The practice of gratitude as a tool for happiness has been in the mainstream for years.  Long-term studies support gratitude’s effectiveness, suggesting that a positive, appreciative attitude contributes to greater success in work, greater health, peak performance in sports and business, a higher sense of well-being, and a faster rate of recovery from surgery.

While we may acknowledge gratitude’s many benefits, it still can be difficult to sustain.  So many of us are trained to notice what is broken, undone or lacking in our lives. For gratitude to meet its full healing potential in our lives, it needs to become more than just a Thanksgiving word.  We must learn a new way of looking at things, form a new habit.  That can take some time.

This is why practicing gratitude makes so much sense.  When we practice giving thanks for all we have, instead of complaining about what we lack, we give ourselves the chance to see all of life as an opportunity and a blessing.

Remember that gratitude isn’t a blindly optimistic approach in which the bad things in life are whitewashed or ignored.  It’s more a matter of where we put our focus and attention.  Pain and injustice exist in this world, but when we focus on the gifts of life, we gain a feeling of well-being.  Gratitude balances us and gives us hope.

There are many things to be grateful for:  colorful autumn leaves, legs that work, friends who listen and really hear, chocolate, fresh eggs, warm jackets, tomatoes, the ability to read, roses, our health, butterflies.  What’s on your list?

Some Ways to Practice Gratitude

  • If you are visual person, make a gratitude collage by drawing or pasting pictures.
  • Practice gratitude around the dinner table or make it part of your nighttime routine.
  • Make a game of finding the hidden blessing in a challenging situation.
  • When you feel like complaining, make a gratitude list instead. You may be amazed by how much better you feel.
  • Notice how gratitude is impacting your life. Write about it, sing about it, express thanks for it.

As you practice, an inner shift begins to occur, and you may be delighted to discover how content and hopeful you are feeling.  That sense of fulfillment is gratitude at work.

Are you struggling to develop a habit?  Let’s talk, I can help.


Mark Twain said, “There are a thousand excuses for failure but never a good reason.”  It certainly is easier to make an excuse than to take responsibility.  However, it is essential for progression and true success to take 100% responsibility for our lives.

How is this possible?  Let me share the formula I learned from Jack Canfield:  E+R=O or Event + Response = Outcome.  The bottom line is that “things” happen that are out of our control all the time.  Yet those events do not dictate the ultimate outcome.  We determine the outcome by how we react to the event.

For example:  You don’t get the promotion at work that you were hoping for.  Your response to this event could be anger.  You could blame your boss or make excuses about your performance level or how it’s unfair that you were denied the promotion.

The better way to respond would be to take a moment and not be reactive.  Feel the disappointment and then do some soul searching.  This might be a good time for you to do a review of your work and ask your boss for his honest assessment as well.  Find out how you could improve or how you missed the mark.

People will argue that this sounds good in theory and make some excuse about how that is not how things really are in the real world, but they will be wrong.

The reality is that this is not just a nice theory.  It is truth.  I can prove it over and over again.  This is good news!  Embrace this knowledge because it means you are in control.  That’s right, no matter what comes your way you are the one in the driver’s seat at all times.

So, leave the excuses behind and decide today to be 100 % responsible for everything:  the successes and the failures and everything in between.