NDSU Extension - Sargent County


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Getting the Gratitude Attitude and Doing Something with It

Getting the Gratitude Attitude and Doing Something with It 11/16/18


American calendars identify the fourth Thursday of November as “Thanksgiving.”  The underlying foundation for the holiday is gratitude – something that need not be limited to just one day of the year.

Research has shown that the amount of gratitude a person experiences is a huge contributing factor to overall happiness and well-being. 

Gratitude is multi-faceted.  It means noticing and appreciating the positives in life, and it is both an attitude and a practice. It is universal and found across all cultures and all people. 

Experiencing gratitude, thankfulness, and appreciation tends to foster positive feelings, which in turn contribute to one’s overall sense of well-being. Gratitude also serves as a buffer against negative living and negative emotions. 

For these reasons, gratitude makes us more resilient to stress.

So how do we cultivate gratitude in our own life?  Since gratitude is both an attitude and a practice, we can work on both. For this week, let’s work on the “attitude” part of gratitude.

To develop the gratitude attitude, do a couple of exercises:

  1. At this very moment, take a few minutes to recall just one happy moment that stands out for you.  Choose a memory that is still strong and has remained with you, no matter if it was yesterday or 40 years ago.  Allow yourself to re-experience it by visualizing the scene and hearing the sounds that were around you.  Write down your reflections on these questions:  What was it about that experience that stays with you? Was gratitude part of it? What was happening that allowed you to feel grateful?
  2. Pick a “cue” that could be a random reminder for you to pause for a moment of gratitude several times throughout your day, every day.  It might be an alarm or chime, a meal, your commute, walking through a certain doorway, a certain room, building, or tractor.  The point is to let it be your trigger for a moment of gratitude.  Although we cannot change what life deals us, we can choose our attitude in any given circumstance. Having a cue to trigger you to have a moment of gratitude several times throughout the day helps us cultivate the attitude of gratitude.

Adapted from: Whole Health – Change the Conversation, “Creating a Gratitude Practice,” Shilagh A. Mirgain, PhD, and Janice Singles, PsyD, University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health.

Photo Source: https://pixabay.com/en/thank-you-gratitude-appreciation-490607/ (downloaded 11/20/18)

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