Gratitude is an attitude: Shift to a Full Cup
Posted on May 17 2021
Are you the “cup is half full” or the “cup is half empty” type person?Gratitude is definitely an attitude I find that it is important to cultivate. It does take some attention to this attitude. To begin, I am positive by nature, but there are times when I find it challenging to live a genuinely happy life. For me, a genuinely happy life includes feeling comfortable in my own skin and not comparing myself to everybody else or feeling that I would rather be someplace else than where I am.
There will always be someone who is younger, prettier, luckier, or more successful than me. When I spend too much time on social media, flip through magazines, or watch TV, it becomes easy to lose my gratitude and slip into doubting myself and not feeling comfortable in my own skin.
Being a scuba instructor, I have spent several years traveling around the world and living out of a backpack. I recall that when I lived on islands without newspapers or internet access, when I walked barefoot everywhere, and ate freshly prepared meals, I felt happy and grateful every day. I thought I was so lucky. I was filled with gratitude for living this life.
stunt work on Hollywood movies, and creating empowering jewelry from healing gemstones I find along the way during my world travels.
Perspectives on GratitudeEven though I have everything I need (and perhaps more!), there are definitely times when I have to remind myself to be grateful for what I have and the life I live.
I look around and see that I am not alone. Some of my friends and family members, who seemingly have everything, are not completely happy.
When I reflect on these people, I notice some of the following observations. They have a home to live in; they are healthy. They don’t have debt. And they may have well-paying jobs with flexible schedules. These people have spouses and families.
On the other hand, through my travels, I have seen true happiness that doesn’t come from having more of anything.
I’ve thought about the relationship between happiness and having.
There also seems to be a relationship between generosity and having more. Sometimes the most generous people willing to share their food and homes are not always the people who live in the largest houses. Generosity isn’t always related to what we have. What if it is related to our gratitude?
What do we need to feel grateful, content, and as though we have enough?Sometimes we need to take a step back and look at our lives from a different perspective to really see how lucky we are and to remind ourselves to be grateful.
A Story of Perspective
I have a young son who was born and raised in California. To him, life in Southern California by the beach is the benchmark of normal.
Through my work as a professional scuba diver, I am able to travel and take my family with me. I host family weeks every year on a beautiful island in Fiji. The first time we went, my son was excited to meet the local kids, see their school, and play with their toys.
One day we walked outside of the fancy resort and through the modest village to reach the island school. Once we arrived, my son looked at me confused and asked, “Where are the toys?”
The kids were so excited to see a kid visit their school from another country. Their playground was a field with trees. The kids were barefoot wearing hand-me-down clothes, playing with items they found in nature such as sticks and rocks as well as a very used football. They were content and so was my son. He played with the kids every day while we were there.
Spending time with the local kids gave my son the perspective of gratitude when it comes to his own room filled with toys, books, and a calendar filled with activities. Not to mention the trampoline in our backyard and the three parks nearby equipped with swings and playgrounds.
Realizing Gratitude from Experience
It feels fruitless to me to have to explain to someone how lucky they are and for them to be happy with what they have. This realization comes from experience.
Gratitude is a choice to recognize and be grateful for what we have.
Gratitude practices including gratitude meditations mean slowing down and being fully present in the moment. When I can do this, I feel that I have all I need.
Gratitude is an Attitude: How to Practice
There are so many ways to practice gratitude and train your mind to be thankful and grateful for everything that you have.
You can use gratitude journals. Start with a blank notebook and find and write down things each day that you are grateful for. You can pick any number as your goal. Some people just write about one thing a day that went well, while others commit to finding 10 things every day to be grateful for. I even know a girl who paints each day in her journal.
Prompts for Gratitude Practice
Another gratitude practice involves prompts. Start with a journal. On each page, for each day, write down what you are grateful for in your life. To make it easier on you, these prompts help you get started. A sentence for example will start like:
- Today something that went well…
- Today I learned something new…
- Today I helped someone…
- Today I overcame an obstacle…
Meditate: Gratitude is an Attitude
Some people meditate on gratitude while others use daily gratefulness reminders in the form of pictures on their walls.
Jewelry for Gratitude
I create and wear jewelry for gratitude. I find it helpful as part of my regular day-to-day practice towards living a happy life. I combine crystals for cultivating Gratitude with hand stamped reminders to be Grateful.
I created a gratitude altar where I have gathered crystals and other ceremonial tools. What gemstones bring gratitude? Rose Quartz and Tiger Eye are some of the most popular crystals for gratitude.
The Choice: Gratitude is an Attitude
I believe that we all have a choice to train our mind to try and look for the silver lining in everything that happens to us. I’m not saying it is easy. When my parents died or when I was diagnosed with cancer, gratitude was not the first thing that came to my mind.
Training the Brain for Gratitude
With practice, I have trained my brain to find and focus on the little things that bring me joy and happiness. It can be a cup of tasty coffee in the morning, my cat walking by and rubbing herself on my feet, a beautiful flower blooming in my garden, a good smelling candle, a relaxing bubble bath, an interesting book, a chance meeting with someone, the smell of freshly cut grass, the waves of the ocean, a rainbow after a summer storm, a sunflower field, birds chirping, and more.
By focusing on these little things helps me get through difficulties that I am facing in my life. Gratitude is an attitude. We all have a choice between focusing on what went wrong or the small miracles we are surrounded with each day.
The Attitude Adjustment of Gratitude
I truly believe that we can adjust our attitude and practice gratefulness.
So, for the month of June, I prepared you tools to practice Gratitude as part of the Compassionate Living Membership.
ALL Ways half Full!!!
I love this. I have a little, heart-shaped journal that I write words or short phrases in of things I’m grateful for. It may be something as small as “new stickers” to the large things like “seeing my grandmother again before she died.” I started it in 2013, which was the year before my stem cell transplant. It was difficult to find “important” things that I felt grateful for so I started by observing the small things that I felt thankful for… I think gratitude is important for perspective (like you said) and for simply supporting our well-being.