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Creating a culture of gratitude and appreciation

The holidays are upon us which is a great time to think about gratitude and appreciation. Often we get busy in our lives . . . busy with work, a new baby, family, friends and we get caught in the doing of life.
We may feel overwhelmed, overworked with more to do than there is time to do it. The holiday season is one of those times in particular. The stresses of family, shopping and planning weigh heavily.
Loneliness can also play a role in a time that is often about being with others. We often lose ourselves in the onslaught of doing.
In all this madness we forget to appreciate our lives and the people around us. We often forget to say thank you. Thank you to our loved ones, to the guy on the street, to life/spirit/God for the many blessings you have.
“Silent gratitude isn’t much use to anyone.” ~G.B. Stern
Creating a culture of appreciation in your life and relationships is critical in supporting loving relationships. Too often good deeds do go unnoticed. Ok, maybe not unnoticed but without “acknowledgment.” How many times have you noticed a loved one or even a stranger do something kind or thoughtful or just plain nice and you have thought to yourself “that was nice” but you did not express it out loud?
I challenge you for the next week, notice the good things that others do and tell them so. Watch how acknowledging your appreciation for others brings more love, more happiness and more peace to your life. Watch as your appreciation grows into appreciation that others have for you.
We see what we look for in life. Focus is everything. If you focus on appreciation and gratitude you will see places for it everywhere. I call it “The White Jeep Theory”. If you have decided to buy a white jeep, what is the car you see wherever you go? . . . a white jeep! No matter how many people I share this with they all nod knowingly. Do you think this is just a car phenomenon? No. It is a life phenomenon.
So make gratitude and appreciation your focus and watch how it changes your life. It is the small things that we do often in life that tend to reap the greatest rewards. Small things often!
Top 5 Ways to Grow Gratitude and Appreciation in Your Life
Each day (great to do just when you get into bed) highlight at least one thing you are grateful for or that you appreciated that day.
If the thing you are grateful for or appreciated was something that someone did, then tell them! And do so sooner than later.
Notice the ordinary and make them extraordinary. Tell your loved one(s) what they did that you appreciated. No matter how small….in fact the smaller the better! Rinse and repeat. Seriously, do this often and consistently and watch the culture of appreciation grow in your relationship.
Look for things to appreciate. Set the intention each day that you want to find things to appreciate and be grateful for and watch as these opportunities multiply.
When you are feeling sad, disappointed or angry, look for where you can find gratitude or appreciation. Angry that hubby didn’t help with baby? Remember the last time he was supportive or when he played with your baby and made him laugh. It will amaze you how resentment will dissipate if you focus on loving thoughts from the past instead of getting stuck in the resentment of the present. Once you have calmed down and the resentment has passed you can lovingly share your needs or disappointments. When you come from a foundation of appreciation, your approach will be softened and in turn your concerns will have a much greater chance of being heard.

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