Cancer Tips Life

The Gratitude Game

In a world that’s wild and crazy, there is always something to be grateful for in our lives. You’re alive and reading this, right? That’s a lot to be grateful for today! But some days it might be hard to focus on gratitude when it seems like so much is going wrong. When I need a little pick me up for good attitude and optimism, I play the Gratitude Game. Want to play? Keep reading to learn how!

Focus your energy where you want to go

A beautiful day fills me with gratitude.

I am a big believer that the type of energy and attitude you put into the world is what drives the direction you move. The more you focus on what’s going wrong, complaints, negativity, the more you stay in the cycle of those things.

And to be clear, that doesn’t mean I live in LaLa Land thinking nothing bad or bummer will happen. Hellooooo, I’m a three-time cancer survivor, my dad died and I went through a challenging marriage/divorce…and plenty more. Yeah, I know about the tough side of life. I’ve waded through enough sludge.

But here’s the beauty of humanity – you can be many things! Happy and sad. Courageous and nervous. Optimistic and frustrated. We have the capacity to be so much.

But so many people often don’t choose their full emotional potential or high vibrations. Instead, many choose to only focus on what’s wrong in the day, even life, again and again. Which keeps us locked in that crazy cycle of unhappiness and forgetting to be grateful for what we have.

And, yes, you can look for happiness during challenging times! In fact, I’ve learned that looking for happiness, hope, possibilities and simple pleasures in the midst of life’s challenges bring ease and new perspectives. Who wouldn’t choose ease over challenges? (I hope you’re all raising your hands!)

We can acknowledge the challenges, then move forward, holding onto whatever life preserver we can find. Gratitude can be one of those preservers to keep us afloat.

Because so often in our darkest, most negative moments, when we feel the least gratitude, is when we can most benefit from giving thanks.

Benefits of gratitude

Gratitude helps us express an appreciation for what we have. It can change our mindset from focusing on everything going wrong to looking at what’s going right and what might bring ease to our lives. And with that change in mindset, the weight lifts a little from our shoulders.

When we’re going through something challenging, like cancer, a relationship ending or this pandemic, it can sometimes be difficult to think of ourselves as lucky. But practicing gratitude can help bring positive outcomes to our lives. Studies show people who regularly express gratitude experience better sleep, improved emotions, less materialistic, greater satisfaction with life and more.

Finding gratitude in the every day moments

As a three-time cancer survivor, I feel gratitude every day. From the day of my bone cancer diagnosis almost 25 years ago, I recognized how special each day is. However, I really began a practice of staying focused on and acknowledging the gratitude in my life when I cleared breast cancer a few years ago. That diagnosis stunned and shattered me. Some days it took every ounce of strength to get out of bed, not feel sorry for myself and move forward.

But then one day as I lay in bed staring out the window, I placed my hand over my heart and felt the beating of my strong heart. And that heartbeat stirred something inside of me. I was so very grateful of my strong heart, my strong body, that survived and thrived after so much.

As I got out of bed, stretching on my own two legs, I was grateful that I had my own legs as a bone cancer survivor. Even with a titanium rod in place of my femur and knee, I have accomplished so much physically.

When I looked in the mirror, I saw hair, despite the toxic chemo that should have made me bald like I was during bone cancer treatment. I was so grateful for cold capping to save most of my hair.

From then on, every night I place my hand over my heart, pausing to feel the beats and give thanks for my strong body. Then I close my eyes and play the Gratitude Game: I focus on at least three things that I’m grateful for in that day (some days the list goes on and on). And in the days that I thought so much went wrong or wasn’t that great….there are always moments of gratitude. In time, the gratitude is so much easier to see and also be throughout the day. [Learn how “Today I choose” became my daily mantra and check out my store to see how I took that mantra into motivation for others!]

How do you play the Gratitude Game?

Very easily.

One fun way is to get a piece of paper, journal or whatever to write on. Number 1-10 on the page. Then fill it in throughout the day (or in one sitting) with whatever you are grateful for in that moment or day.

Another way to play the Gratitude Game: when you finish reading this, close your eyes, take a few deep breaths to clear your mind and then focus on what or who you’re grateful for in that moment. Think of why you’re grateful and how your gratitude makes you feel. Spend a few moments in that positive vibration of gratitude. Then open your eyes and hold onto that appreciation throughout the day.

I play the Gratitude Game as often as I need to during the day. When I’m feeling blah or a bit heavy with emotions, I play the Gratitude Game to shift my focus and perk me up. When I’m having a happy, high vibe day, I love writing down what I’m grateful for in that day. It’s a great reminder that gratitude comes in many forms and helps us stay focused on the good in our lives.

Need more motivation?

Subscribe to my blog and you’ll get free access to my Happiness Toolkit, which includes more tips and prompts to choose happiness, gratitude and more.

Want some more tips to spread gratitude? Check out this blog post.

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