Compassionate Counseling

Spiritually-Integrated Psychotherapy and Counseling, a service of CSER

Compassionate Counseling

Three Ways To Bring Gratitude Into Your Life

By Anne Naylor

There is a lot of bad news around. No news in that. Does it get to you? . Being grateful for what is immediately around me alleviates unnecessary stress, and restores my spirit. In response to my recent post 4 Steps to Enrich Your Life I received the following from one reader:

1. Control Your Attitude

The article reaffirmed my belief that we really are what we think. After reading the article, I stopped focusing on my stress, and good things actually started happening again. I have to practice this daily or it is easy for me to get a bit depressed. In fact, as part of my "gratitude practice," I have an online journal that lists the things I am grateful for with photographs to illustrate them. It is great to have the blog format, because it is portable and I can check in from anywhere if needed. So, when I am feeling frustrated at work, I can take a quick break, and visit my site and remember what is important and what I am grateful for. I highly recommend this to others as a mental exercise. It takes time to update, but the result is a wonderful list of gratitude and images that show the beauty and joy in my life.

This reader reminded me how, as much as we may not be in control of the circumstances of our lives, we can be in control of our attitude. Gratitude is a great attitude.

"I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder." G.K. Chesterton


2. Develop Appreciation At our monthly Possible Dream Meeting last Saturday morning, we did an appreciation exercise which I have done many times with groups. It can be done as a family at a picnic; on a lunch break with co-workers; with friends who get together from time to time.

The exercise is simple and can be done spontaneously. Look around fellow members of your group and write down the greatest strengths and positive qualities you observe in each one. If you do not know the people well, trust your intuition to show you. Look down the list of qualities you have written.

Then, take it in turn to tell each person the qualities and strengths you notice and appreciate in them.

3. Own Your Strengths We are mirrors to each other. We will recognize in others the strengths and qualities we have in ourselves. Sometimes a person will say: Oh no. I don't have that quality. Invariably, one other will affirm that he or she does. Sometimes, we are not aware of our greatest strengths. Other times, we have yet to fully develop them.

The beauty of this exercise is that of being more open with people around you. You grow trust and feel safe to enjoy new bonds. It will also assist you to touch in to the best of your human spirit. This awareness can help to sustain you through challenging times. When you are in touch with the spirit within you, you will not feel alone or abandoned.

On Saturday, I wrote the qualities I observed in the others, and those they fed back to me, on a card. I have it by me this week.

Please take a moment to appreciate yourself. It is a way to be in touch with the remarkable spirit that you are.

"Appreciation is a wonderful thing.

It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well."


Finally, I am grateful for that human spirit that lives within each of us; that connects us profoundly to the goodness in each other; that has the solutions to our problems; that in the middle of chaos and disillusionment, nevertheless radiates joy.

(For more from Anne Naylor click here to visit her website. )