happen.  For example, let’s say you met a new friend recently and had a nice chat over lunch.  The blessing might be, “I had a great talk with my new friend Linda over lunch.”  The impact you had on this blessing becomes “I reached out and initiated getting together with my new friend Linda.”

Or, suppose you wrote an especially warm note to a colleague or co-worker.  Your blessing was a new level or deepening of the connection with your co-worker.  For the impact you had on helping the blessing occur, you might write down “I took the time to write a note.” 

The additional benefit of the Three Blessings exercise is not only is it bound to make you feel happier, but also after several weeks, it increases your self-esteem.

Turn Resentments Upside Down

If you are challenged in writing down blessings or listing what you are grateful for, here is another exercise that may be of help. 

This time, start with resentments.  Write a short list of the things you resent.  For example, you might write down, “I had a difficult childhood because my family moved frequently.”  While this may be absolutely true, think for a moment about a benefit or appreciation this situation provided.  You might write down “Moving frequently caused me to learn to be flexible.”  You will find there will be times when it will be a bit of a stretch to come up with a positive perspective.  Keep at it though, and notice what happens when you work your gratitude muscles!

I’ll end this article on gratitude by taking this opportunity to thank you for your subscription to our monthly e-zine.  I am grateful for your support and trust; it is a pleasure to meet with you each month. I hope that you find these articles helpful in your writing and personal growth.

With all good wishes for a wonderful season of Thanksgiving,

If you find yourself wanting some support in connecting to what you are grateful for, contact me and request a GRATIS SESSION via phone or in person. Phone (800) 552-WRITE, that's (800) 552-9748 or write to me at susan@susanborkin.com to find out more.

Take good care,


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1 comment:

  1. I am grateful and thankful for your blog. It makes me remember to be kind and thankful which ultimately makes me a happier person. While I receive many emails, your is one that I never skip over and if i do I definitely get back to it later.
    Happy Thanksgiving!