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The ABCs of Gratitude

September 16, 20234 min read

The ABCs of Gratitude

I’ve always been curious to learn and explore new and different ways of doing things. In kindergarten and first grade, I was eager to learn my ABCs. At that time, I had no idea that those 26 little alphabets would introduce me to a whole new world. But what I did know was that when my teachers opened those little hardback books, they brought “Jack and Jill” to life in a way that made me even more curious; made me want to be able to read like they read. I soaked it all up and I’ve been reading and exploring ever since.

In high school I loved writing research papers, and it was the technique that our librarian used that attracted me most. She taught us to use 3” X 5” index cards for note-taking on any topic we chose to write about. That research technique stuck with me, so when I later decided to revisit my dream to write, I bought index cards, researched topics that interested me, put my notes on index cards, and placed them in boxes labeled by subject. I didn't know precisely how I would use the information but my passion to learn made the process as easy as learning my ABCs.

Several years ago, I decided I wanted to learn what it meant to live grateful, so I bought cards and boxes and began reaching the topic of Gratitude. A couple of years ago, I added a box titled the “ABCs of Gratitude” and added a tab for each alphabet. Each time I came across a gratitude topic that caught my attention, I would take notes, file the card behind the appropriate alphabet, and put the box on the shelf. However, as my monkey mind tends to do, I jumped into something else and forgot about the ABC box.

Gratitude has taught me that the universe serves us whatever we need to live our dreams, but only when we are ready. So a few days ago, after finishing up my journaling, I read Phyllis Cole-Dai’s “Daily Boost” which just happened to be titled “The ABCs of the Creative Life.”  I didn't even finish reading her post before my monkey mind leaped to my “ABC’s of Gratitude” cards. I thanked Phyllis, got out of bed, did a happy dance, and went to my office to find that box of cards.

I was ready. This time I knew what to do with them; I would use them to write a book on the ABC’s of Gratitude so this week I'm grateful to share with you a snippet of what that book will look like. I'm forever grateful to my teachers, my monkey mind, the company that makes index cards and boxes, and of course I could add others That's the way Gratitude works; the more grateful you are, the more you have to be grateful for, including the persons who developed the alphabets!

A: Attitude and Gratitude

Gratitude is more than a polite "thank you." It is a powerful emotion that can transform our mindset and our lives. It changes our attitude, the way we see, think and feel about ourselves, others, and the world around us.

You can expose ten people to the same situation and end up with ten different responses to what they experienced based on their attitude. Even though I'm an optimistic person, I haven't always had a good attitude about life. During my teen years, I heard the words "you need to change your attitude" from my mother, teachers, and other authority figures more times than I can count. My attitude got me kicked out of high school a few times during my senior year. My attitude sent me looking for love in the wrong places, and cost me more than my share of headaches and heartbreaks. But 25 years ago, when I started my first gratitude list, one day at a time it gradually changed me on the inside. Like a caterpillar that morphs into a butterfly, it changed my attitude.

An Attitude of Gratitude has a way of:

·         Boosting resilience in the face of adversity

·         Reducing stress and negativity

·         Shifting our focus from what is lacking in our lives to what we already have

·         Enhancing happiness

·         Strengthening relationships

·         Encouraging personal growth and self-improvement

·         Introducing us to ourselves


How do you adopt an Attitude of Gratitude? Start small:

·         Grab a notebook or journal and list 10 things you’re grateful for each day

·         Express appreciation to one person  who has made a difference in your life

·         Reflect on one positive aspect of each day

·         Volunteer to help a person in need

When you adopt an “Attitude of Gratitude,” life changes for the better, regardless of the circumstances. I love Australian Psychologist and holocaust survivor, Victor E. Frankl’s take on attitude: “Everything can be taken from a man or a woman but one thing: the last human freedoms to chose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

Want to learn more about living grateful? Stay tuned to see what the alphabet "B" has to offer to grateful living n my next Blog.

 I’d love to hear what you are doing to adopt an “Attitude of Gratitude.” Email me at Learn more about the small change toolkit at

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Myrtle Russell

Myrtle Russell, the small change Wellness Coach.

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