Archive for the ‘Gratitude’ Category

Gratitude Week

November 27, 2020

Many people are grateful for “Black Friday”. It has almost turned into a global phenomenon, although Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of November is an American holiday.

The grateful people, I imagine, are the business owners who depend upon Christmas present shopping (actually buying, not just shopping) to make their profits for the year. Don’t be cynical. I’ve been in business, and most of us rely on business for incomes.

But the ads began early. This morning I had emails from the most unlikely sources pushing Black Friday deals. Even my Website company!

I might suggest that you don’t instinctively just go online or to the big box retailer. Check out your locally owned shops for unique gifts. Or your local independent book seller for books and other supplies. You can find your local one if you don’t already know at Bookshop.

We can be grateful that we have the power and ability to make others grateful. Gratitude can spread just like love. It doesn’t diminish the more you use it.

Gratitude Affects Your Health

November 26, 2020

Years ago I was obsessing over a problem and read everything I could find on brain research. One thing I discovered is that we don’t only think with our brain. Our entire body joins in the fun.

The brain mainly operates on electrical connections. However a number of chemicals originate from various parts of the body that add information to the brain and the rest of the body. It all works together.

Gratitude, what we think or focus on, affects chemical reactions in a variety of areas of the body. Research reveals the health benefits of that gratitude mindset I talked about yesterday.

Your brain gets the benefit of hormones that make you feel good.

Your gut settles down and the various digestive systems operate better.

Your heart benefits from reduced tension.

And, your spiritual life finds additional space to grow.

Mind, body, spirit–all the parts of your self benefit.

This is Thanksgiving in the US. We won’t be meeting in large family groups, or even smaller family groups this year. Most likely community Thanksgiving dinners have been placed on pause. But we can still change our outlook to change our health by concentrating on those things for which we’re grateful.

Develop a Gratitude Mindset

November 25, 2020

Peter Diamandis is an interesting character. He’s an engineer and physician, founder of the X-Prize, and founder of the Singularity Institute. His passion is to develop an Abundance attitude in people in place of a scarcity mindset.

However, his recent newsletter included a portion of his class called Abundance 360 called developing a Gratitude Mindset. This seemed appropriate since we are discussing gratitude in this Thanksgiving week. Try these on for size.

With a Gratitude Mindset… 

(1) You know that being grateful enhances your mood and makes you feel genuinely happy. Expressing gratitude causes our brain to release dopamine and serotonin, the two crucial neurotransmitters responsible for our emotions. They make us feel “good.”

(2) You recognize how incredibly lucky you are on both a personal and professional basis, and you take the time to feel and express thankfulness and appreciation.

(3) As a leader, you understand the power of encouraging your team to be grateful. You know that being thankful and appreciative improves the relational well-being for both individuals and the overall group.

(4) You invest in relationships. As my dear friend Joe Polish says: “Time is not money. Relationships are money.” You have to develop and nurture your relationships. Every day, you try to be as useful as possible to those around you. And in your leadership role, you focus on what positive results you can create for others.

(5) You have created daily routines that allow you to reflect on how lucky and thankful you are. And you share those reflections with others in your life in a way that brings you joy, and uplifts those around you.

Gratitude For When I Choose Wisely

November 24, 2020

Did you ever find yourself in a place with certain people at an awkward time–and wonder what you were doing there?

The news is full of those stories–why did I choose to come here and now I’m in trouble?

Did you ever find your self out between midnight and 4 am? You’re with people who come up with a “bright idea”? And you wonder, “What am I doing here?”

Maybe I was given a partial gift–I can remember during the situation thinking that. Mostly when I was younger. I can’t remember many times when I thought that ahead of time.

However, certain disciplines and habits have kept me from those what am I doing here situations.

And for those, I am grateful.

As we approach America’s Thanksgiving celebration, we can pause daily to think back of things we did or didn’t do and find those for which we’re grateful.

Gratitude during Thanksgiving season leads us naturally to Advent (for the Christians among my readers). A season of preparation to celebrate the coming of Jesus. My virtual friend Jon Swanson has written an Advent book for this year, Giving a Year Meaning: A Healing Journal for Advent 2020. He makes me think–in a good way. You still have time to order and begin it.


November 23, 2020

This week Americans celebrate Thanksgiving. Celebrating a bountiful harvest in the late fall is probably as old as humans began farming. The beginning of our celebration is hidden by the mists of time.

Setting aside all the current arguments and discussions about the roles of the Europeans and Indigenous peoples in the 17th Century, we have been taught since I was a child that it’s a day to pause and give thanks for the many blessings we have.

Americans long ago began observing the holiday as family time. It’s an opportunity to pause and gather the extended family for a big meal and for renewing acquaintances and for telling family stories.

Later it became a good excuse to visit Florida and Disney World, but that’s another story.

This year, not so much gathering. The SARS-CoV-2 virus is spreading like a wildfire in California right now. There are people who thought there was no such thing, and even if so, they’d never catch it who are now suffering with the disease. Hospitals are full. Fear of spreading the virus farther across the family supersedes the will to gather.

We still can pause in the build up to Thanksgiving Day to reflect and be grateful:

  • For those of us who have not been infected
  • For those who received only a mild dose and have survived
  • For those who serve all those who have been infected
  • For a peaceful election despite the hype and build-up of media organizations that feed on fear and discontent to hook readers and sell advertising
  • For those who care

Practicing Gratidude

February 28, 2020

“Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.” A.A. Milne

Gratitude is far beyond saying “Thank You” to someone.

It’s actually a spiritual discipline. A practice that leads to attitude change that leads to a way of life.

Perhaps you adopt a way of living honoring those who have helped you along the way.

I could spend time sitting in morning contemplation and run the list of those who have cheated me and wronged me on a continuous loop through my mind.

Better is that I recognize those who have given me opportunity and encouragement and choose each day to live up to their expectations.

What begins with a simple Thank You can become a fulfilled life as we live out the practice of gratitude. Perhaps our “Very Small Hearts” can fill with gratitude with practice.

Justice for the Poor

November 20, 2018

“Let the poor say, ‘I am rich because of what the Lord has done for us.’ ”

From Give Thanks by Henry Smith.

We sang that song last Sunday as part of a Thanksgiving service. (Thursday is the American Thanksgiving Day holiday.)

The social movement of 19th Century Europe (and later in America) was farm workers flocking to the cities to get jobs in the new industrial manufacturing plants. Only, they discovered very low wages and terribly unsafe working conditions.

And the owners of the factories? They lived like the kings and princes they had displaced in the social hierarchy.

The Christian church in Europe where most of this was going on responded by saying, “Let the poor rejoice in the kingdom to come.”

Reaction to this attitude was predictable. The workers rebelled when they could. Philosophers and political thinkers rejected the church. These “preacher’s kids” started writing atheist tracts about justice for the poor–now, not in some future when they are dead.

Residue from these attitudes on each side affect the Christian church in Europe, and to a degree in America, even to today.

Jesus and his followers talk often about justice, mercy, and giving to the poor. Think of the story of Ruth and Naomi and how they were destitute and shown mercy by a wealthy kinsman.

As we thank God for our blessings, let us show mercy and compassion as Jesus commanded and give to the poor for their blessing.

Showing Gratitude

November 16, 2018

Last week I wrote about AJ Jacobs who wrote a book about his experiences thanking everyone who had any part in bringing his morning coffee. He did it personally.

How do you go about it? Showing gratitude, that is?

I have an event in my productivity app that is set up to alert me weekly to make a gratitude list.

But, is that enough.

When you thank someone, do you just dash off a quick “thanks.”

When you order your coffee, do you look the barista in the eye and say “thank you”?

Eye contact with those serving you is crucial to the gratitude expression.

How about a hand written note? Remember those?

Right now, I’m grateful to the shuttle driver about to take me to the airport. I’ll thank him with a tip.

And the crew getting my plane ready this early in the morning.

And the pilots taking me home. And the flight attendants who will serve me (and thanks to the system that awarded me a first class upgrade!)

There’s more. Think on it.

Showing Gratitude

November 6, 2018

Being a grateful person contributes to one’s overall good health.

AJ Jacobs read about the health benefits of being grateful, so he decided to thank someone before every meal for their part in bringing the meal. Maybe the farmer. Or the grocer. Or whomever.

His son one day observes, “Dad, that’s so lame.” “Why?” “No one can hear you say thank you.”


Jacobs decided to say thank you to everyone involved in bringing him his morning coffee.

There was the barista. But then he went to Columbia to visit the farm where his favorite coffee was grown. They told him they could never grow the coffee without the help of about 100 other people. Among which was a machine used to separate the pulp of the coffee cherry from the bean. The machine builder in Brazil used steel made in Indiana. All told, in his book Thanks a Thousand: A Gratitude Journey, he tells of the thousand people he thanked for helping bring his morning coffee. Including the truck driver and the person who painted the yellow lines on the road so that the driver could make it safely.

He details this in a podcast of The Tim Ferriss Show you can download from Apple Podcasts or Overcast or wherever you get your podcasts.

I am thankful for people who blow my mind with research and books that broaden my understanding of people and the presence of the spirit.

Maybe you don’t want to go that far–and write a book–but try showing appreciation to the people who serve you today.

Turning Expectations Into Gratitude

March 14, 2018

We ran to the Christmas Tree early Christmas morning expecting a wealth of toys.

Now trained, we continue to be trained through ceaseless advertisements and commercial messages. Even within TV shows and movies are subtle and not-so-subtle messages from advertisers.

We marry. As Andy Stanley has been walking us through he current series of message he explains how we bring a box of expectations into relationship. We expect our spouse to fulfill those expectations. It’s Christmas all over again.

I’m in a hotel room for the fifth straight week (only three on business, though). Sometimes my expectation is free WiFi and a mediocre cup of coffee!

Perhaps we would live a better life if we exchanged our expectations for gratitude.

Instead of the disappointment of not getting what we expected at Christmas, gratitude for what we did received–plus for a family with whom to celebrate.

Instead of frustration about a spouse and shock of discovering that they also brought a box of expectations that we are supposed to fulfill, gratitude at having a relationship at all. Some of us don’t deserve what we got. Be grateful.

Instead of a world where politics seems insane and people are angry all the time, gratitude that it is God’s world and for people who are helpful and kind and loving.

Ah, gratitude for that great cup of coffee–well, not exactly great, but it is coffee. And it’s 5:30 am, and I’m meeting people at 7 to go to a 7:15 meeting. And I’m grateful for that coffee!