How Does Gratitude Change Our Attitude?
How does practicing daily gratitude change our attitude? This is something I have been experimenting with in my own life for over a decade. You may think that because I choose to write about gratitude often that it's easy for me to maintain a positive attitude. The truth is, it's not always sunshine and roses.
Does gratitude change our attitude?
One of the daily gratitude habits that I have been consistent with is my evening gratitude journal. And I’ll be frank – there are nights when I struggle to write in my journal.
Looking around at some the global crises, it would have been easy for me for write about being grateful for drinking water or living in a peaceful country. Yet there were nights where I was so frustrated my current situation that I really had to stop and think about what I was grateful for before I started to write.
No matter what, I didn’t go to sleep until I had written at least three things I was grateful for. And I noticed that it helped a little bit more every time, until I felt like I was back in the ‘groove’ of my daily gratitude. So my answer is yes, gratitude can change our attitude.
How critical is this habit?
My first book, 30 Days of Gratitude, The Gratitude Program That Will Change Your Life, was written after a suffered a traumatic miscarriage at 15 weeks gestation. That night, I was able to write in my gratitude journal. It wasn't easy, but the habit was so ingrained that I found a way to find something to be grateful for on what was then the worst day of my life.
I used my gratitude practice to help me get through the trauma and guilt that followed. Writing the book and sharing my message of gratitude helped me to heal.
How can use you gratitude in your own life?
What I have found over the past decade of practicing gratitude and sharing it with others is that gratitude does work. It might not always be easy to be grateful. There will be times when we just don’t want to be grateful because we would rather be angry or frustrated or tired. What I’ve learned is to honour those feelings and allow myself to feel them – before I start my gratitude. Once I’ve felt the feelings, the sooner I can chose to shift into gratitude, the sooner the feelings will evaporate (at least for the time being).
There are times when I am stuck in a negative emotion loop. I know that my attitude is toxic when this happens. Instead of continuing to expose my family to my negative energy, I chose to leave the situation. My favorite simple hack is to head outside for some time in nature. I take three deep breaths. And then I remind myself of three things I am grateful for.
Gratitude isn’t the solution, it’s an attitude
This is a real distinction for me. In the past, I've tried to use my gratitude practice as a solution to our challenges. And that’s asking a lot. So instead, I focus on my attitude and shifting to gratitude whenever possible. This allows me to remain in a positive vibration and more level-headed. When we are level-headed and thinking clearly, solutions are more likely to present themselves.
If you are in the middle of a challenging situation, I invite you to focus on cultivating an attitude of gratitude through daily gratitude journaling. My daughter also has a daily gratitude journal where she writes one thing she is grateful for every day. Teaching our children the gift of looking at life from the perspective of gratitude is an invaluable lesson.