Make Gratitude Your Attitude

Day after day, we can get caught up in the busyness and stress of life, losing touch with contentment.  We begin to feel numb and less peaceful with a negative outlook on life.  How do we get out of this murky place and into joy, peace and clarity again?

Starting with the simple practice of Gratitude can change our perspective on life drastically, especially if we practice it daily. Dr. Robert Emmons, the gratitude “expert,” says there are many physical, psychological and social benefits to practicing gratitude. Some benefits he mentions on his website,  are stronger immune systems, less pain, lower blood pressure, better sleep, increased positive emotions, being more compassionate, forgiving, and outgoing.

One way to access the Gratitude Attitude is called Reframing.

Reframing involves a shift from an irrational negative perception of a situation to a more realistic positive one. This strategy of Reframing comes from a Biblical reference regarding  reducing anxiety. Each verse in this passage presents a step to Peacefulness starting with Gratitude. Whether a Bible reader or not, this strategy can be applicable to you in achieving more peace and gratitude.

 4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

 8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.   Philippians 4:4-9 (New International Version, ©2011)

Step 1  Make a Gratitude List.

Make a list of things you are thankful for. Celebrate and rejoice in gratefulness!  Reframe your thoughts by making grateful affirmations.

Step 2. Be still. Breathe.

Calm down by focusing on an affirmation that recognizes what brings you closer to peace (or God).  Calmness is more likely to happen if you are still and believe you are surrounded by peace.

Step 3. Direct your thoughts to positive prayers and affirmations.

Be aware of any uncomfortable feelings. Then provide an opposite action of thankfulness and acceptance of these feelings.  Release your concerns, letting them go one by one.

Step 4.  Act as if!

Inner Peace “transcends all understanding.” Don’t rely just on the way you feel.  Feelings come after you change your thoughts.  Thoughts take time to change.  Act as if you believe this regardless of your feelings. Visualize what inner peace looks and feels like to you.

Step 5.  Deposit positive affirmations into your mind.

Make a list of true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy thoughts.  Think on these thoughts.

Step 6.  Practice.

Reframing is a process that starts with an attitude of gratitude and takes practice.

Step 7. Recognize Peace will come. 

After you practice changing your thoughts (steps 1 – 6), you will eventually FEEL the inner peace.  Remember thoughts have to change before feelings. There are many ways to become more grateful in our attitude. Check out Dr. Emmons’ website.


Author: Susan S. Miller, PhD, LPCS, NCC for Miller Counseling Services, PC

Dr. Susan Miller

Susan Miller, PhD, LPCS, NCC is a Psychotherapist, Certified Creativity Coach, Certified Kaizen-Muse™ Creativity Coach, Entrepreneur & Life Coach offers counseling, coaching & creativity workshops that light the path of your life journey through Lighted Path™ Coaching and Miller Counseling Services, PC Along with having 30+ years of counseling, coaching, and group facilitation experience, Susan is a life-time trained artist with a special interest in painting, mixed media and fabric art.

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