- Religion and Philosophy
Changing Your Attitude With Gratitude
Creating a New Attitude
You may not be able to control every circumstance in life, however you do have control over your attitude. Regardless of your Religious Orientation you can develop a healthy habit of an attitude of gratitude. I am sure that you have head the old worn out cliche "is the glass half full or half empty". It is the same glass but your focus determines how you view what you already have. I choose to believe the glass is all the way full. It is half full of water but the rest of the glass is full of air and perhaps a sprinkling of fairy dust.
But you just don't understand
I've heard that a lot! As a psychotherapist, I have had many people sit across from me lamenting about their life, their spouse, their co-worker or their kids. Often, they come with the desire to change others but little motivation to change themselves. My first task is to hel them see that we can't change others, only ourselves and our attitudes.
"But Doctor Pat, you just don't know my life". Yes, you are right, I do not know every detail of you life. We all face hard times. You might be dealing with a chronic illness (I am), divorce (been there, done that), challenges of parenting (right there with ya), financial problems (yep) or other hardships. Let's face it......Life is tough! Hardships are just part of the human condition. No, you can't always easily fix your circumstances but you can change your attitude. Change your attitude and you can change your life. It is not a quick fix. It takes time, motivation and a desire to change. However, I can give you a couple tools that you can start using today. Right this minute!
What is gratitude and Why is is important?
Gratitude is an attitude. It is one you can cultivate. It can become a habit in your life. By making it a habit, you can change your life. It doesn't matter what religion you are or if you are not a religious person at all. It is all about being thankful for the life you have. It is about rediscovering that magic that often gets lost in the hum drums of daily life. Gratitude can take you to new places and help you connect with that higher power. I believe that being thankful for what we have is the key to finding what we really want.
Count You Many Blessings
Can you make a list of the good things in your life? Do you have a place to sleep tonight? Did you eat today? Do you have shoes on your feet? Even if the answer to these is NO, you still woke up this morning. You still took in breath. Maybe you felt a little sunshine on your face. Taking the time to notice the things you have is powerful!
Make a list of everything you can think of. Post it in a visible place such as by your bed or your bathroom mirror. Read it daily, first thing in the morning and before you go to bed at night. I like the power of the spoken word. I believe that when we speak out loud it speaks to not only my psyche but also to the God I serve. If you don't believe in God, that is fine. Speak your words to your psyche, to the Universe or your Higher Power. The important thing is that you are taking time to notice that which you ALREADY POSSESS.
The Law of Attraction
The Law of Attraction simply states that each of us attracts good thing or bad things into our lives by the power of our thoughts. If I focus my attention on my poverty, I am going to stay poor. If I focus on my bad health, I am going to stay sickly. If I focus on arguing with my significant other, I am going to breed discontent. The Law of Attraction is not inconsistent with Christian Doctrine. Jesus told us to believe to receive! Once you start seeing yourself as a giant magnet you will begin to be more careful with your thoughts and your words.
The spoken word is also powerful in what we attract. A lot of us spend our time mumbling and grumbling about what we don't have. We are giving out powerful signals to the Universe that we don't appreciate that which we have been given. We attract more of the bad and less than the good.
Have you ever heard the expression "Birds of a feather flock together"? So true. Not only in terms of our friends but also in terms of our thoughts. Negativity breeds negativity and positive thoughts and words breed more positive thoughts and words.
Apply this to the people in your life too. If you speak to your spouse by saying "you never do chores around the house" or "you always leave me to do everything" how is your spouse going to respond? Instead, notice what that person does and thanks them for what they did right. You might say "honey, you put the dishes away today, thank you for thinking of that" or "it was great that you let me sleep late today while you took care of the kids".
Apply this too to your children. Celebrate the positive! Show gratitude not only for what they do right but just because they are your children.
Make a commitment to be more positive with yourself and others.
What's about the bad stuff?
Life is never perfect and is probably is not meant to be. I am not telling you to be in denial of your problems. When you have a problem, take the time to recognize that there is an issue that needs your time, your attention but NOT your negativity.
Have you ever solved a problem with a "woe is me" attitude? If it works for you, by all means, keep doing it! If it doesn't work then it is time to try something new.
Often in my own life, I have failed to learn the lessons that God, the universe and life are trying to teach me. When I do that, I am destined to repeat the same mistakes. Now, when I have a problem, I ask God what the lesson is that He is trying to teach me. I positively tell myself and God that I am willing to learn from this experience and I am willing to solve my problems with God's help and a positive attitude. This is not always easy and yeah, we all have those black days when we can not find the "silver lining". However, there is a difference between a bad day and a bad life. I have often told people that thoughts are like birds. I might not be able to control the birds flying over my head but I can refuse to allow them to nest in my hair.
Will it work?
Will these suggestions work? They work if you do it. I encourage you to start now and find that which you are grateful for. Thank God today. Thank your spouse, your kids, your co-workers, and don't forget to thank yourself for making this positive step.
Cultivate an attitude of gratitude and watch you life improve. It worked for me and it works for my children and it has worked for those who have been willing to start a tiny step to make changes in their thinking, their words and their lives. What have you got to loose? Your stinking thinking. Your grumbling. Your ungratefulness to God, the Universe and the people in your life. Now go! Just do it!