Yes! Gratitude Helps

“The six most important words: I admit I made a mistake; The five most important words: You did a good job; The four most important words: What is your opinion?; The three most important words: If you please; The two most important words: Thank You; The one most important word: We”
– Anonymous

In my last article, I wrote about Dr Emmons’ cutting edge research on the nature of gratitude. He defines gratitude as: “A virtue and an emotion — a knowing awareness that we are the recipients of goodness”. His view is that gratitude is the best approach to life. Now let’s continue to Dr Emmons’ next 5 outstanding prescriptions for the basic practice of gratitude…

Image: Woman in sunset with raised outstretched arms
  1. Use visual reminders. Keep an affirmation on your wall about what you do have so you see it upon rising. Keep another one on your refrigerator so you see it when you make breakfast. This can start you on the right foot and you could help the mood of your family members as they get up. It is not hard to imagine what the mood will be like when the morning commences with complaining and nagging. Even if you are thinking negatively, don’t say it out loud. Instead, look for a solution and start role modelling a positive stance through your words and actions. Sometimes parents can become focused on their child’s behavioural problems and lose sight of what is going right for their child. Take a few minutes right now to name some of these aspects of your child and celebrate them!
  2. Make a vow to practice gratitude. Committing to perform a daily vow actually does increase the likelihood that the action will be carried out, according to Dr Emmons. Use every opportunity to practice. For example, when you are stuck in traffic and inching your way home, or when you’re stuck at a traffic light, use that red light as a signal to breathe in and out slowly and be thankful that you even have a car to drive in. When you arrive home, you will be more refreshed and ready to see your family.
  3. Watch your language. Our newspapers and TV news are full of doom and gloom language, fighting and friction. It seems that the most popular programmes are rife with jealousy, envy and violence. Grateful people have a particular linguistic elegance that effuses with words like: gifts, givers, blessings, blessed, fortune, fortunate, abundant and abundance.Both children and adults with ADD or ADHD have a lot of negative self-talk because they have become accustomed to hearing words of ridicule and blame. Their impulsive actions and speaking result in parents and teachers or bosses reprimanding them for things they are not easily able to control. They often criticize the person as opposed to addressing the behaviour. Think what a significant impact this language can have on the person with ADHD when they hear the language of gratitude for who they are, for their strengths and talents.Dr Masaru Emoto describes language as not being something artificial, but that which is created by nature, and he encourages people to think in terms of vibration. It’s easy to understand that the spoken word has a vibration. Beautiful words have beautiful, clear vibrations. Negative words put out ugly, incoherent vibrations. Speaking words of gratitude and doing things with gratitude can “raise your vibration”. This helps you have a broader perspective and will make you feel more optimistic and able to be more loving.
  4. Go through the motions. If you have to, “Fake it until you make it!” But actually, it doesn’t take much to smile a little more at your children, say thank you to them with your eyes, and let them observe you practising random acts of kindness. You can also get up and do the gratitude dance with your child and spread the good feeling!
  5. Think outside the box (to flex those gratitude muscles). Be creative. Look for new situations and opportunities in which to feel grateful, especially when things are not going well and you are feeling down, guilt-ridden, hopeless, and helpless.

The French philosopher, Gabriel Massieu, once said that “gratitude is the memory of the heart”. As parents we need to share our heart’s memory with our children and show them that we do not forget the every day events that excite an admiring awe (the definition of miracle). They, themselves, are miracles.

The French philosopher, Gabriel Massieu, once said that “gratitude is the memory of the heart”. What an amazing way to view the concept. People who are self-depreciating, moaning, or complaining have poor memories. They take for granted all the blessings they do have in their every day lives, do not appreciate who they are and tend to grumble that the grass is always greener on the other side.

An attitude of gratitude certainly can change a person’s perspective. As parents we need to share our heart’s memory with our children and role model to them that we do not forget the every day events that excite an admiring awe (the definition of miracle). Our children themselves are miracles.

I know they can also be a source of pain and conflict and there are daily hurdles to jump. There are challenges that are beyond your control that are thrown at you like grenades, but you definitely can choose how you react to these obstacles. Stephen Covey (author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People) defines proactive as “being responsible for our own lives… our behaviour is a function of our decisions, not our conditions. Proactive people focus on issues within their circle of influence. They work on things they can do something about. The nature of their energy in doing this is positive, enlarging and magnifying. By contrast, reactive people focus their mental, emotional and physical energy on things beyond their control. They maintain an attitude of victimization and blame”.

Gratitude is the antidote to anything negative that is getting you down. Don’t forget to acknowledge yourself in all the ways that you contribute to the world as a parent, a spouse, a friend, and as an amazing human being! Gratitude can only deepen your love and compassion for yourself, your children and for your life.

Thanks for taking the time to read this Monday’s Motivational article. This Monday will never come again… so relish it by practising gratitude and I look forward to connecting with you again next week.


Thanks for taking the time to read this Monday’s Motivational article.

Please feel free to send me any comments or your own stories you wish to share, or post them on this site by leaving a comment below.

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