Can you believe it? It is November! The leaves have changed, and the weather has cooled down. It is the season we all look forward to in Arizona—fall and another year is ending. It is the time to reflect and feel grateful for all the things in our life. Big or small, there is something that everyone can be thankful for in their life if they choose to see it. But there are no two people, no two lives that are exactly the same. We are all unique and have our own paths to walk. Now, how we choose to walk those paths is the true challenge. Everyone is different from where we live to how we live, from wealth to poverty, discriminating against to being discriminated against. We all have different things to be grateful for—if you think about it, you can find something. I challenge you to name one thing you are grateful for when you wake up every day this month.
Being grateful, hopeful, and optimistic can change how you see and cope with everything.
You may not always have a comfortable life and you will not always be able to solve all of the world’s problems at once, but don’t ever underestimate the importance you can have because history has shown us that courage can be contagious and hope can take on a life of its own.
— Michelle Obama
Gratefulness is feeling appreciation for what we have—when we are not taking our blessings for granted. To experience the benefits of gratitude, we must practice gratefulness in our everyday lives because it does not come naturally for everyone. When you feel grateful, you can show it without words or actions. And it goes beyond feeling thankful, even if being thankful is the first step that grows with time into a lasting feeling of gratefulness. Often, being grateful for what we have is the fuel that pushes people to go the “extra mile” even when no one is asking this of us. It is something you simply do willingly.
Hope is more than a feeling or a dream, it’s not a prayer. Hope is when you are willing to put your all into your desire and your heart into an outcome that will better your life. Hope doesn’t directly reflect what we think the outcome will be, but reflects what we want the outcome to be, when you put your heart into what you do, you will see all the negativity and hopelessness will disappear.
Optimism is your mindset seeing everything in a positive way with a higher expectation that things will go well most of the time. Optimism partnered with hope can be immensely powerful by projecting a positive motivational impact on your mindset, long-term.
Try changing your mindset to have more hope, gratefulness, and optimism in your life. But don’t do it just for you, do it for your family. Work towards not being isolated, closed off and negative, because that can be so toxic for you and the people around you. Focus on being a positive example for your family. If they were to see you behaving in a negative or closed-off way, they would think that is how they are supposed to behave when they should not. It is so important to set a good example of an optimistic and hopeful mindset for them. Just think if your children chose to be isolated, closed off and negative; they could miss all the beautiful, good things happening around them. Having that kind of mindset could make it where they could miss things in life, by allowing those opportunities to pass them by and that would be a tragedy. Being optimistic will help fuel their passions in their daily activities so they can live a full life. Learn and share the importance of being around more optimistic and hopeful people. It is just human nature to think like the people and sources we spend the most time with. Taking the negative and toxic people out of your life is tremendously important for yourself and your family’s healthy survival. The importance of having a good, strong, optimistic, and hopeful support system around you will feed your gratefulness mindset.
Having hope and optimism puts you in control of your attitude, mindset, and then over all your life, which will fuel how grateful you feel on a regular basis. You can choose to isolate yourself, think negatively about the world and society, but life will pass you by. Life is short, no one is promised tomorrow, so you may want to choose to accept what is in your control and that’s… YOU. Only you can control yourself, your attitude, your views, and your mindset. Believe that you are here for a purpose, focus on your dreams, and hope for a brighter future. Then go out and make it happen. Remember,
When the world says, “give up,” HOPE whispers, “try one more time”.
— Author Unknown
Article provided by Alva Tovar, Coordinator of Community Programs for the WOW Coalition; a prevention association in Buckeye, that promotes safe and healthy choices and responds to problems caused by alcohol, marijuana, and Rx abuse by implementing strategies to prevent and reduce youth substance use.