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Count your blessings

Teaching the “Practice of Gratitude

When I was growing up, my beloved grandmother Adele repeatedly would tell me to appreciate my parents – no matter what they did – and to count my blessings. Adele was ahead of the curve, as she was teaching me the “practice of gratitude,” which we now know may have a positive impact on our mood.

Dr. Karen Reivitch, Co-Director of the Penn Resiliency Project, Positive Psychology Center, University of Pennsylvania, calls this “an example of science catching up to grandma,” and maintains that “hunting for the good” and focusing on what you receive from others may increase the quality of your physical and emotional health.

Even on a bad day, Reivitch advises we look for the positive and find “the silver lining in every cloud,” a phrase that can be traced back to a poem written by John Milton in 1634.

I encounter this “silver lining” on a frequent basis – clients who seek my guidance in finding a new job having been asked to leave or told things are not going well. Each and every time, I hear my clients say that their new position is “such a better fit” and that they “never would have found the energy to change jobs” had they not been told it was time to go.

Often, it takes time to realize what good has come out of a difficult and unwelcome situation since the pain and discomfort may be overwhelming.

And that is okay. There is no rushing gratitude – it is a personal process that unfolds on its own.

In the meantime, consider focusing on what you receive from others, as a way to increase emotional and physical health. And I will continue to count my blessings for all of you with whom I can share life’s lessons and do the work I love.

Wishing you gratitude,

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