Gratitude: From Half Empty To Half Full

Posted on in Mindset by Dr. Marie Battaglia

I guarantee that you have heard these terms before: optimist vs. pessimist, glass half-full vs. glass half-empty, seeing the rose vs. seeing the thorns. What does gratitude have to do with these terms?
Where do you think you fall on the spectrum of positive thinking? Do the few who always seem to be positive in every circumstance actually annoy you a little bit?
Like many people, you may find it difficult to always look on the bright side, pick out the possibilities in every situation, or constantly see opportunity where there is challenge. Most of us have a roof over our head, family and friends that care about us, and more than enough food to eat and yet we always focus on what is wrong.
There might be a reason for that.
Our brains are actually hardwired for ingratitude. When we were babies, we did not need to be grateful to survive or thrive – our parents fed us, loved us and provided us with shelter no matter how much we cried and screamed. As a young child, we were taught by our parents to say “thank you” when given a gift or a compliment. This behaviour had to be reinforced over and over again and was often reluctantly and inauthentically expressed. As teenagers, we were often guilty of not being grateful for our parents or our teachers.
Here is the important part: as we get older and bring more awareness to our thoughts, we have the ability to teach our brains to be hardwired for gratitude. By practicing deliberate gratitude we can rewire our brains to start noticing all the good things in our lives and to stop taking things for granted.
What you appreciate begins to appreciate. If you appreciate your good health, your family, your talents, your friends, and your work, your life and your perception will begin to shift.
Try this: Ask yourself… “What am I grateful for?”  Take time this weekend to pull out a crisp white piece of paper and your favourite pen and write down what comes to mind. Start with 10 things and see how many more you can dig deep to uncover.
I bet your first few will be the easy ones: family, friends, your health, your job etc. But I bet you have a lot more to be thankful for than what first comes to mind.
Here are some ideas to get your creative juices flowing:
– two eyes that allow you to see and experience the world in vibrant, colourful 3D
– a healthy heart that pumps automatically, delivering nutrients to your whole body
– living in a war-zone free country
– the cashier you interacted with today
– the server at the last restaurant you went to
– mistakes you have made in the past because they have taught you something important
What you think about and focus on WILL grow. If you are focused on your nagging boss, the extra 5 pounds you need to lose, the nicer car you wish you had, poor cell phone reception, or slow Wi-Fi connections…. you can’t expect to attract positive things into your life.
When the glass is half-empty we focus on what we think we need and will always be searching for the next best thing. When the glass is half-full we focus on what we already have and what we have is able to grow.
Here’s what you can do
Start with a journal. Go to Chapters and buy yourself a colourful or leather journal. Something nice that you will actually want to write in. OR what’s even easier is the Five Minute Journal. Every morning when you wake up, write down 3 things that you are grateful for. At the end of each day, write down 3 good things that happened to you that day. This will refocus the way you see the world, allow you to see possibilities where others see problems and opportunities where others see challenges.
I promise, no matter how good or bad your life looks at this very moment, there are many things and many people you can be thankful for.
I’m Dr. Marie and helping moms and their children is my passion. I support women through conception, pregnancy, and postpartum. I help babies with feeding challenges, torticollis, flat spots, and tongue ties. I help babies and kids optimize their neurodevelopment. Dr. Graham and I are life partners, business partners, and parenting partners to our two daughters, Zoey & Eloise. It definitely keeps life interesting but we wouldn’t have it any other way.