The Power of Gratitude

Sometimes we become so boggled down by life’s daily ins and outs that we forget to stop, take stock of what is good, and relish a moment of gratitude.

I read a book titled, Enjoy Every Sandwich, by Dr. Lee Lipsenthal where he provided a lovely recommendation to his readers which he practiced daily, a gratitude journal. The idea is simple, yet powerful. Every night before going to bed make a list of a couple of things for which you are grateful. Keep the journal by your bedside to facilitate the practice.

This focus on gratitude shifts your thoughts and mood to a more serene place even when you have experienced the most egregiously disappointing day. Dr. Lipsenthal’s book struck me as brave and optimistic, especially because of the author’s struggle with a terminal illness while he wrote this book. In fact, it is because of Dr. Lipsenthal’s courage to focus on gratitude in spite of his serious health challenge and limited days that I admire his commitment and understanding of the power of gratitude. The power of gratitude is one that is worth nurturing in our lives. This requires purposeful action on our part. It requires us to stop and shift our awareness to what is good in our life whether it was a simple gesture from someone that day or whether we realize how grateful we are for the many things we take for granted. The power of gratitude means we intentionally move the magnifying glass from all that is not working in our life, to all that is. Sometimes, we can become caught up in the negative and the incessant worrying. When we do this we become stuck in this loop within our mind where we habitually see only problems, rather than opportunities. Instead of looking for the good, we default to the bad. This naturally leads us to feeling anxious and down. Many times this incessant worry is based on irrational beliefs that rob us of peace. Sometimes these irrational belief systems develop from our past experiences and continue to haunt us in the present. It may help to reflect on thoughts that may seem to bring you down and explore where these beliefs developed and whether they hold any truth today. Incessant worry and irrational beliefs rob us of our valuable time and of internal peace. If you find you are struggling with thoughts that are robbing you of your internal peace, you may find doing some professional therapeutic work in this area helpful. Incorporating a gratitude journal entry as part of your evening ritual helps nurture gratitude and is a fruitful step toward nurturing internal peace. It helps us bring a close to our day with a focus, a magnifying glass focus, on what is good in our life. Sometimes we need help to remember what is good in our life and the power of gratitude will do that for us. Remember to keep breathing, loving yourself, and moving forward with hope and joy!

Dr. Rodriguez