CaregivingFamilies and ChildrenMental Health

The Grateful Get Going

My current job has me working at a clinical fitness center that is connected with a hospital. There are two specific members I have gotten to know pretty well. It is a father and a son.

The father, who would be classified as a senior, is in overall pretty good health. The son on the other hand, is not as lucky. He suffers from a condition that leaves him bound to a wheelchair. You know what the crazy thing is though? Every day of the week, I see these two come in, do their pool exercises, and leave without a single complaint. When they have every reason to complain about the hand they’ve been dealt, they keep going. This, I believe, is a true example of the power of gratitude.

Many of you are familiar with gratitude. Whether we have heard it in church, school, your parents, or a yoga class, gratitude conversations are found in all areas of life. It is hopeful to me that gratefulness is making its way into discussions. But I want to take this grateful conversation a different direction. I want to talk about the result of gratefulness.

When you have a rhythm of being grateful in your life, I believe it leads to action. Using my story from above, these members are grateful to be alive, move (even if in a limited capacity), and have the ability to exercise. In response, I see them nearly every day, getting in the pool like clockwork. This is what I believe gratefulness does. There is no letting life pass by. Out of this gratefulness comes an attitude of seizing the day. We are given another chance each day, each moment to become better, to chase all God has for me, so let’s go get it.

Gratitude vs Habit Formation

Some of you may say argue that it is not gratefulness that keeps you progressing as much as it is the creation of habits and routine. To that, I would say that you are partly correct. I do think habit formation plays a role in consistency, but I also believe gratefulness plays a role too. A habit can keep the mind and body going, but gratefulness can keep the soul going. Gratefulness gets us back to the basics of all that we are. Who we are. Whose we are. Why I am here. When we have that foundation in place, it can keep our soul healthy and going amongst the distractions, disqualifications, and delusions that we get faced with. More on this later.

How do we develop this rhythm of being grateful? Most of us are probably grateful at certain points in our life. Birthdays, holidays, large gatherings, pay day, and vacations would be easy examples. But how can we develop this rhythm on a consistent basis? Remember, if gratefulness can help us stay consistent, we want more of it right?

Awareness is the Key

To be more grateful, we have to become more aware. Not just aware of what is all around us (though that is helpful), but aware of who we are and what we’ve been given. How often do we remember that we are a daughter or son of God? How often do we consider that every breath we take has been nothing short of a gift given to us by our Creator? I know that I struggle to really consider that often enough. It starts with slowing down and giving ourselves space to realize these truths. Start with five minutes each day. Or just start with one minute. When we start to slow down and consider these things more often, I believe we will start taking less for granted and become more grateful. Awareness leads us to gratefulness leads us to productive action.

One other beautiful quality of gratefulness to leave you with is just how contagious it can be. I watch these gym members having this gratefulness about them as they go about each day and I can’t help to start to become grateful too. When you start to live out of a place of gratitude, others notice. What if we started letting gratitude be the thing we passed on to each person we encounter? Maybe your gratefulness can give a little hope to someone who may not see much hope in that moment. Make sure to spread gratefulness by being grateful yourself. Then not only will you put yourself on a path towards action, but others will become active too.

Let gratitude move you today. Let’s see just how it far it can take us!

Noah Nelson,