When author and self-help/relationship guru Iyanla Vanzant was asked what her prayer is, she answered that she had three. The first one is “Help!” The second is “Help Now!” And the third is: “Thank you.”
Especially during stressful times, it’s good to keep that superpower (as I described it to my ninth-graders in Life Class) in your back pocket to use throughout the day and cultivate and attitude of gratitude as part of your overall MO. Many studies and notable folks have promoted the benefits and magic that the energy of gratitude unleashes; whether writing a daily list, speaking it to others in your life, or silently acknowledging everything you are thankful for as they arise in and around you, gratitude opens your heart and is the best way to celebrate your life, stay grounded and reduce your stress no matter what.
Yes, we all know that Oprah keeps a gratitude journal, but even tough guy media mogul and bison king Ted Turner, in some of his darkest hours in the midst of a huge corporate mess and painful divorce, said that’s what kept him going. Every night before he went to sleep he would think about everything in life he was grateful for, and that helped get him through to another day.
Of course it’s easy to be grateful when things are going your way, got lucky or you prayers were answered, but what about in the midst of a difficult situation or for the things we take for granted and hardly even notice anymore? It’s not always easy when you’re in the moment, but just try breaking out some appreciation when dealing with serious challenges and/or their aftermath (i.e. taking care of a sick/aging parent, being laid off from your job, breaking up with a longtime partner, facing a debilitating illness or physical disaster), and focus on whatever good the situation is allowing you to experience right then and there. Remember to think about other hard times you’ve gone through in the past — in hindsight you were always glad they happened, right?
There are so many ways and moments that we can use gratitude, not the least of which is in our everyday interactions — whether with friends, family, foe or stranger, the common courtesies of “please” and “thank you” go a long way and are indeed deposits in the gratitude account. And the little things and everyday surroundings we take for granted are not to be overlooked; this truly is the stuff of life: “Thank you for the roof over my head, my functioning brain, my ability to dance and listen to music, all the work I’ve done on myself to get to this point. The fresh air, sunshine and easy access to the ocean as well as to the mountains; the rain that makes the leaves green and the air that those leaves create so I can breathe; for the good friends and people who support me and make me laugh…” you get the idea.
It’s even become automatic now that when I sit down to eat a meal, I briefly pause to silently give thanks for the fact that I have food before me and appreciate the nourishment it provides, the miracle of Nature, the variety of options available to me; for all the hard work it took to get it here; the people at the farmer’s market and grocery store; the fact that I had the money buy it and my ability to cook, see, smell, taste and digest it; for the pleasure it gives me. It takes only a few seconds to encompass that recognition and all of those thoughts into one acknowledging feeling, because when you really think about it, it truly is a blessing. (P.S. I LOVE food.)
And, as a professional coach, I am beyond grateful to all my clients, who trust me with your time, energy, journey and dollars, and allow me the opportunity to do something I truly love that helps you grow and heal your lives, which in turn has helped me to grow and heal mine. And for my PGG readers who allow me to express myself in a creative way that you find beneficial and entertaining: Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
It’s true that ” What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” so if you can’t quite see the silver lining in the clouds around you, give me a buzz and I’ll help you taste the rainbow of your life.
Originally published on www.kristinaleonardi.com on July 8, 2014.
Wishing you and your family peace and abundance this Thanksgiving and beyond!
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Check out this very-roughly-edited-not-the-best-quality video of uninterrupted remarks wrapping up the workshop “Lead Yourself to Success (in Work & Life!)” In this excerpt covering the final ten minutes, I summarize my thoughts about confidence, being a leader in your own life, maintaining your individuality and humanity in the times we live in, and why the world is relying on you to be successful.
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