Gratitude is big these days.
Oprah’s crazy about it.
Scientific studies are being done about it.
Everywhere you turn, someone is extolling the virtues of having a gratitude practice – including me!
But there’s an alternative practice to gratitude, one that no one ever talks about.
It’s a practice many of us do without even thinking about it, a practice that stands in direct opposition to everything a gratitude practice can deliver.
The practice I’m talking about?
Many of us practice grumbletudes all day.
We don’t think we’re practicing anything. We think we’re simply noticing what is.
But we’re always at choice.
Do we want to go the Gratitude route? Or the Grumbletude one?
Gratitude can feel like a stretch at first, especially if we’re seriously committed to Grumbletudes.
One habit I adapted a few years ago was to pair Gratitudes with a regular chore. In my case, it’s taking out the garbage.
As I’m taking a bag of garbage to the big trash can, I list things I’m grateful for. I do this either in my head, or out loud, depending on who’s around.
It only takes a minute or two to take out the garbage, so it’s a short little practice. But it never fails to lift my spirits.
And since garbage-taking-out is an unending task, so is my gratitude practice.
Melissa and I also have a regular gratitude practice every night. Both of these habits help me to shift from Grumbletude to Gratitude.
Years ago, a friend of mine took up running. He did it because he was going through a tough divorce and it helped him feel better.
One day, about a year after he started running, he was walking down a city sidewalk.
As he was walking, he saw a kid snatch the purse of a woman who was at the end of the block.
Because my friend was in such good running shape, he took off after the thief.
And guess what – he caught him!
Because my friend was in such good shape from running, he was able to use his conditioning in a wider context.
Gratitude practice is like that.
As we build up those Gratitude muscles, we’re ready for the Grumbletude thieves that try to steal our Happy.
Yes, sometimes those thieves are other people, but more often they’re our own thoughts.
Just like my friend and the purse snatcher, you never know when Grumbletudes might sneak up on you.
That’s why it’s great to practice Gratitude regularly. Consistently. Joyfully.
Then you can chase down those Grumbleton thieves.
How do you chase away the Grumbletudes? Share your comments below!
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