The habit of gratitude

I try to write down three things for which I'm grateful each morning when I wake up. Even on the most difficult days, I've found that if I keep searching for the good, good is there to be found.

It's something a friend suggested I try doing and I've now been doing it for a few years and it's pretty great.

Like any habit, the more you seek to be positive and find the good in all things, the easier it becomes. Day after day your ability to be grateful and happy with what you have and your present situation will become like a second nature.

Did somebody cut you off on the way to work? At least they didn't sideswipe your car. Did your project get shot down by your company executives? You still have the ability to learn from the rejection and you have the capability to build a new project. Day after day, the habit will grow strong until you instantly respond to difficulty with some level of positivity and gratitude.

I once read a story about U.S. President James Madison that he suffered from some different sicknesses in his old age and that a friend of his made some vegetable pills of his "homemade remedy" that was the surefire cure-all.

Upon enquiring if the pills helped the President, he received a graciously written letter from Mr. Madison in which he said something to the extent of “My dear friend, I thank you very much for the box of pills. I have taken them all; and while I cannot say I am better since taking them, it is quite possible that I might have been worse if I had not taken them.”

James Madison appears to have been a man who exercised this habit of gratitude and found the positive in an otherwise bleak situation.

Next time you face a difficult or uncomfortable situation, try to find something in it for which you can be grateful? You’ll become a more effective problem solver and you’ll be happier as well.