I have on a few occasions gone on at length about cliches and how over the millennia, they’ve become “overused and betray a lack of original thought.” Reflecting back, it is now apparent I have a definite affinity to keep spewing them out on a fairly regular basis.
Perhaps all of this comes back to the fact, they are often great fodder for a blog post or two.
Given that assumption, today’s cliche is the oldie, nevertheless well used especially around Thanksgiving, that being “An Attitude of Gratitude.”
Now, not to pick on the Thanksgiving holiday tradition, but gratitude often floats to the surface with any force and regularity only during this particular three-day celebration.
In between the feasting and fall walks in the woods over the traditional Thanksgiving long weekend(in Canada, Thanksgiving weekend covers a Saturday, Sunday and holiday Monday), we may take a few brief moments to ponder the things we’re thankful for whether they be family, friends, health and alike.
However, notice the “we may take a few brief moments…….” part.
I’m making a huge assumption that many people do take time over that three day holiday to “give thanks.” Or at least at some point between the eating, drinking and fall treks through the forest and visits to the local pumpkin patch to ponder the whole “gratitude” thing.
For many, unfortunately, the Thanksgiving holiday long weekend is simply that – a holiday and nothing more than three consecutive days off.
Nevertheless, having a structured holiday, that at least in theory leads us down a road to express thanksgiving and gratitude is a wonderful thing. Even if it is only once a year.
However, once a year is simply not enough.
There is a stack of dry research someplace, that goes on at length as to the social, mental and physical benefits of cultivating gratitude as an ongoing skill.
Nevertheless, gratitude is all about feeling and expressing thanks. Thanks for all that we have received. For all that we have, regardless of how much or how little that may be. And thanks for things that have not happened to us, like poor health as an example.
Gratitude is the opposite of being discontented.
It can be a difficult exercise depending on the circumstances, and often we only discover it after time has passed and usually during a period of retrospection. But, there is always something to be grateful for, no matter how negative or desperate things may seem.
Thus, developing an “attitude of gratitude” begins to change our perspective on life.
It can start to toss in the garbage bin many, if not most, of those daily frustrations that often garner most of our attention, but in reality, are simply the “small stuff.” Those hindrances, circumstances or things that cause rise to feelings of anger, resentment, impatience, judging negatively.
Gratitude and developing an attitude of it helps to dilute self-pity and self-centeredness. While at the same time, working to increase feelings of our own well-being and that the world doesn’t necessarily revolve around us. That we belong to something much bigger and are intertwined and connected to others in our sphere of existence, as well with the world as a whole.
Five Reasons to Develop an “Attitude of Gratitude”
- Gratitude Promotes Contentment – working diligently to cultivate gratitude has been proven to be one of the most trustworthy methods for increasing peace and satisfaction in life. Our moods begin to improve due to the fact that gratitude “buffs up” feelings of pleasure, joy, enthusiasm, as well as other positive emotions. When the positive increases, feelings of anxiety and depression are often reduced. Seems like a win-win situation.
- Gratitude Improves Our Physical Self – there are numerous studies that suggest an “attitude of gratitude” helps to keep us healthier. It has been shown to help lower blood pressure; bolster our immune system; reduce many symptoms of illness and thus make us less focussed on those aches and pains that often show up, but are really not that troubling in our day to day lives.
- Gratitude Improves Sleep – those who are grateful often get more sleep at night. It has been shown that they spend less time awake before falling asleep, thus waking up in the morning feeling more rested.
- Gratitude Builds Better Relationships – having that attitude of gratitude makes us feel closer to friends and most importantly to those that we love the most, our family. When people express gratitude for those around them, the relationships we have are significantly more satisfying.
- Gratitude Inspires “Paying It Forward” – those who are grateful tend to be those who are more helpful, warmhearted and often more open to sharing their gifts whether they be emotional or material. All of these qualities tend to spill over on to those around them.
Without a doubt, “an attitude of gratitude” is a well-worn and over-used cliche, to say the least.
But that doesn’t deflect from or dimish the definition and purpose of cultivating an attitude that oozes gratitude.
In fact, when we start down that road to developing and enhancing gratitude within our own lives, we benefit and those around benefit immensely as well.
Ultimately, we win and in the process, others find themselves in the winner’s circle right beside us.
And in a world that often demands that there be “winners and losers”, perhaps this is one simple way to begin knocking that “view of life” on its ass.
A couple of questions:
- How do you practice “an attitude of gratitude?”
- Is it something that comes automatically or do you need to be thinking “attitude of gratitude?”
Thanks for stopping by!