Resilient people have the ability to see the world through the eyes of gratefulness. They are aware of the abundance of life and focus on the positives even when times are difficult. During those times of difficulty, they mentally “reframe” situations to include hopeful statements, look for possibilities, create options or strategies, and believe in their ability to make a change (no matter how small).
Here are a few methods for increasing your gratefulness:
- Keep a gratitude or blessing journal. Find a time each day to write in your journal and include the events, comments, or occurrences that brought you joyful gratitude today. HINT: Many people find it helpful to set aside a consistent time each day to focus on gratefulness. Perhaps, you could determine a specific time before you go to bed to devote to this practice? Maybe a good time might be when you sit at your kitchen table having a cup of coffee in the morning?
- Be grateful for your senses. Take some time each day to notice how your senses enhance and create powerful images for you to capture. Breathe in and feel the coolness of the air inside your lungs; close your eyes and feel the breeze as it tingles on your arms and face; gaze at the magnificent sunrise and witness the magical colors that fill the sky; close your eyes and smell the freshly cut grass in your neighborhood. The options are limited, and they all train your mind to focus on the miracles around us for which we can be grateful.
- Learn prayers of gratitude. These prayers can be spiritual or they can be meditative or affirming. The key is that resilient people believe that they are connected to the world and everything that surrounds them.
- Grateful people are watchful of the mental messages that they give to themselves. Too often we are our own worst enemy and we fill our cluttered minds with self-defeating messages about our deficiencies and mistakes. Resilient people “feed” their minds with positive messages and intervene with negative self-messages that destroy our self-esteem.
- Vow to practice gratefulness. Commitment is an important component to enhance your gratitude quotient. Without a personal pledge to focus on a change, your goal will soon become just a passing thought.
- A playful technique for practicing gratitude. Each morning we go into our bathroom and wash our face, brush our hair, and stare into the mirror. What if that mirror could remind you to be grateful? Here’s how: Take a steamy shower in your bathroom and allow your mirror to get covered in fog. Now take your finger and write GRATEFUL on the mirror. You’ll be surprised because each day when the mirror fogs up you will see the word GRATEFUL appear. You now have created a lasting reminder that magically appears each time you stand in front of the mirror. (you could also put a post-it note on your mirror, but that might not be as magical).
- Watch children play. Children enjoy life to the fullest, and the smallest things make them squeal with excitement and joy. A little stick can become a magical wand, a dandelion that explodes in the wind can make them smile, and a lightning bug can create a night filled with chasing and laughter. Resilient people have the ability to look at life with playfulness as they replenish the joy in their lives.
View the world from a framework of positivity. Resilient people see a life filled with abundance vs. scarcity– so fill your mind with some positive thoughts.
Joy Erlichman Miller PhD. is the director of Joy Miller & Associates and CEO of Resiliency Forum. Miller is also an adjunct professor for Bradley University and she is the author of 7 books.