Be honest: At the end of a long day, are you more likely to complain about every little thing that went wrong, or be grateful for every little thing that went right? I won't lie; I'm definitely guilty of the former. Complaining makes us feel good, or at least we think it does ... in fact, it makes our mood even worse.
Just ask CafeMom Studios host Karen Walrond. This episode of her show, featuring artist Tara Dixon is called "Practicing Gratitude" -- and with good reason! Both Walrond and Dixon know firsthand how counting those blessings on a daily basis can lead to, well, feeling a lot more blessed. (Makes perfect sense!)
So what IS gratitude, exactly? According to Dixon, "Gratitude is noticing all the gifts in one's life, and taking stock of those gifts."
Even when times are tough. Hey, Dixon managed to find things to be grateful about when her 18-year-marriage ended!
While working on a series of paintings after her divorce, Dixon realized they all had a common theme: Being thankful for the best parts of her marriage.
"My husband had always believed in me as a painter, and paid rent for my studio ... and we had this amazing child together," she says.
Color me impressed. And inspired -- this practice really does have the potential to be life-changing. So how do we get our gratitude on?
Here are a few tips from Walrond and Dixon:
1. Take pictures of the things that make you grateful. (Dixon's choice one day? Mangoes!)
2. Journal about the things that make you grateful at the end of every day -- even if it's "one good thing."
3. Use feelings of gratitude to diffuse stressful situations. My train is late again! But ... at least I got a seat this time, yay!
4. Get kids started on gratitude early. Over dinner or before bed, ask, "What good things happened to you today?" Framing it this way -- what good things -- teaches them positive thinking.
What good things happened to YOU today?
Image via CafeMomStudios/YouTube