What is “An Attitude of Gratitude”?

With Thanksgiving approaching, the phrase “have an attitude of gratitude” is everywhere. When I see this I often wonder, what exactly does this phrase mean, how does one develop an attitude of gratitude and how do you hold onto it when bad days come along?

So first, what does this phrase mean? To have an attitude of gratitude means appreciating what you do have instead of complaining about what you don’t have. It means being thankful for what we have AND for what we don’t have. It means looking at the hardships in life as an opportunity to learn, to grow stronger, rather than seeing rough times as the world being out to get us. It means staying in a positive mindset when everything around us seems to be going wrong and understanding that better things are coming. It means trusting in the Divine timing of things rather than trying to control when, where, and how everything occurs. As Adriene often says in her Yoga with Adriene practices, “Honor where you are now”.

Developing an “attitude of gratitude” takes practice. Staying in a gracious mindset is like working a muscle in your body. The more you work it, the more you practice with it, the stronger it gets and you develop muscle memory. It’s the same reason that people practice marital arts forms over and over again. They do it so much that they instinctively just know how to do it. In doing this, when the bad days come, you are more likely to be able to find the silver lining. Because you have practiced looking for the positive in things every day, when those bad days occur, you’ll look for the positive without even having to try to. It will be muscle memory.

Here are a few things that I have found helpful in making this gratitude muscle stronger:

1) Write down the things that you’re thankful for in your life. I’m sure that everyone has heard this one before. There’s a reason that people keep recommending it. Because it works. You don’t necessarily have to write down what you’re thankful for each day, but make the time to do it regularly. Not only does it help you to be grateful when you’re writing, but on those bad days, when things are less than stellar, it helps to look back and be reminded that they won’t be bad forever.

2) Surround yourself with grateful people. Jim Rohn said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” What that means is that the people you choose to surround yourself with affect you, for better or worse. Things about that for a minute. Who are the 5 people that you spend the most time with? Do those people reflect who you want to be? Are those people appreciative of what they have? Or do they constantly complain about the things that they don’t have? Find those that have a grateful mindset and learn from them. See how they do things differently, how they react differently in situations.

3) Get involved in some way with those who have less than you do. No matter how little you have, there is always someone who has less. Too often we are so focused on what we don’t have that we don’t even see all of the wonderful things that we do have. Unfortunately, for some people, they don’t see those things until they are gone. If you spend time with those who have less than you, you begin to see how truly blessed you really are. I’m not just talking about money. Someone could have all of the money in the world and have no family, no one around them that loves them. On the flip side, someone could have little to no money, but be surrounded by those that love them. I’m not saying that you have to give money. Go visit someone who has no family. Go to the animal shelter and walk the dogs or play with the cats there to give them exercise. There are endless possibilities for those that want to help others. Not only will this make someone else’s day, it will enrich your life in the process.

4) Show your gratitude, your appreciation, to those around you. If someone does something nice for you, tell them how much you appreciate it. Send them a handwritten note, an email, a text, or call. If an employee at a store is extra nice or helpful, tell the manager. People tend to only involve a manager when there is a problem. Put a smile on the managers face and the employee’s by letting them know the good things as well. It will make their day happier and they will be more likely to pass that smile along to someone else. Instead of assuming that people know you appreciate them, let them know.

5) Find a physical thing to serve as a reminder to be thankful. (This idea is one that I got from Brendon Buchard) Set an alarm on your phone for several times throughout your day. Each time it goes off, take a moment to think of something that you’re grateful for. Or use a door frame, a certain drawer, or a picture as a reminder. Each time you walk through a door, each time you open your desk drawer, each time you see a turtle, think thankful thoughts.

(If you read this post and post your own picture of a turtle on one of our social media pages, or just type the words “Found It” – Facebook and Instagram – we’ll draw one of your names to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card. Ends 12/8/19)

6) Find a way to shake off the negativity that inevitably happens in life. Try doing a video like Chris and Parisa Shelton’s “Gratitude Qi Flow”. Watch Brandon Farris and all of his hilarious antics. Watch Mark Borella’s “Feel Good Friday” videos. Take a walk. Anything that helps you laugh, relax, and remember that there are good things in life, even on days when you feel like there aren’t anymore.

7) Read last week’s post about being “The Silent Observer” for even more ideas.

Hopefully these ideas will help you to create that attitude of gratitude for yourself. I’m curious, what are some of the ways that you use to cultivate “an attitude of gratitude”?

Your Favorite Socks, The Little Things, and a Giveaway

If I asked you right now what your favorite pair of socks are, what would you tell me? Would you look at me like I am a complete looney? (Are you looking at your screen like that now? =)) Or would you immediately know the answer?

Why am I asking about your favorite pair of socks?

These are currently my favorites at johnscrazysocks.com

First, I love wearing fun, colorful socks. It’s a way for me to show my personality when I have to wear a certain thing to work, or out and about. My favorite socks look like a pair of Converse shoes. I love to wear them when I fly. When I take my shoes off to go through security, it looks like I still have shoes on. It’s the little things, but it makes me and others smile at a time that can often be stressful.

I heard a lady say one time that she loved to wear fun socks because they are a good conversation starter. She works with people in their homes, so it’s often a little awkward at first. People see her fun socks, it makes them smile, and it breaks the ice. Anything that we can do to make someone else smile is worth our time.

Secondly, I’m asking because I want to make you more aware of the little things in life. Socks are not something that the majority of people think about on a daily basis. They are one of those things that we put on and then we go on about our business.

According to an article written by Give Back Homes, “socks are the #1 most requested clothing item at homeless shelters”. (Read the full article here.) So, something that we barely notice in our day to day life, many people are beyond grateful to have. Pay closer attention this week to the “little things” in your life. Things that we often take for granted.

When you are choosing what to wear each day, choose your socks with purpose. Each time you put a pair of socks on, say a little thank you that you have them. Use this activity as a moving reminder to be grateful each and every day.

In doing this we can begin to cultivate more gratitude in our lives overall. (This is something that we will talk more about in the next few weeks.)

Get a little more creative with it and wear fun socks this week. If you have the ability, go buy a pair of fun socks. If not, just go look through them. Part of the fun of fun socks is picking out the ones you like; seeing all of the different kinds, patterns, and sayings.

Go to John’s Crazy Socks and look through all of their different socks.

I love this site because they have a wide variety of great socks that you don’t find anywhere else. The story behind this company is also amazing. A big part of the reason that they do what they do is so that they can give back to those around them. They “want to show what those with differing abilities can do” and “what happens when you give people a chance” (From their website). Read their story here.

In the spirit of the season, get together with friends or family and have a “Sock Swap”. Everyone who comes buys a pair of cute socks. Either draw names before or do a fun gift exchange game. Get together, eat good food, and have fun.

Or, if you’re buying gifts for people this season then get each person a pair of fun socks. Pick out a different pair for each person, a pair that fits their personality.

To celebrate our week of fun socks, we are doing our first ever giveaway, and it’s two-fold.

1. Put a picture of yourself wearing fun socks or a picture of fun socks that you would like to have, and/or comment on our giveaway posts on Facebook or Instagram. For every picture and original comment we will give a pair of socks to our local homeless shelter. We will do this through the end of November 2019. 
2. At the end of November we’ll draw one name from our email list. That person will win a $25 Gift Card from John’s Crazy Socks. 

(Our giveaway has ended and we ended up giving over 50 pairs of socks to our local homeless shelter. Click here to see a picture on our “Giving Back” page. )

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(All of the pictured socks are from johnscrazysocks.com. The picture rights belong to them as well.)