Attitude of Gratitude. Huh??
[quote]“If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, “thank you,” that would suffice.” ~Meister Eckhart[/quote] Most of us know what an “attitude of gratitude” is. But do you know how it can change your life?
For the past four years I have had the pleasure of teaching leadership at a week long- summer camp for 13-year old inner-city girls. The week is laden with fun activities and new experiences, and leadership is the most “serious” topic.
I make leadership as much fun as possible, with games, dance and my often mis-fired attempts at 13-year old humor. The transformation the girls go through over the course of the week is palpable every year.
But I have also noticed a change in the girls that come into the program from year to year. Each new group seems sharper, more mature, more settled and better able to grasp topics such as leadership qualities, visualization and goal-setting .
This seems in keeping with my experience in the adult healing courses I teach. Each year, students are grasping the material faster than ever. I actually believe this is a result of the raising of the consciousness on the planet. Everyone’s “getting it” faster.
But the one topic that seemed to stump this year’s girls initially was “attitude of gratitude.” While they understand how to say thank you in response to an action or gift, my assignment of listing five things in their journal that they are grateful for at the end of each day was a very new concept.
But it’s an important one. Research shows that people who regularly express gratitude:
- have better health because they take better care of themselves;
- eat better and exercise more.
- have less stress
- are happier, have more energy and feel more alert;
- make better progress toward important goals
- sleep better
- are less likely to turn aggressive when provoked
I have also found that, when in a funk, going on a “rampage of appreciation” and listing everything within sight that I’m grateful for is guaranteed to lift my spirits: express thanks for everything in sight!
It was helpful when I gave the girls a handout on what Native American grandmothers used to ask their grandchildren at the end of each day:
- “What did you see today that looked pretty?
- … that sounded nice?
- …. Smelled good?
- …. Made you laugh?”
- and so on.
You get the idea. The girls had never experienced this take on gratitude before so for the first few days I got a lot of blank stares. But by Wednesday, they were starting to get the hang of it and I began writing their “gratitudes” on the blackboard.
By Friday, not only was it full, but they didn’t want to stop naming all the things they were grateful for. They totally grooved with it. This is a photo of their gratitude board.
Attitude of gratitude. Yeah!!
[quote] “God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one to say ‘thank you?’ ” ~William A. Ward[/quote] What are you grateful for in your life?
Molly Larkin is the co-author of the international best-seller “The Wind Is My Mother; The Life and Teachings of a Native American Shaman” and other books on health. She is passionate about helping people live life to their fullest potential through her classes, healing practice and blog at www.MollyLarkin.com