Gratitude Is The Key To Happiness

GratitudeAfter I posted the article What To Do With The “What Ifs”,  I was asked, “How long after the accident did it take you to start counting your blessings? I started typing a long reply to the question and thought I should make it a Tuesday Tip.

My first thought after I realized we had been hit and were pinned inside the wreckage of our car was, I’m glad the kid’s aren’t with us. So I would have to say I counted my blessings, or recognized the positive, right from the beginning. However, that doesn’t mean I always see the positives and feel grateful. Sometimes I find myself in a pity party—wishing things would have turned out differently. I suppose it’s human nature. Yet when I’m feeling discouraged, I remind myself what a waste of time and energy it is because all the wishing, worrying or feelings of regret do not change the situation.

The best way for me to pull myself out of discouragement and unhappiness is to turn my thoughts around by looking for the positives, which creates a gratitude attitude. Sometimes this is harder to do than other times, but I’ve learned it helps every time. Some days are dark and worrisome, but when I start looking for the positives, more positives appear and my outlook on life changes for the better. I attract what I am focused on.

When I am focused on the positive interactions of family and friends, I can appreciate and recognize them for the love and support they give. The result is—they are usually all the more helpful and loving. That isn’t my motivation for appreciating them, it’s just the way if seems to work.

I don’t believe gratitude always comes naturally, but I try to make it a habit by having a positive attitude. When my kids were teenagers I started a gratitude journal. It really helped me get through a rough time. Every night I wrote down five things I was grateful for. Some nights it took a while for me to think of five things I appreciated, but it turned my discouragement into encouragement. It also brought inner peace because I was focusing on the good instead of dwelling on the bad. Another great aspect of writing in a gratitude journal or keeping a list of things I’m grateful for is that I can go back and read it in times of discouragement.  It really does help.

Gratitude makes what I have enough which brings peace and contentment, the key to happiness. I believe in and remind myself often to count my blessings and name them one by one.

Count Your Blessings

November is the perfect month to count our blessings. Mark has a wonderful ability to recognize blessings that have come from the car accident which left him wheelchair-dependent, living with seizures and speech impairment, all due to his traumatic brain injury.

Mark says, “The accident has improved and strengthened my emotional well-being. I’ve learned not to be hurt as easily as before by comments made by other people.” People often say things without thinking. Mark chooses not to take offense but rather makes a joke of it.

Other blessings he counts from the accident: “patience with myself and others whom I have to wait on to get their help; my differences make more of an impression, so people remember me easier; my sense of humor has improved (at least in my mind); I have gained many special friends through work and volunteers who come to help me; and the best parking places for our van.”

Because of Mark’s speech impairment, when he talk’s people look at him more intently – to understand what he’s saying. He counts this as a blessing and appreciates those who look him square in the eye and not off somewhere else.

The most fun is when he counts the blessings of his short-term memory problem. “I don’t remember an argument; I can read or hear the same joke over and over again and it’s still funny; I enjoy redoing the same puzzles.”

What a wonderful example he is: counting the blessings in his adversities and letting them strengthen his character. Just one reason why I love him so.

Adversity- Nov.