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the magic of giving (& first ever giveaway!)

  

Vol25_7 Vol25_8
   
Vol25_2 Vol251
   
 
  "You give little when you give of your possessions.
It is when you give of yourself that you truly give."

Kahlil Gibran
 

Right after Thanksgiving, the topic of giving becomes extra prominent in American culture. Commercials are suddenly all about giving gifts. Stores everywhere are posting signs and decorations claiming that they have just the gift you're looking for. While I have to say that the consumerism of the holiday season does overwhelm me at times, I do love the idea of giving gifts. Cliche as it sounds, the thought really does count and it's so wonderful to see someone open a gift you've taken the time to pick out, purchase, and wrap. Giving is one of those things that makes me feel really happy, really positive, and I'm really looking forward to the season of giving this year -- both in a tangible, gift-wrapped sense and in the abstract way we all give to one another without even realize it.

Just think about how much you give on a daily basis -- your time, your love, your attention, your thoughts, your words -- and you'll be amazed. Giving gifts is wonderful, but there's a lot more to giving than just gifts. It's something we all do, all the time, without even realizing it. Just right now I'm giving of myself by writing this post. Right now you're giving of yourself by reading this post. We're all giving (and taking!) without even realizing it, which is one of the reasons giving is so magical. It's something that takes on a life of its own without most of us even realizing what an impact it has on our everyday lives. This year, while I'm sure I'll still be giving lots and lots of gifts, I also want to think about just how magical giving can be and how I can give more of myself to others.


The Magic of Giving 

Gift giving is truly magic. It's something we can all do and it doesn't necessarily require money. The more I've thought about gift giving lately (and who isn't thinking about it a lot at this time of year?!), the more I've realized just how much giving gifts helps me to stay positive and to stay present. For as long as I can remember, giving has been something that has excited me. Yes, at times it's stressed me out too (I can picture myself standing in the middle of the mall frantically thinking, "What in the world am going to get her?!?"), but for the most part, giving really does bring me a lot of happiness. I love spending time thinking about what someone else might like. Because of this, I find that I am more alert when the people close to me are speaking. I'm always listening for clues, wondering if their words could somehow be transformed into the perfect gift. For this reason, gift giving actually helps me to stay present, to stay focused on the moment and what others are saying. 

Gift giving keeps me present -- tuned into what those around me are saying and wanting -- and it also keeps me positive. Giving gifts makes me feel great because it makes other people feel great. Of course it's awesome to make yourself feel good, but there's nothing quite making someone else smile, is there? And that's what gifts are symbolic of -- that sharing of a good feeling. It's pretty awesome, really, that we can pick something out, give that something to someone else, and see how happy it makes that person. It may seem materialistic and unnecessary to some, but the act of giving gifts really means a lot to me. It's something that shows others that you care, that you're thinking of them, and, most importantly, that what they like and care about matters to you.

That being said, I realize that it's not just about gifts, is it? I was sitting here, struggling to think of how I could write about gift giving without it coming out entirely cliche, and a book on my shelf caught my eye. I reached over and brought it to my desk, cracking it open to today's date. Oddly enough, the passage in Courage To Change read: "If I so choose I can regard everything that happens in my life as a gift from which I can learn and grow." Just seeing the word "gift" made me smile because I realized that I didn't need to write a lengthy post on how giving is great and how we should give more of ourselves. All I needed to do was realize that life -- and everything in it -- is a gift. Life really is a gift and all of the things we experience in it are amazing. We have the ability to share our experiences, our gifts, with others as well. We can do this through the actual telling of what we've experience or we can do this through more subtle ways, such as a smile or a hug. We have the ability to share our talents as gifts by doing what we're good at and sharing it with the world. 

Around this time of year the act of giving really becomes a focus, but we all know that material things aren't always the kinds of gifts others need to receive. Giving doesn't all have to do with a pretty bow and a perfect package. There are so many ways we can give to others... countless ways, in fact! The holiday season really brings gift-giving to mind, but today I want to think about it in a different way. I want to think about it as something I can do by just being me. We all can give just by being who we are. Giving is such a wonderful thing and there are so many ways to give. We don't need to shop or wrap or stress (though I'm sure we will do a lot of those things). We just to be. That alone is a gift in and of itself and it really is pure magic. I'd love to hear about how you've  experienced the magic of giving in your own life so tell me... 


What's the best thing you've been given? 
What is the best thing you've given someone else? 

(Answer either of these and follow the rules below and you could have a chance to WIN!) 


The Giveaway

Since today I wrote about giving, I thought it would be a great day to have my very first giveaway on Positively Present. The other day I came across this amazing site -- Vol 25 -- and I'm so pleased that the creator, Jessica, agreed to give away a print to one lucky reader today. Jessica's work is amazing and it's such a honor to be able to highlight her awesome talent on Positively Present. Jessica describes herself as "a completely self-taught artist, constantly inspired by every day moments." She is a mother to a very dramatic five-year-old princess and she also has a seventeen-month-old daughter who she more accurately describes as a monkey. She married her husband and best friend (aww!) six years ago. With each piece of art she creates, it is her hope that it will give at least one person the warm fuzzies. Jessica told me that a heartfelt customer testimonial is just about the greatest payment you can receive.  Want to enter for a chance to win any $20 print from Vol 25? Here are the rules... 


Leave a comment below with the following information: 

  •  
    • Tell me what's the best thing you've given or been given
    • Let me know which print you like best (see Vol 25's website for all $20 prints)
    • Include your email address so I can contact you if you win

Leave an extra comment for each of the following things you do: 

  •  
    • Subscribe to Positively Present's RSS feed
    • Receive Positively Present via email
    • Follow @positivepresent on Twitter
    • Mention this post on a social media site
    • Email friends/family about this post
    • Stumble this post on StumbleUpon


Remember, the more comments you leave, the more chances you have to win, so make sure to leave extra comments if you do any of the things listed below! The winner will be picked at random on Wednesday, December 2, 2009 and will be announced on Friday, December 4, 2009. Don't forget to leave your email in your comments so I can contact the winner! 

 


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words to live by: i will be grateful for this day

 

Iwillbegratefulforthisday ()

 

I had girl I knew she grew became a woman
now I think that she teaches
at one of the schools downtown
we used to roll the windows down
and play the music loud
smoking out in her car
Lost in west Omaha,
and we’d get drunk and kiss
our bodies twist like shoe laces.
And we never came untied;
I guess you were just my type.

You know that summer never stopped.
I still pretend I’m there.
Bands in the living room,
neighbors ain’t never cared.
So when I sat behind the drum set.
Your heartbeat’s what I tried to play.
With kick and snares so careless not in time.
So you got ahead of me.
And I guess I’m still dragging behind.
I had a friend who changed his name
but couldn’t change himself.
Never quite figured out
how to do with what life had dealt.
He put a needle in his arm
to calm his handsome hell.
who would have imagined it?
Could’ve worked out so well.
Now he's a shape that moves
like echoes through my empty room.
And there’s a voice that speaks
like someone’s right behind me.
I turned around and found
exactly what you would expect.
Clothes I left on my floor.
The papers piled on my desk.
But where the ink is
where the cause effect
what’s meant by it
the story is incomplete.
The pictures’ left unfinished.
So I am writing my own ending.
I’ll let my pen bleed black or blue.
And I will color in the meaning.
It will be gold and green and true.
And I’ll learn to love
my new discovered proof.
I’ll be grateful for this day.
I will be grateful for each day to come.


"I Will Be Grateful For This Day"
Bright Eyes
 



Love the lyrics? Listen to the song on YouTube. Love the image? Check out Vol25's website and Vol25's Etsy Shop to purchase and see more items. "Words To Live By" is a segment on Positively Present that features my favorite quote or lyrics from the week. Every Sunday I post a quote or lyrics that have inspired me with the hope that they'll inspire you too. Comments will be closed on these posts, but feel free to tweet the post if you enjoy it or contact me via Twitter.


100 things i am thankful for

Grateful()

 

"Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. 
If you concentrate on what you don't have, 
you will never, ever have enough."

 

Oprah Winfrey

 

This week I've been writing a great deal about gratitude and it's no surprise that this has inspired me to think about all of the things I am thankful for. Every once and awhile I pull out my happy list (click the link to read more about it) and I add things to it. Yesterday, as I was thinking about gratitude, I realized that this list is somewhat like a gratitude journal, in that I'm really both happy and grateful for all of these things in my life. (See Wednesday's post to read more about the connection between happiness and gratitude.) All of the things that make me so happy are things that I'm also grateful for. Yesterday I added a bunch of new things, bringing the list up to 600! As tempting as it is to share all of those with you, I'll sum it up with my top 100...

 


100 Things I Am Thankful For

 

  1. Life. How cool is that I'm actually here, in this world, living?

  2. Friends. There is no way I could survive without them. Love you guys!

  3. Family. We have our ups and downs, but they really are my foundation.

  4. Love. It's completely magical and amazing, isn't it?

  5. Words. They are literally my life line. I would not be me without them.

  6. Choice. I love that every day I can choose to be happy. Fabulous!

  7. Music. It's one of those things I literally cannot live without.

  8. Color. As you can probably tell from my site, I'm obsessed with it!

  9. Magic. Just read a quote saying magic is in everything. So true!

  10. Art. To quote Ani Difranco, "Art is why I get up in the morning."

  11. Dogs. They are flat out amazing creatures. Love you, Bella! Miss you, Pooky!

  12. Health. I'm a pretty healthy girl and I'm so, so, SO happy about that.

  13. Seasons. Spring, summer, winter, fall -- love 'em all!

  14. Stars. As The Killers sing: "Stars are like rebel diamonds cut out of the sun." How beautiful!

  15. Acceptance. I'm so thankful to those who accept me for who I am.

  16. Rainbows. I've seen more of them this year than in my entire life combined. Amazing!

  17. Blogs. I love writing mine and I love all the blogs I read on a regular basis.

  18. Laughter. There is little better in the world than the laugh-so-hard-you-cry feeling.

  19. Holidays. There's something incredibly exciting about them (especially Halloween!!!!).

  20. Sunshine. I don't see too much of it today, but I love, love, love when the sun's shining.

  21. Books. There's never a time when I'm not thankful for the words of another.

  22. Organization. It might seem boring to some, but I'm really glad I'm organized.

  23. Generosity. One of those things that's just as great to give as it is to get.

  24. Encouragement. So many people have supported me in my life and I'm so lucky to have them.

  25. Accountability. I'm so glad I've finally realized that I'm accountable for myself and my life.

  26. Smiles. I love giving them and getting them. As Buddy the Elf says, "Smiling's my favorite!"

  27. Change. It scares the shit out of me sometimes, but it can be a wonderful thing.

  28. Fun. Who doesn't love a little bit (or a lot!) of fun in their lives?

  29. Housing. This is something I usually take for granted, but I heart my apartment!

  30. Comfort. Comfort food, comfy sweatpants, a comfortable relationship...comfort rocks!

  31. Hope. Sometimes it's hard to find, but it's always there, waiting to lift me up.

  32. Handwriting. It's so cool how we're all so different and this is a great place to see that.

  33. Glitter. C'mon now, you know glitter is just about the awesomest thing ever.

  34. Patience. I don't have very much of it yet, but I'm getting better at it every day!  

  35. Photographs. There is nothing quite like a brilliant image to capture a moment.

  36. Wonderlands. I particularly love Alice in Wonderland, but a winter wonderland is pretty great too.

  37. Honesty. It really is the best policy.

  38. Surprises. As long as they're good, I lovvvvvve them.

  39. August. Best month ever, hands down.

  40. Paw prints. I can't help but smile every time I see them.

  41. Passion. One of the best things: seeing someone passionate about what they do or who they love.

  42. Palm trees. If only they had them on the east coast... I'll be back, Cali!

  43. Dreams. Both the daytime or nighttime variety are pretty cool.

  44. Films. A movie that leaves you feeling moved -- priceless!

  45. Positivity. Look for the good in everything and you will find it.

  46. Knowledge. Gaining and possessing knowledge is one of my favorite things. Ever.

  47. Quality Time. When you get to spend really quality time with someone, it's sooo fantastic.

  48. Animals. How alike and different we are from them! Fascinating!

  49. Kindness. Even the smallest act or word can change a day around...

  50. Sleep. There's nothing like a soft pillow and a warm blanket after a long, hard day.

  51. Dancing. I can't say I'm very good at it, but I love to do it!

  52. Safe Landings. Gotta love those after a turbulence-filled flight!

  53. Food. It's a major part of life, but I often forget to be thankful for it.

  54. Challenges. They may suck at the time, but they always make me a better person.  

  55. Imagination. I don't know where (or who!) I would be without it...

  56. Compliments. Yeah, you know you're thankful for 'em too.

  57. Twitter. It's awesome connecting with people on there and a great resource for new info.

  58. Growing Up. Man, it was tough being in high school... and college... and right-out-of-college...

  59. Freedom. Another thing I often take for granted, but am SO lucky to have.

  60. Plans. I love knowing that fun things are coming up. Putting plans in place is great!

  61. Therapy. Seriously, it has changed my life in so many amazing ways.

  62. Driving. The car, the road, the music... awesome.  

  63. Inspiration. There's nothing quite like coming across something that inspires you.

  64. Peace. I'm not always at peace with myself and the world, but I'm working on it.

  65. Productivity. It feels so great to be getting stuff done.

  66. Emotions. Sometimes it's scary to feel things deeply, but it's also very wonderful.

  67. Creativity. It's such a great feeling to make something and know it came from your heart. 

  68. Good News. We all know there's a lot of bad news out there, so it's great to hear the good stuff.

  69. Clothes. Even though I'm a grown-up, I still love playing dress up. Heart you, Chanel & Marc Jacobs!

  70. Apologies. It feels great to hear them and even better to say them.

  71. Forgiveness. This is also pretty great if you're in the wrong...

  72. Weekends. Ahh, to be work-free for a few days. Love it!

  73. Magazines: Nylon, Bitch, Bust, Real Simple, InStyle... I heart you.

  74. Now. It's awesome to live in the moment. The only time we have is NOW!

  75. Respect. One of the best things we can do is respect others -- and ourselves.

  76. Bathing Suits. Considering I have about 32 of them, I'd say I'm pretty grateful for 'em (and summer days!)

  77. Joy. It's something that is all around us -- we just have to look for it.

  78. New Places. They can be scary sometimes, but the excitement is part of the fun!

  79. Kisses. There are all sorts of kisses, but all of them are so awesome. 

  80. Memories. I don't like to dwell too much on the past, but it's awesome to look back sometimes.

  81. Excitement. I've had a fair amount of it in my life lately and I love it!

  82. Coziness. It feels so good to cuddle up and be cozy with a great book (or person!).

  83. Thoughts. I have a lot of them (a lot, a lot!) and I'm thankful for every single one.

  84. Internet. Oh, what in the world would I do without you, World Wide Web??

  85. Compassion. It feels wonderful to be compassionate to others.

  86. Journals. All of those blank, beautiful pages!! I cannot get enough of them!

  87. Opinions. I love sharing mine and hearing others' as well.

  88. Water. Another one of those things I tend to take for granted, but it's super important.

  89. Energy. I seem to have a lot of it these days! Yippee!

  90. Questions. When I question things and when others question me, I learn. Love that!  

  91. Time. I've already spent a pretty good amount of time being me, and I'm thankful for that.

  92. Hugs. Not normally a touchy-feely girl, but a good hug can brighten any day.

  93. Earth. This place is pretty cool, if you ask me. Thanks for letting me live here, Earth!

  94. Safety. More often than not, I feel very safe and I'm so lucky to have that privilege.

  95. Strength. I'm not that physically strong, but I have a lot of internal strength that I need to be thankful for.

  96. Independence. It's great to be free, but it's also important to be independent.

  97. Gifts. I adore buying gifts for others (and don't mind receiving them myself! ha!).

  98. Enthusiasm. Life's too short to sit around being bored so get into it!  

  99. Gratitude. Without it, I don't think I would be nearly as happy as I am right now.

  100. YOU. Thank you, thank you, thank you for reading and support this blog. You. Are. Awesome.



Thank you to all of you who wrote in on Wednesday telling me about the things you're thankful for in your own lives. If you have more to add, or if you didn't get a chance on Wednesday, feel free to share with me in the comments section all of the things that you're grateful for today. I'd love to hear about the things that inspire you to have an attitude of gratitude!

 

Want a high-tech way to encourage that gratitude within you? Check out Gratitude Stream for your iPhone. You can also check out Gratitude Stream on Facebook!


which comes first: happiness or gratitude?

Happypeoplearegrateful() 

 "All happy people are grateful.
Ungrateful people cannot be happy. 
 We think being unhappy leads people to complain, 
 but complaining leads to people becoming unhappy." 
 

Dennis Prager

 

The other day I spent a great deal of time writing and thinking about gratitude. While I was looking up some great sites about gratitude (see Monday's post for details), I came across the quote that's written above and I thought to myself, "Wow, that really is true." I'm sure there are plenty of people that are ungrateful that experience happy moments, but I don't think anyone who is truly, deeply happy is ungrateful. I think that happiness is something that can take shape in different forms, and the form Prager is talking about is that deep and lasting happiness. Sure, ungrateful people can have their moments of bliss or joy when something's going particularly well in their lives, but I don't think they can truly experience what it means to be deep-down happy until they become grateful for what they have in their lives.

In my experience (and looking at the experiences of others), when you're happy, you become thankful. When you're thankful, you become happy. As I discussed the other day, gratitude really has many positive benefits and I honestly believe that it's one of those things that brings out happiness within me -- no matter what. Even on the worst day, in the worst mood, if I start thinking about the things I have going for me in my life, all of the things I'm grateful for, I instantly feel uplifted. The trick here is actually getting myself to a place where I'm able to let those grateful thoughts in...Sometimes my mind just isn't in the mood for them! Gratitude always, always, always brings a smile to my face once I can get myself to a place where I've opened my mind to it. I'll admit that sometimes it's not easy. When you're facing a heartbreak or when something terrible happens, gratitude isn't always the first thing to come to mind, but once you can bring yourself back to it, you'll find -- as I always do -- that you are inspired and much, much happier.

When I came across the quote above, it really got me thinking about which comes first: the happiness or the gratitude? Are happy people grateful or are grateful people happy? It seems to make sense that happy people would be grateful for their happiness (and for all of the things that make them happy), but it also makes sense that people who are very grateful would be very happy. On the flip side, we can think about unhappiness and ungratefulness. Are those who are ungrateful unhappy? Or are those who are unhappy ungrateful because they feel they have nothing to be grateful for? I suppose one could spend some serious time thinking about and researching this (and I'm sure many already have!), but for me it seems to be one of those chicken-or-the-egg situations. I don't know which one came first, but I do know that both elements are pretty necessary.

Happiness and gratitude are two things that, like the chicken and her egg, go hand in hand with one another. Whichever came first isn't necessarily important; what matters is that they build on one another and they enhance one another. Prager was really onto something in this quote. He really got the idea that gratitude is something that is deeply connected with happiness. Likewise, being ungrateful (or complaining, as he says), is something that relates directly to unhappiness.

I can speak to Prager's point about complaining from first hand experience. I used to be a notorious complainer. Everything was wrong in some way and, even if no one else could see it, I could. I was rarely content because I was always looking for something to moan and groan about. Even if things were going well in my life, I could find a reason to complain. Many times I wouldn't even say it out loud, but it was always there, under the surface, those little thoughts telling me what could be better about every situation. Clearly, all of this complaining and negative analysis didn't make me very happy (nor did it make those spending time with me very happy either!). In fact, it made me downright miserable. I was always looking for the bad. And guess what? I always found it. When you look for something, you find it. When you look for things to complain about, you find them. All of that complaining made me pretty darn unhappy.

These days, I choose to look for the good (which, believe me, isn't always easy!) and I find that I'm a lot happier just because I am grateful for the things around me. Sure, I don't think every situation is perfect, but when I look for the good things in a situation, I find them and I focus on them. I become grateful for them. Most situations/people/things have both good and bad, but I can say with 100% certainty that if you look for the good in them, you will be happier. It takes a lot more effort to be grateful than it does to complain (especially for someone like me, to whom complaining comes naturally!) so I get why a lot of people don't spend more time being grateful. Sometimes it's nearly impossible to snap yourself out of whatever negative mindset you're in and focus on the good, but it's always possible. It's always possible to be grateful for the good things.

Just as I believe happiness is a choice, I believe gratitude is also a choice. It really is quite simply about choosing to focus on the good things instead of the bad. And, if you want to take it one step further, you can focus on the bad things too and realize the reasons you have to be grateful for them. I can say with all certainty that I've had some pretty shitty things happen to me in my life. I can say with even more certainty that I brought many of these things upon myself. I could sit here and whine about them and think about the negative way these things have impacted my life, OR I could be grateful for them. I could look at them and realize that without those things I wouldn't be the person I am today. I wouldn't be as strong or as smart. I wouldn't be as interesting or brave. I wouldn't be anything like the girl I am right now. So today I am grateful for those things -- for all of the things, good and bad, that have made me the person I am today.

Honestly, I don't know whether happiness or gratitude comes first, but what I do know is that, in my life, they work together to make everything better. I am grateful for my happiness. I am happy to have so many things to be grateful for. For those of you living in places that celebrate Thanksgiving, I hope you have a wonderful holiday tomorrow. Take some time to be grateful at this time of year (and always!) and you'll find that happiness lies in everything you are thankful for. To read more about what I'm thankful for this year, stop your big turkey-filled belly by Positively Present on Friday and check out the post "100 Things I Am Thankful For." And, of course, I want to know...


What are YOU thankful for this year?
How do happiness and gratitude play a roll in your life?


the benefits of having a grateful day

 

Perfectdayforgratitude ()
 

The other day I was at the grocery store and, as I was checking out and leaving, the woman behind the counter handed me my change and said, "Have a grateful day!" My mind did a double take after hearing this. I'm so used to hearing "Have a great day" that I was surprised by her words. I turned to her and smiled and said, "Thank you! You too!" Of course she had no idea that at that very moment she was inspiring me to write a post about gratitude. Because I think about living in the moment so frequently, I also spend a lot of time thinking about gratitude. Why? Because being grateful helps me stay in the moment. Sometimes I really struggle with being present, even though it's such an important part of my life these days, so when I'm feeling like I just can't handle whatever moment I'm in, I start thinking about all of the things I'm grateful for.


For example, let's say I'm standing in line somewhere and I'm in a hurry and I don't feel well and I have a million things piling up on my desk. Let's say I haven't slept well so I'm extra cranky and it's just before lunchtime so I'm super hungry too. This is one of those moments where I'm not at all feeling like living in the moment. In fact, I'm pretty sure I want to be anywhere other than that moment. So what do I do? I take a deep breath, look around me, and start to focus my mind on gratitude. I ask myself, "What is good about this situation? What is good about my life right now?" When I do this, I instantly find myself centered, in the moment, and actually happy for the moment. I begin to realize that, even though I'm tired and hungry and don't feel so good, all of those things will pass and later that day I'll be in bed, with a full belly, resting and recovering. I realize that even though I'm waiting in a god-awful line in a crowded store that I'm lucky to be standing there, to be alive, and to have a capable mind and body. Believe me, I know how cliche and cheesy and sugary-sweet that sounds (I think the old me would have literally thrown up reading that paragraph), but it really does work. It really does!


When I first began thinking about gratitude, I thought it was all a little ridiculous the way some people went around being grateful for everything. Back when I was much more naive, it seemed to me that so many things were a given and that we didn't really have to think too much about being thankful. In the past, I was happy to write a thank you note or to offer words of gratitude to someone who had helped me out, but the most I ever really thought about being thankful was when the Thanksgiving holiday was approaching and the whole concept of being grateful was forced upon you. I used to not really get the point of being thankful. Always looking for the purpose behind something, I never could quite figure out what I could get out of feeling grateful. I understood what I got out of telling others I was thankful, but I didn't really see the point of spending a lot of time being thankful internally. Until now. Now I realize just how important gratitude is. It actually serves a real, true purpose in my life. I use it to do so many things and you can too! Check out the many uses of gratitude...



The Uses of Gratitude

  • Use gratitude to center yourself. This is probably the greatest use I've found for gratitude. Whenever I'm feeling upset or angry or frustrated or down, I think about the things I am grateful for and I feel much, much better. It really is a great tool to use to tackle some of the hardest emotions and I find that it almost always snaps me out of whatever funk I've found myself in.

  • Use gratitude to live in the moment. When I'm struggling to live in the moment (as I often am!), I find that being grateful really helps to bring me into the present. It's easy to get caught up thinking about the past or worrying about the future, but when I look around and start thinking of all the things I have to be grateful for, I find that I'm really, truly living in the moment.

  • Use gratitude to enhance relationships. Nothing makes a relationship better than when you are truly grateful for the other person. Sure, all relationships have ups and downs, but if you keep gratitude in mind no matter what you're going through, you're more likely to have a much better relationship. Be grateful for the people in your life and you'll find that your appreciate comes through in your words and actions.

  • Use gratitude to motivate yourself. Sometimes I find that it's hard to get motivated and I wonder what I can really contribute to the world. That's when I start using gratitude again. Once I start thinking about all of the things I'm thankful for -- including my own abilities -- I feel a lot more inspired. Being grateful can motivate you to believe in yourself and it can also inspire you to look around you and see all that you have to offer the world.

  • Use gratitude to overcome hurdles. Life is pretty hard sometimes, but when you find yourself focusing on what you're grateful for, all of the trials you have to face become more manageable. I can't say that gratitude is a cure all for every problem, but it really does help to put things in perspective when you're going through a tough time. Next time you're feeling down, think of all the things you're grateful for. I guarantee you'll feel inspired!

  • Use gratitude to improve your health. I'm not a doctor or a scientist, but I've read on more than one occasion that being grateful can actually improve your physical health. I don't have any statistics to back up this claim, but I can say that gratitude greatly reduces my stress level, which ultimately makes me a much healthier person. One thing I know for sure: gratitude certainly can't hurt your health, so it's worth a try to start thinking grateful thoughts.

 


Clearly, being grateful has some pretty sweet benefits. I used to think all of this was a bit of nonsense and that people used gratitude as a distraction so they didn't think about all of the miserable parts of their lives, but now I know that I really does have amazing benefits. There are so many things we should all be grateful for and even though it can be really, really hard at times to think about being thankful, it really does make even the worst situations more bearable. I really believe that having a grateful attitude gives us the power to turn any day -- even a really bad one! -- into a day worth celebrating.


When the woman at the grocery store told me to have a grateful day, I was certainly surprised, but then it all began to make sense. Of course I should have a grateful day because if I have a grateful day I'm going to have a day that's pretty close to awesome. Perhaps I am just extremely lucky, but I have so, so many things to be grateful for and once I start thinking about them all I find that I am happier, uplifted, and recognizing just how great my life is. An attitude of gratitude might not be able to transform a terrible day into a perfect one, but it can come pretty darn close.


We might not have the power to control everything in our lives, but we do have the power to take our thoughts and focus them on the positive things. Thinking about all of the things you are grateful for is one of the best ways to do this and I've found that the right attitude can absolutely transform my day. When I am grateful, I am living in the moment, I am happy for the moment. I can honestly say that when I start thinking about all of the things I'm grateful for, even a bad day can start to seem pretty good...


Because of the upcoming holiday -- Thanksgiving! Yay! -- I'll be focusing a lot on gratitude this week on Positively Present. While you're waiting for the next post about gratitude, check out these awesome gratitude resources:

I Am Thankful
5 Benefits of Gratitude
Cultivating Gratitude
Giving Thanks for 21 Blessings in Disguise
The Benefits of Gratitude
Gratefulness.org
Gratitude: A Positive Psychology Perspective