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Baby Boomers Worry: Is It Possible to Keep an Attitude of Gratitude Amidst Hurricanes, Bank Failures, Foreclosures, Rising Unemployment, Lying Politicians and a Plunging Dow?

September 19, 2008 by  
Filed under Anne Holmes, Blog, Spirit & Faith

Keep and Attitude of Gratitude

As you experience the media these days you are no doubt overwhelmed with stories of doom, gloom, horror and despair.

As one normally upbeat and independent Boomer woman recently observed, chain-smoking nervously: I’m worried. All I have to my name is my home, my retirement fund and social security. If things keep going the way they are, I’ll have to take in a roommate, or marry my boyfriend, just to survive.”

With comments like these being expressed daily, it’s no wonder the Pew Research Center reported that America’s Baby Boomers “are in a collective funk.”

The Pew Report Went on to Note That Boomers See Trouble Ahead and Less Progress Over Time…

Specifically their June 28th report said:

Not only do boomers give their overall quality of life a lower rating than adults in other generations, they also are more likely to worry that their incomes won’t keep up with inflation — this despite the fact that boomers enjoy the highest incomes of any age group.

More so than those in other generations, boomers believe it is harder to get ahead now than it was 10 years ago. And they are less apt than others to say their standard of living exceeds the one their parents had when their parents were the age they are now.

Sadly, that report was written before more recent calamitous events, which doubtless have only added to Boomer’s collective angst.

But Is An [[[2]]] Still Realistic, or Even Possible?

The answer, thankfully, is “Emphatically YES!”

  • As evidence, just witness this blog post from Scott W., a gay artist and recovering alcoholic from Texas, who is living through Hurricane Ike with an Attitude of Gratitude.
    • Read his thoughts, and you see proof that you don’t have to be a self help guru, like Deepak Chopra, Joe Vitale, or Jack Canfield to realize the grace that comes from living with an attitude of abundance and positivity. And that gratitude is still possible in today’s world.
    • As Scott W. quotes from Pocket Sponsor:
    • Whatever vexes you currently, imagine for a moment what could make it worse. What can make it worse than that? Again. Imagine it, feel it, and come back to now. If you can make it worse, then you can make it better. Remember this: you are not helpless before your feelings.
  • Alternately, take a look at this post on the power of having an attitude of gratitude during illness. Here, blogger Kimberly Fabrizio reminds us of the value of keeping a gratitude journal (more on that below), where you can keep track of the little things you’re thankful for, even if you’re fighting a life altering illness like multiple sclerosis, as she is. Kimberly reminds you:
    • “When I talk about ‘gratitude’ here, I’m referencing thankfulness for the little things– those times in the day where you just stop and think, ‘Hmmmm… I’m living a great life.’ Sometimes we actually have to watch closely to catch those moments. Other times, those moments are highly noticeable; they jump right out at us.”

Both authors offer you wisdom and hope from their own dark times. Wise words to hold close to your heart.

Here’s More Proof You Can Enjoy An Attitude of Gratitude During These Most Challenging Times of Your Life…

If you want to discover more hopeful stories about people who have triumphed despite overwhelming challenges; you want to read  John Castagnini‘s book (there’s a website, too) Attitude of Gratitude. It’s a series of hopeful stories shared by people who have learned to celebrate their gratefulness for the most painful things which have happened to them, including death of a loved one, cancer, rape, and financial ruin. Can you imagine actually being grateful for any of these?

This is a book that transforms the human experience! In it, you have the opportunity to meet ordinary people and find out how they not only overcame life’s greatest challenges, they lived to become thankful for them. If you’re down and troubled by the world today:

  • If your home has been destroyed by flood, hurricane or tornado, this book shows you there is hope.
  • If you’ve lost your job or your life savings, there is hope.
  • If your heart has been broken and seems impossible to mend, there is hope.
  • If darkness seems to surround you, there is hope.
  • If no one seems to understand you or your pain, there is hope.

The stories in this book are truly amazing. Death, dysfunction and divorce abound and yet the authors – people just like you – triumphed. Not only did they transcend these tragedies, but they actually learned from them and wouldn’t change a thing. They found a greater self waiting on the other side of pain. You can too.

Grab this book now.

Sit down and read any of the one stories in it. You’ll instantly discover why some have called “Thank God I” the most significant contribution to the Spirit of Humanity in centuries. Most importantly, discover how you can be a part of it via the website! A brighter, loving, more inspired life in gratitude awaits you.

Where Were You When You First Learned About the Importance of Having An Attitude of Gratitude? Do You Remember?

I was Probably About Two Years Old When I Was First Exposed, Though As You’ll See, That First Lesson was Somewhat Lost on Me!

As I recall, it went like this:

I’d been visiting my grandmother in Madison, Wisconsin for a couple of weeks, and she’d become exasperated with my toddler behavior, though I don’t recall the specific details.

What I do remember is that she sat me up on her kitchen counter, my tiny two year old legs dangling, stared me down, and advised me that I was going to have to stay there until I’d thought about what a lucky girl I really was, and provided her with three things I was grateful for…

Well, never having heard the term, nor even being aware of the concepts of “luck” or “luckiness,” I was totally stumped. It looked like an endless day was looming ahead of me as I’d be stuck sitting up there on the counter, instead of outside playing in my sandbox

Thankfully Grandma took pity on me, and, good Christian woman that she was, tried to teach me the importance of being thankful for what we have. In the end, she even provided me with my ticket off the counter, suggesting three things for which she felt I ought to be appreciative:

  • “It’s a beautiful day.”
  • “The sun is shining.”
  • “I’m at grandma’s house.”

Anxious to Gain My Freedom From the Countertop, I Agreed These were “Good Things,” Dutifully Repeated the Mantra – And Regained Solid Ground!

Then Disaster Struck My Carefree Life: My Mother Had Been Alerted to My Newly Acquired Lesson:

Just a few of weeks later, back home in Michigan, and equally frustrated with my “terrible twos” behavior, my mother brought up the “gratitude” topic once again.

Things Went a Bit Differently This Time:

  • Mom unceremoniously stuffed my butt in a chair and pushed it into a corner, facing the wall.
  • She told me I had to stay there
  • Again I was stuck until I came up with – you got it – those darn three things I was grateful for.

WooHoo!

I was confident. This was gonna be a cinch! Freedom from the punishment chair would soon be mine… all I had to do was remember what Grandma taught me!

So I dug back into the depths of my unschooled memory for the magic words, and carefully and triumphantly repeated them to her, word for word, exactly as I had been trained:

  • Slowly and tentatively I advised my mother of my first reason for having gratitude: “It’s a beautiful day.”
  • Then, gaining more confidence: “The sun is shining.”
  • Finally, success almost at hand, and taking a deep sigh of relief, the last one came out all in a rush: “And-I’m-at-grandma’s-house.”

How Proud I was! Success was Mine! I Had Pulled That Magic Formula from the Deepest Recesses of My Brain!!

So I was Completely Puzzled When the Look on My Mother’s Face Turned from Parental Pleasure to Confusion – And Then Convulsed into Laughter.

  • What was wrong?
  • I’d had been a “good girl”
  • I done what she’d asked
  • Darn it! I’d supplied the magic words. I’d told her what I was grateful for!

Thankfully, These Days, I’m Much More Aware of the Concept of Gratitude. And Why I am Grateful.

But I have to admit that a full half century later, whenever I hear anyone comment, “It’s a beautiful day, look how beautifully the sun is shining,” my mind automatically fills in the third part of the mystic triad: “And I’m at Grandma’s house.”

Then I laugh inside, and thank my mother and grandmother for their early efforts at teaching me the importance of maintaining an attitude of gratitude!

Do You Have an Attitude of Gratitude? How Do YOU Prefer to Express It?

If you haven’t been practicing an attitude of gratitude, take a note from my grandmother, and start by looking for the little things that you’re grateful for, as your day progresses. Then the big things will fall into place by themselves

  • Make a habit of looking for the positive angle in everything that happens to you. View obstacles as opportunities for you to appreciate.
  • Make mental notes throughout the day of the opportunities for gratitude which you discover. Notice how feeling gratitude actually shifts your mindset to the positive.
  • Focus on the wonderful things in life to attract similar encounters in the course of the day.
  • Use positive energy as a magnet to draw even more positive energy.

You’ll Want to Help Yourself Celebrate and Remember These Moments By Writing Them Down in Your Gratitude Journal.

A gratitude journal is a fantastic way to consciously call attention to the things for which you’re thankful, on a daily basis.
By focusing on gratitude, you become aware of these things, you shift your thinking to the positive and you gain a whole new outlook on life.
You can keep the gratitude journal in just about any format. Most people write theirs down on paper or online, but there’s no reason you can’t keep an audio or video journal. Here are a couple of easy ways to keep a gratitude journal:
  • The Gratitude Tracker is a free downloadable tool that resides on your computer. It’s easy to use, and a gift to the online world from Terrie Wurzbacher of Getting Unstuck, LLC. She believes it is the only Gratitude Journal with its own integrated sticky note program. The cool part about this tool is that whatever you write on your sticky note is automatically transferred to your journal. This means you can quickly upload thoughts of gratitude as they come to you, as long as you are online. Once installed, the sticky note pops up every time you open your browser, reminding you to practice an attitude of gratitude on a daily basis.
  • ButterBeeHappy is a free happiness journaling website launched early this year and dedicated to “pollinating populations with Happiness.” Developed based on Harvard research, it promises users that they will be happier by simply jotting down five happy thoughts a day.ButterBeeHappy.com doesn’t claim to fix all problems, but our users do claim to feel happier after keeping a journal of gratitude and happy thoughts,” says John Brooks Pounders, 22, a student at the University of Alabama and founder of ButterBeeHappy.com.The internet doesn’t have that many truly happy places for people to go to. I am trying to change this, five happy thoughts at a time.”
  • Create Your Own Journal: Start with a blank notebook or journal which you keep by your bed along with your writing tool of preference, so that it’s easy for you to write in it nightly. Why use this instead of the online tools or a pretty book with five lines a day? Well, as you get going with journaling, you’ll find that the five daily items you are grateful for become, seven, ten – even 20. Gratitude journaling is so transformational that once you get into the habit you find that you become grateful for everything! Which means you need more space to write – an actual blank book journal or notebook.  Look for:
    • spiral-bound notebook that opens flat for ease in writing works well, as does a three ring binder.
    • Lined or unlined paper, of any size or color, according to your preference.
    • Space to personalize your gratitude journal with drawings, clippings, photos, quotes or verses you find in magazines, like you might do with a vision board

How Do You Begin Writing Your Gratitude Journal?

It’s best to keep it simple, so you actually make a habit of doing it. Try this:

  • Write down five things you’re grateful for just before you climb into bed.
  • To get your thoughts rolling, review your day and include anything – however small or great – that you realize was a source of gratitude for you that day.
  • These sources might be as simple as the memory of an inviting aroma that came from a bakery you walked past, the colors of the sunset, a kind word or smile from a stranger, even a song you heard on the radio.
  • Make sure your list is personal.
  • Write just a few words about each of the five benefits or blessings.
  • You may be brief at first, but feel free to increase the length of your posts as time progresses.

Remember, If You Can’t Think of Anything Positive to Write, Here’s Help:

Begin by reading John Castagnini’s inspirational book “Thank God I…,” or if you’re in a hurry to get your grateful thoughts down on paper, just start by writing down my original mantra:

  • “It’s a beautiful day.”
  • “The sun is shining.”
  • I’m at grandma’s house.”

After you stop chuckling about “grandma’s house,” you’re sure to come up with many things you’re personally grateful for!

Try it and see!

Comments

9 Responses to “Baby Boomers Worry: Is It Possible to Keep an Attitude of Gratitude Amidst Hurricanes, Bank Failures, Foreclosures, Rising Unemployment, Lying Politicians and a Plunging Dow?”

  1. ursula on November 3rd, 2008 9:42 pm

    Awesome blog! Very through. You covered the mental, spiritual, financial aspect of these days and times
    It is truly a challenge to stapy optimistic in this day and age. Everyday I remind myself that I am grateful for all that I have. Many people have lost their homes and jobs. I pray that everyone has food in their stomach. a roof over their head and the ability to make a living.

  2. Chris Thompson@Terrible Twos on November 11th, 2008 9:36 am

    I think you’ve hit the nail on the head here. Being grateful make you happier, which in turn makes you healthier and brings up the spirits of those around you.

    I teach my kids to be grateful for things every day. And I’m grateful to HAVE my kids and wonderful wife.

    Regarding the journal idea, can you imagine how much pleasure you’ll get by reading it 5 years later?

  3. Yankees World Series Jerseys on March 18th, 2009 7:20 am

    Thank you, I really need to know this especially at this age. Hopefully I will be able to keep myself fit

  4. Jobseeker@Unemployment and Jobs on March 24th, 2009 2:13 am

    The growing unemployment crisis has given unscrupulous business managers the opportunity to reward their cronies and to unjustly terminate competent employees those they perceive as future threat to their own positions. Countless employees are carrying the hurt of unjust terminations, making it hard for them to keep an good disposition and outlook. It may help them to remember the words of Michael Corleone in Godfather III:

    “No. Never hate your enemies. It affects your judgment.”

  5. Pat@Baby Pushchairs on March 30th, 2009 4:35 am

    Thank you for putting such an inspiring blog. People tend not to look within themselves. They blame everything external of them; their wives, their husbands, their children, their parents, the economy, the government (the list goes on) which are mostly things that are beyond ones control. What can be changed and controlled are within, not without. The world will be a much better place if everyone is able to adopt this simple attitude of gratification. Thanks again!

  6. cheap car hire lyon airport on May 5th, 2009 5:09 am

    In these sad times, this is something that everybody should read and learn from. you have analyzed all possible sources of worry and impact on attitudes, It is avery nice post. Well done.

  7. Baby Pushchairs on May 19th, 2009 3:43 am

    What a good attitude it is to always maintain your gratitude! – It’s such a powerful concept for people to grasp, yet sadly there are relatively few nowadays who embrace these sentiments- especially in younger generations.
    The post resonated with me, thanks 🙂

  8. Baby Pushchairs on July 19th, 2009 2:34 pm

    This is truly and inspiring blog. If one keeps an attirude of gratitude, it will be the greatest stress buster. Everyone one knows that stress is the number one cause of chronic diseases like diabetes and hypertension. It is a great tip to count ones blessings and lead a happy contented life.

  9. William Brannan on August 28th, 2010 3:33 pm

    I couldn’t agree more, having by the grace of God just come out of a very difficult time econmically, yet mainting a life of victory because of His grace I find your exhortations to be very timely.