Research indicates that having a gratitude practice, however small, can help us feel better—but do you have gratitude backwards?

Studies from the Greater Good Science Center prove that when we shift our thinking toward what is here for us in any given situation, or something we can appreciate in just a small way, our brains respond with the “good feeling” chemicals rather than the anxiety-producing stress hormones. There is a common misunderstanding about gratitude, however. We tend to think of this in terms of being grateful for the things that make us feel safe and comfortable. But there is another side to the coin that if we can’t embrace we will always feel frustrated and stressed out. Noticing the ways we can appreciate discomfort and challenge is a profoundly necessary part of cultivating resiliency and reaping the full benefit life offers us in every situation. A woman I was working with who understands this sent me this list:

  • The bills that are piling up that are pushing on you to awaken your power to create more abundance.
  • The rejections that are giving you an opportunity to own the value of what you have to offer, even when others don’t seem to see it.
  • The disappointing love affair that taught you what not to do moving forward.

None of us are happy when learning lessons on how to be patient, brave, tolerant, forgiving or faithful. Yet every person of substance in this world has these qualities in spades. Next time you’re getting what you don’t want, say “thank you.” Think of all the ways life is loving you by allowing this to happen.

  • How is this unwanted experience helping you to grow?
  • What is this setback teaching you about work, life and love?
  • What qualities are you cultivating by having to deal with this delay?

So much is written about finding purpose. Could it be that we are actually surrounded by purpose all the time?

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Heathere Evans, APR, teaches teams and individuals how they can reach their full potential through effective communications practices, inside and out. Learn more about Pivot Incorporated workshops and coaching or follow her on Twitter.

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