Gratitude (noun) is the quality or feeling of being grateful or thankful.
Gratitude is much more than a feeling - it is a mindset - a way of life. I've been known to have the "30% rule" on some things - that I exaggerate by 30%. There is no 30% rule here, I am grateful for everything. I try to find something to be grateful for in every situation. Gratitude is the silver-lining of life.
I learned everything I know about gratitude and practicing gratitude from a hospital bed. Sounds odd. How can you be grateful when you are in a hospital bed? Well, for starters, it means you are still alive and fighting the good fight. When you are at your wits end, end of life, end of options, end of energy, battery at 2%, you are forced to settle in and take a good long hard look at what really matters. It is in those moments, you begin to see things differently. It's the silver-lining-rose-colored-glasses for life.
It was relatively early on in my illness and I was still able to take a shower; and looking back, this was one of my showers; a pivotal point in my life, one I will never forget. I found myself, standing in the hospital bathroom almost paralyzed with fear - yet, as I pushed through the fear, took my shower, and becoming so grateful for the bench in the shower. That was when I first truly experienced gratitude.
Note I used the word experienced, it was more than a feeling or passing thought, it was an all encompassing observation. I felt the power of gratitude.
How can you experience this in your own life? When you are driving down the road, think of three things you are thankful for. When you are writing in your journal at the end or start of your day, highlight what you are thankful for. As your computer boots up in the morning, think of something you are grateful for. When "something bad happens" think of one positive thing. It is during this day-to-day activities, the attitude of gratitude begins.
My car literally stopped running as I was merging on the expressway; immediately I am overcome with gratitude, I am grateful for so many different things at that moment. I am grateful I was able to pull safely to the shoulder, I am grateful I am not alone, I am grateful I have AAA, I am grateful I am safe. Those were my first thoughts - my default, my automatic. I am so grateful!
I know it's not the common approach, but give it a try. Remember to keep pushing through with a little gratitude and grace. I think now more than ever, our world needs gratitude. We need to look for the good, look for gentle kindness in things. Appreciate the small things, the inconvenient things, the difficult things, the challenges, the disappointments, the changes, the struggles, the not so perfect things in life. Those are all opportunities to keep pushing through with a little gratitude and grace.