Most of us get into the holiday spirit this time of year. Time spent with friends and family, gift giving and reflecting on our many blessings creates a positive glow for the majority. But that feeling of gratitude doesn’t have to start and end with the holidays. And it can have a really profound impact on your overall attitude, relationships AND productivity.
Here are some simple tips on how you can create a consistent “Attitude of Gratitude”:
- First, make a conscious effort to focus on those things that are going well and are positive influences in your life. Too often we get bogged down in talking and thinking about negative people, situations or issues. All this does is perpetuate those negative feelings into wider areas of your life. Instead, at least once a day, dwell on those things that you are HAPPY about. Yes, you may have some long hours at work and your boss may be irritating sometimes. Focus instead on the flexibility your employer gives you to attend your child’s school functions or the excellent people on your team. The more you think about the positive elements, the less impact the negative areas will have.
- Second, remember to acknowledge and thank others for even the little things. It’s so easy to forget what an impact we can have one those around us just by saying “Thank you” or letting someone know how much you appreciate them. Keep your eyes open for people who “glow” while doing their job. I’ll always remember the janitor that worked at my daughter’s kindergarten school. Whenever I saw her, she was smiling, saying “hi” to all the kids and constantly moving. She took such pride in wiping off fingerprints and cleaning up their daily messes-something most of us would dread. But the joy she felt in doing her job just radiated around her. I didn’t really know this woman, but one day I stopped and told her how thankful I was that she was there taking care of the kids every day and how wonderful it was that she enjoyed her job so much. I’ll never forget the smile she had on her face after I told her that. I hope that it made her day. It certainly made me feel great telling her that.
- Lastly, focus on helping someone else. It’s almost impossible to remain in a bad mood after spending time helping out a friend, charitable organization or volunteer group. With so many people and organizations in need throughout the year, ample opportunities exist for all of us to reach out and make a difference. Not only does this provide assistance to others, but we walk away feeling good about our personal contribution to the cause and often realize, more than ever, how good we actually have it. No matter how busy you are, even the smallest effort can still make a difference.
One of my favorite charities is an organization called Blessings In Disguise. They focus on helping folks who have fallen on hard times due to job loss, medical illness or other circumstances. They do this by helping them get current on their mortgages and auto loans or by paying their medical bills.
Just this week, the Blessings in Disguise team made a surprise visit to a local Walmart and paid off the balances of lay-away accounts that were past due. These accounts would have been closed and these families would have lost the Christmas gifts they had purchased for their children. So no matter how busy you are, even the smallest effort can still make a difference.
Visit the Blessings In Disguise website if you want to help their great cause.
So this holiday season, make a conscious effort to be thankful for all the positive things in your life. Share your gratitude and focus on helping others. But don’t forget to carry that on AFTER the holidays. Your positive glow will be infectious and hopefully inspire someone else to create an “Attitude of Gratitude” long after the last gift is opened and the egg nog is empty.
Happy Holidays to all of you!
Thanks for the article, Karen. I like to think that each of the positive things we say and do create a ripple effect. That is, we become the center from which many other positive events radiate and we never know when, or even if, those ripples stop. If we consider that the effect may be similar when we say or do something negative, then we should pause to choose our words and actions carefully.
You are spot on Jeffrey! That ripple effect can be very powerful. Hopefully, they create a “pay it forward” mentality for more and more people. The impact can be limited!
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