I love the phrase, An Attitude of Gratitude. What exactly is an attitude of gratitude? In basic terms, gratitude is thankfulness. We usually remember to give thanks when we feel great. However, living in a state of gratitude is much like living in a state of awareness, it is a way of being. Gratitude may be an activity, but you will live a much fuller life and lead others more effectively, if it becomes your natural state and not just an occasional activity.I’m not just talking kittens, rainbows, and rose-colored glasses. It is smart for you to practice gratitude; think of it as a best practice. Several studies conducted by Dr. Robert Emmons and Dr. Michael McCollough1, extol the benefits of a grateful mind and heart. One of the studies concluded that regular daily practice of gratitude increased happiness by 25%. Emmons also found in a separate study that patients with debilitating health conditions slept better and were optimistic about their life when they focused on gratitude. These studies reflect the fact that grateful people report higher levels of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, optimism, energy, health, wellness, and love.In addition to the health benefits of gratitude, it is also an abundance magnet. The power of attraction applies; abundance creates more abundance. The challenge with abundance thinking is in the scarcity cycle many of us have found ourselves to be. Let’s face it, we have been taught scarcity since childhood.Scarcity thinking is focusing on lacking such things as finances, health, relationships, opportunities, and so on. The very important fact of this matter is remembering that on whatever we focus our thoughts and attention, it becomes our intention, and the universe conspires to manifest that energy into reality; you become what you think about, stated Earl Nightingale. It does not matter if you are thinking scarcity or abundance; it will become your reality.Sometimes scarcity thinking shows up in the form of accumulation and greed. I have to get, get, get, and keep, keep, keep. People who hoard, are deeply immersed in this mental model. Fear of letting go and fear of surrender, block love, abundance, and joy from flowing. If we hold on to something, anything, too tightly, our hands cannot be open to what may be coming. We focus on doing instead of being, on getting instead of giving, and on differences instead of commonalities.Sometimes we fear a perception of vulnerability attached to gratitude giving. We fear that if we are free-flowing with our appreciation to someone that we may be taken advantage of or give too much and not get anything in return. The downside of this scarcity mental model is by withholding the flow of gratitude, appreciation, and love, that is exactly what he person will receive more of – a withholding of gratitude, appreciation, and love.See how this works?What does practicing gratitude mean to you?With love and gratitude,Maria 1 Emmons, R. A. & McCullough, M. E. (2003). Counting blessings versus burdens: An experimental investigation of gratitude and subjective well-being in daily life. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84(2), 377-389.