The Power of Gratitude

02/08/09 6:25 PM

I am actively engaged in a daily practice of gratitude, trying to replace the grumbling and complaining with acceptance of what is and an appreciation for all that I do have. There is so much to be grateful for but this is constantly drowned out by the echoes of so many complaints inside of all of our heads. The weather, bills, work, our partner, children the list is endless. There is surely no shortage of things large and small to complain about. And this often becomes the social glue cementing us to others. We look for agreement, sympathy, pity to feel less alone.

Lately I am redirecting the negativity and finding when I focus on what I am grateful for, my mood shifts, my body feels better, my energy increases and I am happier. Those all seem like good reasons to keep doing it!  If stress is part of your daily fare, try noticing the content of your thoughts. Where is your mind focusing? On what you don’t have? On what you don’t like? On all that is wrong with your life? Try shifting towards gratitude- in fact you can make a list each day of 5 things you  are grateful for. Notice the shift inside.

I want to share with you my friend’s inspiring story about a Gratitude Practice and its life-altering effects

Bring gratitude into  your life- you  deserve it!


A Gratitude Practice
Change Your Life in 10 minutes a Day
by Andy A. Migner
A few years ago, my friend Sarah and I began an experiment. The project arose out of desperation. Sarah was on the verge of asking her husband for a divorce and she was painfully aware that it was her critical mind, not her husband, that was wreaking havoc in her life.
I was feeling heavy hearted for Sarah and her family, for the pain that would result from an unnecessary divorce, especially for their three children, when an idea dropped into my mind, fully formed. It was simple, it was brilliant and it was an answer to prayer.
I called Sarah and asked her if she would be willing to try an experiment for a month. “Every day, let’s e-mail each other three things we are grateful for about our husbands, and one compliment we have expressed directly to them.” Doubtful, but desperate, Sarah agreed.
At first this practice seemed anything but simple. Staring at a blank computer screen, our fingers rested on the keyboard completely uninspired. If you had asked us to write complaints about our husbands, our fingers would have been dancing on the keyboard, but things we were grateful for? Apparently our “gratitude muscles” had atrophied. To jump-start this process, we sent each other a list of things we had ever been grateful for about our spouses. My list included qualities I had seen in my husband when we first met; ‘the strong spirit evident in his sparkling blue eyes’, and qualities that came out later; ‘what a supportive coach he was at the births of our three children’. Sarah’s list included her husband’s  soft, gentle nature, his intelligence and his fun-loving committed parenting.  Acting like some sort of drain cleaner, these lists unclogged our “appreciation pipes”, unearthing qualities in our husbands that we had forgotten. They provided a foundation, making it easier to come up with the daily gratitudes.
Daily compliments were even harder. I’ve always marveled at people who easily express kindness and praise and wished I could be more like them. One night that first week, I hadn’t yet found anything to compliment. My husband and I were outside and my eyes fell on a garbage can. I thought of thanking him for all the years that he had taken the trash to the dump. Honestly, I didn’t feel thankful and praising him felt awkward. I was embarrassed, afraid my insincerity would be more obvious than my appreciation. But I had to come up with a compliment to report back to Sarah, so I barreled ahead. “Thank you for all of the years you have taken care of the trash” My husband beamed. He was so touched by (and probably hungry for) my appreciation, he didn’t notice my discomfort.
It was at the end of the second week that the most amazing thing happened. Sarah fell back in love with her husband. 42 “gratitudes” in 14 days and Sarah was looking at a new husband. It was nothing short of a miracle. All of the qualities that had initially attracted her to him were back in the foreground. Her daily e-mails were rich, full, romantic and heartfelt, a far cry from that first week of forced gratitudes.
My life changed too. Initially, I thought this gratitude practice was for Sarah (and her family) and I took part in it largely to help her.  It didn’t take long to realize the folly of my thinking. I also suffered from a critical mind and his practice was as much for me as it was for her. In fact, I’m sure that it was an answer to long standing prayers. As a result of this practice, I became happier in my marriage and the whole tenor of our home softened. About a month into our practice, my husband announced that he wanted to end his professional partnership and start his own business. He had complained about his work situation for years but he’d never before had the strength and confidence to consider striking out on his own. Was this a coincidence, or was my change of focus uplifting him in some mysterious way? Remember, this gratitude practice was a private matter between me and Sarah. Our husbands did not know about it. The only thing they experienced directly from us was the daily compliment. By that summer, my husband completed all of the necessary steps to dissolve the partnership and he has been successfully managing his own business ever since.
Thirty days after we began, there was a note tacked onto Sarah’s gratitude list; “Our one month experiment is up, but I don’t want to stop. Would you be willing to continue doing this gratitude practice? It is helping so much. Focusing on the positive is still so new to me, I’m afraid I’ll slip back to my old ways without it.”  Feeling the same, I immediately agreed.
A month later I found another note at the end of one of Sarah’s e-mails. “It is easy now for me to come up with things I’m grateful for about David, but I can’t think of anything about myself. My self-esteem is in the trash can”  We decided to add three gratitudes about ourselves each day. These gratitudes identified our gifts and talents and other things, like ‘my willingness to change’ and ‘ability to think outside the box’. Eventually we settled on the following format; three things we are grateful to God for, three things we are grateful for about our husbands and three things we are grateful for about ourselves.
It has been a number of years since we began this daily gratitude practice. Many friends, and friends of friends, have been inspired to join us, or to create partnerships of their own. Together we have witnessed amazing miracles. Our “gratitudes” have expanded to include our children, in-laws, employers and others. This simple practice is transformational. I invite you to find a partner and try a “one-month experiment” of your own. Miracles await.
As a Life Coach, Andy Migner, M.S.W., passionately encourages and inspires others to follow their dreams, find their purpose and become the person they were intended to be. She also offers “Power of Gratitude” workshops and Oneness Blessing events. If you start a gratitude practice she would love to hear about your experience:( You can learn more about her work through her website:

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