Ditch the Stress; Choose Gratitude

by Alli Polin on September 20, 2013

Gratitude is the path to positivity

Like you, I have a lot going on between work, family and personal commitments.  I’ve let myself go deep in the frustration and aggression that the stress so easily brings out in me.   I even started to believe the stress-filled Alli, and the gremlin on my shoulder, that there are no long-term pathways out of the stress to make the leap into positivity.  In honor of World Gratitude Day on September 21st I decided to carve out five minutes to focus on gratitude and something shocking happened.

In just over five minutes of filling my heart and mind with gratitude, my day turned upside down.  The same things I was dreading doing were easier, less pressure and more of a gift to myself and others than a chore.  I brought joy to my tasks because I let myself be open to joy.

A pathway to make the leap to positivity is gratitude. (Click to Tweet)

Are you ready to ditch the stress and lead with optimism, positivity and greater personal fulfillment?  I can’t tell you that gratitude is the answer to everything but the first step is to find five minutes, a blank page and bring an open mind and heart.

Here’s my list.  I am grateful for:

  1. My husband that puts up with me
  2. My children that are incredibly loving
  3. Having an adventure overseas
  4. Blue skies almost daily
  5. Living in Australia
  6. Children that love school and life
  7. Family holidays
  8. My parents are coming to visit
  9. My sister just had a baby
  10. My brother is getting married to an awesome woman
  11. My brother has two sweet and sassy kids
  12. Artwork from my kids covers my walls
  13. We realize things are just things and can share them with others that need them
  14. Awesome clients
  15. I’ve met the coolest, smartest people on Social Media
  16. My accountability partner cares about my success and not only their own
  17. Turkish delight
  18. Amazing books that take me somewhere new
  19. Smiles and giggles frequently fill my home
  20. Sunday Markets to hang out and relax
  21. A walking buddy that shines from the inside out
  22. Technology that keeps me connected to people
  23. FaceTime for bringing me not only to my sister’s wedding but also now my brother’s
  24. The snake man who is super responsive and trusts that if I saw a snake, there is one to catch
  25. The APO
  26. Hazelnut coffee that is like starting my day sipping delicious joy in liquid form
  27. More places than Starbucks to get a skinny flat white
  28. Reward charts that motivate and recognize hard work
  29. Pre-school cuddles with my kids even when I wish I was still sleeping
  30. Living in a place filled with diversity
  31. Living somewhere that many people smile
  32. Having the money to donate to causes that matter
  33. www.donorschoose.org
  34. A home that’s filled with people who love each other
  35. iPad learning games that don’t seem like learning games
  36. My health and the health of my family
  37. Fresh challah out of the oven most Fridays
  38. I get to choose the work that I do and make a difference to others
  39. When my family asks what gifts we want for our birthday/holidays I struggle to find an answer because we have everything we need

Make the Leap Action: Spend five minutes with gratitude.  Don’t just think about it.  Write it down.  If you’re up for it, SHARE it.  Gratitude grows when we share our hearts, joy, and what we’re thankful for with others too.

I shared my list.  Will you share yours?

For coaching, consulting or speaking Let’s Connect!

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Dave Bratcher September 20, 2013 at 6:14 am

What a list. We need to do this early and often. I am going to spend some time this morning making my list. One of the interesting things about your list, is almost all of them involve an investment of time. I recently wrote about how to find more time and giving at http://www.davebratcher.com/2013/07/24/need-more-time-try-this/. Thanks for this challenge on a wonderful Friday, Alli!

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Alli Polin September 20, 2013 at 6:41 am

Thanks, Dave! Look forward to hearing how it goes for you too. I was surprised that once I got going, the gratitude was flowing.

Time is really interesting in the context of gratitude. When I have a positive, giving, grateful attitude, time feels well invested and meaningful.

Appreciate your comment!

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Patricia aka BoomerWiz September 20, 2013 at 8:17 am

That’s a very good list, many of which I can copy to my own. Thanks for the reminder to focus on what’s important.

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Alli Polin September 20, 2013 at 8:32 am

Thanks for taking the time to read, comment and share on Twitter too! Hope you’ll take the time to write your own – it was a great shift in my day and an ongoing touch point for me moving forward the next time I dive into the stress.

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Linda Davidson September 20, 2013 at 3:24 pm

I celebrate gratitude everyday! I enjoyed reading your list. I love how you ended the post, “Gratitude grows when we share our hearts, joys and what we are thankful for with others.” I agree which is why I started the blog sharing thanks!
Hope you will visit and share something your grateful for!

http://www.sharingthanks.blogspot.com

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Alli Polin September 21, 2013 at 12:51 am

What a beautiful site, Linda! Amazing that when we look for it, every event, big or small, gives us something (or a lot!) to be thankful for every day. Thanks for sharing.

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Terri Klass September 20, 2013 at 4:24 pm

Your beautiful list, Alli put me into a weekend mindset which I am greatly in need of! I am grateful for so many things including connecting and meeting you!

Do you really bake challah on Fridays? I have, but just for holidays.

Have a wonderful rest of your weekend!

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Alli Polin September 20, 2013 at 8:59 pm

I do make challah by hand most Fridays. You can’t buy it where I live. Eventually I’ll consider a bread machine but there is something really satisfying about doing it by hand (even if it takes forever!)

You have no idea how much I loved lunch with you, Terri. Confirmed what I already could tell – you are special and I’m lucky we’ve connected!

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LaRae Quy September 20, 2013 at 11:39 pm

LOVE your list, Alli! And thank you so much for reminding me of the importance of gratitude.

I especially love the way you use the word “adventure” to describe you sojourn in Australia…what a magnificent attitude!

Here’s to a life of adventure… 🙂

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Alli Polin September 21, 2013 at 2:38 am

I’m with you, Sister! Here’s to a life of adventure with a hefty does of gratitude for all the fun.

Thanks, LaRae!

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Steve Houghton-Burnett September 21, 2013 at 7:42 am

Great post Alli – As you know I’m using World Gratitude day 2013 to collect 1,000,000 gratitudes by World Gratitude Day 2014!

If people would like to help me to promote gratitude (and get a free gift from me in return) then they can give me a gratitude at http://theformulaguy.com/personal-growth/a-million-gratitudes

Love and Hugs
Steve H-B

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Alli Polin September 21, 2013 at 7:44 am

Hope you are blown away and get TWO million – there is a lot to be grateful for if we stop and really look at what’s good in our lives.

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Alice Chan September 21, 2013 at 9:26 pm

Alli, great post and idea. Before the amount of free time in my life substantially shrunk, I often wrote gratitude lists in my journal, especially in the morning, and when I needed to shift my focus back to positivity. The other day, when I was driving to work and feeling the pressure of the week, I consciously shifted my thinking to what’s pleasant and what I could appreciate. It really does work! I don’t always remember to do this, but whenever I do, it lifts the burden in my heart. Thanks again for this great reminder!

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Alli Polin September 23, 2013 at 9:24 pm

Alice, Thank you for sharing that if you don’t have the time to journal and make gratitude a ritual in your life, it still clears the space for positive thought and action in our hearts and minds just by shifting our thoughts. Grateful for you!

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Karin Hurt September 23, 2013 at 6:22 pm

What a beautiful list I did not know about gratitude day. That’s also my son’s birthday. He was so grateful for being 8 and all that would mean for him. It was a joy to experience.

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Alli Polin September 23, 2013 at 9:23 pm

Gratitude day was new to me too! My son turns 8 just a few days after yours. Amazing joy and love to celebrate!

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Sienna Jae Fein September 24, 2013 at 6:51 am

Alli – This is such an inspiring post! Some years ago, writer and lecturer Dennis Prager asked the question, What is the one thing you need to be happy and without which you are guaranteed to be unhappy? His answer is — gratitude. I try to think about the value and comfort of gratitude whenever sadness or frustration sneak up on me. And when I encounter a perpetually unhappy person I can usually say, yup – no sign of gratitude here. It may seem like an oversimplification, but it’s as true a formula as you can find.

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Alli Polin September 24, 2013 at 8:00 am

That’s a beautiful riddle, Sienna! It’s true, when I’m most down, most frustrated when I look for things that I’m grateful for… there is a shift in my way of being. The sad thing is that perpetually unhappy have things that they can be grateful for too but instead of opening their eyes, hearts and mind to the good stuff they thrive off of the negative energy that they’re swimming in. Not for me!

Sincerely appreciate your sharing here! Absolutely adds depth to this post and discussion.

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