WEDNESDAY WISDOM: The Surprising Power of The Gratitude Question
POWER OF THE GRATITUDE QUESTION
“Gratitude is a way for people to
appreciate what they have instead of always reaching for something new in
the hopes it will make them happier, or thinking they can't feel satisfied
until every physical and material need is met. Gratitude helps people
refocus on what they have instead of what they lack." Harvard Medical
I have a new secret tool for
upgrading or calming my troubled thoughts.
Years ago, a teacher and leader I
admired taught me a simple method for reining in out-of-control
thoughts. He taught me to sing or hum an uplifting song to myself whenever
I found my mind wandering in unhappy, anxious, discouraging, or
inappropriate paths, or when my thoughts were racing and keeping me from
going to sleep. Amazingly, after only a verse or two, my thinking
would shift into a more positive direction or I would be able to relax and
drift off to sleep.
Lately, however, for reasons
unknown to me, singing a song to myself has become less effective than it
used to be. Perhaps the song had become repetitious, perhaps the
neural pathways in my brain were getting older, or perhaps it was something
related to the pandemic. Whatever the cause, my singing technique
wasn’t working as well anymore.
But recently I have come across a
new approach, a different methodology for controlling or quieting my
I’ve been thinking a lot these days
about gratitude, trying to write something appropriate for the Thanksgiving
season. With those ideas floating around in my head, I made an amazing
discovery. I have found that when I can’t sleep or when my mind is
roaming in undesirable directions, I can place myself in a happy, inspiring
place by asking myself one simple question.
It’s a simple but effective
query. When I ask myself The Gratitude Question, I find that, without
resistance, my brain glides into thankful, appreciative territory where I
relax and realize how blessed I am. While there, I remember that when
you love what you have, you have everything you need. While there, I
recognize how much I love the people who surround me. While there, I
stop worrying; I stop fretting; I stop yearning for things I don’t
have. I am at peace.
Going to my thankful place by
asking myself “What Are You Grateful For?” completely changes my
spirit and attitude. My eyes are opened to the multitude of blessings
that continually surround me. From that vantage point, I treasure the
words of William Arthur Ward, who wrote: "Gratitude can transform
common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change
ordinary opportunities into blessings."
This Thanksgiving, despite the
uncertainty and angst swirling around us, I choose to be grateful. I choose
to cherish everyone and everything that blesses my life. I choose to
believe what Melody Beattie said: "Gratitude unlocks the fullness
of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more."
This Thanksgiving, I’m especially
thankful for my wonderful new super-question: “What Are You Grateful
Perhaps you should try asking
yourself The Gratitude Question and see what happens for you. For me,
it changes everything.