Develop an Attitude of Gratitude

The focused activity for the Positivity Project this month is practicing gratitude. Why is it important to develop and cultivate an attitude of gratitude? Maybe my own recent story will help illuminate this.

Yesterday I was standing in line at the post office. I was especially happy because I had just one more day to meet the Christmas-arrival deadline, and I was the first person in line. It was 8:25 a.m. and the post office would open at 8:30. As I was standing there, a women with her arms laden with packages pushed by me, said excuse me and tried the door. I looked at her aghast. In a rather unpleasant voice (a very “un-positivity project” voice), I said, “They aren’t open yet; do you think I’m standing here for fun?” I saw the woman’s face darken and I immediately felt remorse. My inner voice said, “What is the matter with you? You’re the ‘happiness officer’ and that was rude!” I then smiled at the woman and told her she was welcome to go in front of me since I had only one small package. She replied that she just had to drop off pre-paid boxes and we then had a pleasant conversation as we waited for the doors to open.

Something important happened for me that morning, I experienced the power of mirror neurons. They make happiness and unhappiness contagious. My negative attitude was reflected immediately in the woman’s face. How we show up in life and at work is important to pay attention to because that’s what we’ll get back from co-workers and those around us. When we have an attitude of gratitude, it will come back to us. And as you know, the quality of our relationships is the number one factor for our happiness.

People who practice gratitude are happier, exercise more, have less physical problems and remain more optimistic about life. Gratitude also affects intangible qualities like determination, altruism, energy, attention and social sensibilities, as well as the quality of sleep. The health benefits are so evident that research is showing clear links between gratitude and the prevention of serious physical conditions.

Here’s a sneak peek to getting a better attitude. 1. Take a walk, 2. Smile, 3. Say “thank you.” To learn more, here are 10 ways to practice gratitude today! If you’d like a gratitude partner, I’d love to support you in your development.

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