The fact of the matter is that for all of us, life presents numerous opportunities each and every day to “recognize” the goodness around us. But we have to be looking for it.
For the last few weeks, we have focused on gratitude as the first part of our G.R.O.W theme for this year. We have learned that gratitude can be a powerful tool to help us and our children journey through the pandemic. We know it has benefits—not just for mental health—but even physical health. In short, we know we should be focusing on gratitude… but it is still difficult.
How can we find gratitude with all that is going on in the world? I think most of us are simply asking how can we be grateful right now?
There are many different ways to cultivate gratitude in our lives, but for today, I want to start with just one step we can take to bring gratitude into our lives.
If you do any research on gratitude, you will see the name Robert Emmons. Emmons is a professor of psychology at The University of California, Davis and is considered a world expert on gratitude. There are many definitions of gratitude out there. Emmons defines it as “the ability to recognize the goodness in your life…” (1)
The key action is “to recognize.” To be grateful, we have to see it. We need to look for it. We need to focus on it. We need to think about it. We need to be intentional.
The fact of the matter is that for all of us, life presents numerous opportunities each and every day to “recognize” the goodness around us. But we have to be looking for it. It can be something as simple as having a good laugh, enjoying the beauty of nature around us, meeting up with a friend, spending time with a faithful pet, savoring something good to eat, watching a favorite show, listening to a song on the radio, receiving a hug from a child, going on an invigorating run, experiencing a beautiful sunset, getting a text from a friend, or hitting all the green lights on the way to work. I could keep going but I think you get the idea. These “goodness moments” are there every day. It’s just that we are not looking for them and so we miss them. Remember that the “silver lining” is because of the clouds, and most of us are only seeing the clouds.
To bring more gratitude into our lives, we first need to look for a “silver lining.” If we start to look for it, I am confident that we will find it.
Written by Karl Steinkamp
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