Monday, April 7, 2008

How To Improve Your Attitude

I am writing about something that we all know. We may have lost this little gift, along the road of recovery or trying to gain sanity.

It is the simple and free concept of gratitude.

I studied happiness a little while ago. One of the books that came out of the study was from the University of Pennsylvania, and Dr. Martin Seligman. He studied and researched happiness along with his students, assistants and other colleagues and found something startling.

It wasn't money that brought happiness. It wasn't success at work. It wasn't a certain religion. Or a certain nationality. Nor was it a lot of other things.

But the major factor contributing to happiness was this one word and attitude. It was . . .


Gratitude. An attitude of being thankful for the things we have, had, and can do. Gratitude for the life that we have, even though it might be hell on earth for some who are dealing with immense pain, it is the ability to get away and count your blessings.

An Al-Anon friend told me to create a list of things I am grateful for. Starting with my arms. My eyes. My ears. The roof over my head. The ability to see, think, hear, talk, and so on.

It is the small things that really are large that we take for granted.

While some of us are not in the same place others are in, that is we have pain in terms of our emotions, finances, and family, this concepts may seem like a bunch of malarkey right now. I can tell you truthfully, at the time my Al-Anon friend told me to do this, I couldn't.

But now I can. I started my list. I am amazed at how small it is right now. I am still working on it though, adding things to it on a daily basis.

Peace to all this week.


Catherine said...

In that same vein, there's an interesting article in the April issue of Psychology Today entitled "Second Nature" (p. 72). (I actually gave up my celeb-watching to buy a magazine with a bit more, uh, substance.)

The article starts out kind of corny, with: "Pschologists have identified 24 character strengths, familiar qualities we admire, and are limning them to find our why these faculties come so naturally to some people. What they're discovering is that many of these qualities amount to habitual ways of responding to the world -- habits that can be learned."

Though it doesn't talk about gratitude specifically, one of the psychologists describes the importance of "savoring" life.

Whereas COPING means dealing with problems and setbacks, savoring is glorying in what goes right.

"If all you're doing is trying to get by, trying to avoid the bad, you're missing half of life."

The article recommends that when something good happens, pay attention to it, share the experience (sounds like gratitude to me). The happiest people celebrate triumphs with others.

Anonymous said...

Interesting, as I too briefly read the same article on an airplane a week or so ago..

Gratitude.... I need to grasp tightly to it today, as I should be very thankful for many things and people in my life. I sometimes forget how blessed I truly am.

Oh so true that when something, or someone good comes along, pay attention to it, as it might not present itself again, or for a very long time.

Peace this Tuesday.


Syd said...

A daily gratitude list is a good thing to do. I ask my sponsees to do that. If we consider, there is a lot to be grateful for.

Maresie said...

My sponsor has asked me to do this too. I have procrastinated. I am more grateful these days and less in a pit of malignant resentment yet I feel lost.


Maresie said...

My sponsor has asked me to do this too. I have procrastinated. I am more grateful these days and less in a pit of malignant resentment yet I feel lost.