Perhaps you know someone who springs from bed with sunshiney brilliance each morning. Filled with natural energy, these people beam with jubilant conversation at the sound of their alarm. Often inclined to sing, they’ll bounce into the day like Tigger. I’ve roomed with these types at conferences, but am not one of them.
I’m more tiger than Tigger in the morning (which ought to begin after ten, in my opinion). Devoid of motivation, I growl at the alarm and burrow myself into the dark haven of pillow loft. Thirty minutes of self-talk prompts me to roll off the edge onto the carpet. That’s how I get up, but conversation must not happen until a significant dose of caffeine charges my bloodstream.
Unlike my Tigger-type friends, I begin each morning tired, ache-ridden, and rather inclined to complain. While I’m face down on the carpet, I must start an intentional shift away from my natural attitude. Otherwise, my negative train of thought can derail my whole day.
I’ll miss out on blessings if I’m busy whining. Gifts I could have enjoyed and shared remain unopened because I failed to notice them. A focus on darkness blinds me to joy and fails to equip me for encouraging others.
Regardless of circumstances or my physical energy, I can choose to resist the natural tendency to grouse. For the sake of those whose lives I touch as well as for my own quality of life, I dare not allow negativity to rule my mind. Shifting my attitude from whine to divine begins with a grateful heart. Thankfulness provides the key to receiving life’s best. When I acknowledge my blessings, I have blessings to give.
We highlight appreciation on Thanksgiving Day, but why limit the joy of gratitude to one holiday? A life with nothing to appreciate is a dreary, unproductive existence. We enjoy and share the gifts we acknowledge. Blessings come to and flow through the thankful heart which embraces them. For a year-round stream of blessings, make every day thankful. Here are three ways to resist negativity and live with joyful appreciation on un-holidays, too.
1. Start the day with gratitude.
The ideal moment to shift my attitude occurs before I’m fully upright. I lie on the carpet and lift my heart in appreciation for family, grace, and answered prayers. If my crankiness levels rank higher than average, I challenge myself. What if everything were about to vanish, and I could only keep the things I appreciated? I acknowledge precious blessings which would be missed if suddenly gone. Hugs and words from loved ones linger in my memory. Coffee beans await me in the kitchen. A roof shelters me and clothes hang in my closet. My toes move. I can breathe, walk, speak. The list gains momentum as I cite blessings so often taken for granted.
2. Make thanks outnumber your complaints.
I fasted from complaining once or twice, a practice certain to highlight the need to amend internal dialogue. Whining returns to mind on occasion, but I now recognize the remedy. For every complaint I fail to avoid, I add multiple thanks to offset the negative impact. I groused about chores, then shifted my attitude toward gratefulness. I appreciated my home, the things I have to maintain, and the family for whom I maintain them. My emotional and physical well-being improve when I replace each grumble with several grateful comments.
3. Discover abundance and give from it.
A griping outlook coats an individual’s perspective with pessimism. An attitude of scarcity develops and restricts the motivation to share. As I recognize my blessings, I realize how much I have to give. Gratitude reveals my abundance. I might not always have money to solve others’ needs, but I always have something to offer. I can share time, compassion, prayers. When I share a hug, I receive a blessing in the process of giving.
Which steps will you take to increase your thankfulness today? I look forward to hearing your thoughts.
*Post originally published on November 21, 2015