The power of gratitude
The Gratitude Challenge has been making its way through social media channels recently, and participants have been passing the baton by asking three to five friends to post three to five things for which they are grateful — for three to five consecutive days. This started, I was told by a participant, to encourage people to engage in an old tradition — counting one’s blessings.
We spend one day each year giving thanks. When we take time to think about it, we can find reasons to be thankful each and every day. Sometimes, though, on a challenging day in business, it might be a little more difficult than usual to call to mind those special things that count as blessings. At times like these, one can be grateful for things like having some time to relax during a lunch hour, finding a good parking space at the mall, or getting out of work in time to see a beautiful sunset.
Research done by psychologists Michael McCollough of Southern Methodist University in Dallas and Robert Emmons of the University of California at Davis shows that gratitude heightens the quality of life. The two did an experiment focusing on gratitude and its impact on well-being, and they found that those who practiced daily gratitude exercises had greater levels of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, optimism, and energy as well as lower levels of depression and stress.
Keeping this in mind, I’ve created a list of things for which I’m grateful:
- Family. It can be easy to take your family for granted when you are “building an empire” — even when you treasure each and every family member. Our family has always come first with me. I’m blessed with the opportunity to work with some of my amazing family members, and to work closely, in different ways, with other family members. We have had our own upfront and personal lesson in why it’s important to keep family and friends at the top of the list. Our son, David Blaine Gray, developed epilepsy when he was 23 years old (yes, folks, epilepsy doesn’t care about age), and he died from a grand mal seizure at 33, back in 2002. David was a talented comedian with a brilliant career ahead of him, and my husband, Dave, and I, and our three wonderful daughters, were his biggest cheerleaders. We all know we were blessed to have had him for 33 years, and I count that as a blessing every day.
- Good health.
- Friends. I am grateful that I’m blessed with a circle of friends, both personal and business, that add daily to my happiness level.
- Home sweet home. No matter where one lives, and no matter how big or how small the house is, one’s home is a sanctuary.
- Workplace. Our whole team is grateful for our great workplace environment.
- Loyal customers. How thankful we are to have the pleasure and the good luck of being able to work with great customers, who have become friends over the years.
- Our business vendors. I’m grateful for our preferred vendors because they are constantly working to find new products to offer, to upgrade their services, and to keep us in the loop regarding what’s new and upcoming in our industry.
Gratitude is a powerful part of the Universal Law of Attraction, which says like attracts like. Sarah Ban Breathnach became a best-selling author after writing The Simple Abundance Journal of Gratitude, which is about the power of gratitude. She says, “You simply will not be the same person two months from now after consciously giving thanks each day for the abundance that exists in your life. And you will have set in motion an ancient spiritual law: the more you have and are grateful for, the more will be given you.”
I read several Gratitude Challenge entries on Facebook. It’s clear that everyone has things they can be thankful for. One thing for which I’m grateful, today, is that I can take this opportunity to say Happy Thanksgiving to all.
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