Did you count your blessings as you gathered around your Thanksgiving feast recently?Wouldn’t it be great to have that appreciation for family and friends stick around for longer than one holiday? Try putting some daily gratitude in your everyday attitude!
Good attitude is contagious….
A few days before Thanksgiving, I was wheeling a bulky shopping cart around a very congested grocery store. My list was long and I was unfamiliar with the layout of this new store. Since I was shopping for my pregnant daughter who is an awesome cook, there were a few items on that list that were also new to me. It’s been quite a while since this single woman did a major family grocery shop just a few days before a big holiday. In the midst of the produce section I took a few minutes to soak it all in — the colorful abundance of fresh food choices, the spicy scents of autumn treats, the hustle and bustle of customers filling their carts. Taking the time to be grateful had a positive effect on my overall attitude about the daunting task ahead of me.
What impressed me the most was the calm, cheerful, helpful demeanor of the grocery store employees. They were not acting like they were overwhelmed or exasperated by the many customers who approached them asking for help. I witnessed the impact that this had on the customers. Smiles were returned, people were more patient with each other in crowded aisles. A young man in the cheese department articulated how grateful he was for his job and for the customers who made that possible. He told me that this is how they distinguish themselves from other grocery stores — great service and gratitude. His positive, appreciative attitude was infectious.
So I came home not only with the groceries — I came home with a generous and grateful attitude.
When the wheels fall off…..
We’ve had a lot of crazy things happening in our life over the past week that can put a strain on family — I tripped over the dog and injured my shoulder, my daughter lost her wallet, the baby bumped her head badly on the sidewalk, the house alarm went off in the middle of the night due to dead batteries, a flat tire on the car, the dog got an eye infection. Well, you get it — Life!
There have been a few times recently where we all felt worn out, overwhelmed and cranky. Admittedly it takes a little extra effort to stop and catch our breath, assess the situation and then find something to be thankful for — but it is so worth it. Occasionally we can even laugh about the latest bump in the road.
What we learn from children…..
I’ve been trying to help my little 14-month old granddaughter cope with frustration as she is learning a new skill, is overly tired or not getting her way. Distractions such as a favorite song or counting toes usually brings a smile to her face. I can see the frustrations wash away as that smile breaks out and we make eye contact. When she is older, I will teach her about using gratitude and mindfulness when emotions bubble up.
Helping young children learn coping skills comes naturally to us. As adults, we could benefit from a refresher course for ourselves.
Adopting a similar distraction technique when we are flooded with emotions can make a huge, positive difference in our lives. Instead of counting toes, we can count our blessings.
So pause to put a little gratitude in your attitude next time you find yourself frustrated, stressed out or angry. You just might begin to smile and find a softer way to deal with problems.