The Power of Gratitude

This time of year many of us begin to ponder those things we are most grateful for.  The holiday season can bring out gratitude like no other season.  Often we run down the list in a yearly Thanksgiving ritual naming the most obvious things to be thankful for:  our health, a roof over our heads, food to eat, etc.

Those things are absolutely worth our deepest gratitude.  Every luxury we have from the shoes on our feet to the smart phone that contains the details of our busy lives deserves gratitude.  It’s easy to express gratitude for the material things that we hold dear.  Often, though, as we recite the list of material things for which we are grateful, we forget to mention the people for whom we are grateful.

Sure, we may say that we’re thankful for our family friends, but how often do we truly spend concentrated time being grateful for the people in our lives?  How much time do we spend complaining about those we’re closest to instead of focusing on the reasons we’re grateful to have them around?

Since I began keeping a gratitude journal, I’ve not only received increasing abundance in the areas of health and finances, but I’ve seen my relationships change for the better, as well. The power of gratitude works to heal and maintain relationships.

Gratitude Journal

The Power of Gratitude in Marriage

As a former therapist, I know that the people most likely to frustrate you are those you’re closest to.  When I was struggling to find happiness in the midst of life changes several years ago, the person who received my lack of gratitude most often was my husband.

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Thankfully, we’ve moved past those difficult years, but as two people who have an up-close view of each others’ falws, it’s easy to slip into discontent from time to time.  The best way I’ve found to keep my marriage loving and my heart soft is to practice gratitude for my husband.

When I begin thinking about why I’m grateful for my husband, the power of gratitude takes over.  Suddenly, I feel joy exploding from my heart for the man he is and how he’s changed my life for the better during the 15 years we’ve been married.  New reasons for gratitude toward him keeping popping into my mind as I write in my gratitude journal.

My husband is a quiet man who never tells me no.  In my marriage to him, I’ve found so much freedom that I wasn’t able to experience in other relationships.  He always supports my goals and never stands in my way – even when I take a path that leaves me with less time for him.

Once the stream of gratitude starts, it’s difficult to stop.  And for that . . . I’m grateful!

The Power of Gratitude for Mothers

They say motherhood is a thankless job, but could that be because we don’t teach our children how to be grateful?  How much time do you spend each day focused on how grateful you are for your little ones?  Are you setting an example of gratitude?

I know that our children keep us busy and there isn’t a lot of time leftover to think about why we’re grateful, but when I began keeping track of those small moments where my heart was touched my children, I couldn’t believe how much I had to be grateful for.

Gratitude has been powerful for me as a mother because it helps me to look past the thankless parts of motherhood and focus on the ways that my children have shaped me as a person.  I have a greater spiritual awareness because of my children.  I’ve become a kinder person because of my children.  My children have taught me how to take pleasure in the simple things, thereby increasing the amount of joy I feel on a daily basis.

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My children have picked up on my habit of practicing gratitude and it has led to wonderful things such as a thank you from my oldest son for dinner each evening.  It has even helped them to power through tough times because they realize how much they have to be grateful for.

Who is on Your Thank List?

While you take time to practice gratitude for the things in your life this holiday season, be sure to express gratitude for the people who have shaped your life, as well.  What if you took the time today to publicly thank the people on your Thank List?  It’s easy to do and will bring the power of gratitude into your life and spread joy to those people who have changed your life for the better!  Gratitude really is a gift that gives and gives.

To help spread gratitude around the world, American Greetings has teamed with United Way Worldwide as part of the ThankList campaign.  They want to give back during the season of gratitude so for each #ThankList that we share on social media, American Greetings will donate $1 to United Way Worldwide. The funds collected during the #ThankList campaign will be allocated toward hunger prevention.

The Power of Gratitude Will Make the World a Better Place

So often on social media, we see the worst of people.  Whether it’s news articles about people behaving badly or comments that incite negative emotion, it can be tough to see the best in people if you spend too much on social media.

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We can change that, though!  By posting our Thank Lists on social media, we can help spread love, joy and gratitude around the world.  We can use the very devices that often keep us from connecting with others to create a loving connection and to share the healthy benefits that come from focusing on those people who have made a difference in our lives.

The Power of Gratitude Can Heal Relationships

When you begin to share your Thank List, it will be easy to thank the people with whom you have a good relationship.  It will be those people with whom your relationship is strained that may be more difficult to thank.

I challenge you to think of at least one way you are grateful for even those people with whom you are struggling right now.  This small act can set off a chain of gratitude that can heal even the most difficult relationships.  You have the power in your hands to change your relationships for the better and inspire others to do the same!

So go ahead!  Start your #ThankList on social media today.  Don’t forget to include the hashtag (#ThankList) so you can help American Greetings and the United Way Worldwide to spread more gratitude and joy with $1 donated for every #ThankList posted.

The Power of Gratitude

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.