Volume 5
The Power of Thankfulness:
How to be Thankful in Difficult Times

As we experience challenging times, it may feel like a tough time to be thankful. Yet practicing thankfulness is one of the most powerful ways of thinking to bring about a change in our circumstances. This Gentle Reminder offers guidance on how to turn thoughts of fear, worry and hopelessness to thoughts of thankfulness.

To see my newest offering How to Access the Power of Thankfulness, a companion guide to my book, where I provide a practical, step-by-step approach to make thankfulness a process click on the image below.



We often find ourselves struggling with thoughts of fear, worry, helplessness, self-doubt, blame, anger, frustration, anxiety, depression, overwhelm, despair, and hopelessness. It probably comes as no surprise to hear me say that when these kinds of thoughts are ruling our world, we are not in a powerful state. You have no doubt noticed that these thoughts do not bring you peace or inspire you. You may have also noticed the negative effects of these thoughts on your health and vitality. These thoughts do absolutely nothing to move you in a direction that serves your purpose. In fact, they make matters worse.

Thankfulness, on the other hand, is one of the quickest and most powerful ways to create a change in our circumstances and move us in a direction that serves our purpose. Being thankful raises individuals and organizations to a new level of consciousness. It gives us access to our highest awareness and our ability to see the myriad of possibilities, discover what we truly want, and create and realize a vision for the future.

Living in the Back of Our Brains

If you have read my book Managing Thought: Think Differently. Think Powerfully. Achieve New Levels of Success. or attended a Managing Thought workshop, you may remember that our brains perceive danger when anything happens that is different from what we expect, believe, or experienced in the past. In fact, the front of our brains are hard-wired to shut down and the back of our brains are hard-wired to present us with only three thoughts—fight, flight, or freeze.

While these three thoughts are useful in times of physical danger, they are not so useful otherwise. It may surprise you to learn that thoughts of fear, worry, helplessness, self-doubt, blame, anger, frustration, anxiety, depression, overwhelm, despair, and hopelessness are all fight, flight or freeze thoughts. So the first occurrence of these thoughts is actually a good thing because they serve as a signaling—Hey! Something is different! Pay attention! It’s not a good thing, however, when we succumb to these thoughts and allow them to rule our world.

Without self-awareness most of stay rooted in the back of our brain. When the front of the brain is deactivated, it is not possible for us to access our highest awareness and see possibilities, establish a vision, prioritize, or receive creative ideas on what to do next.

In my experience, most of us are in fight, flight or freeze all day long, even in the good times. In these difficult times, these negative and self-defeating thoughts are magnified and we are keenly aware of the pain they are causing.

Powerful Thoughts

What we think is a matter of choice. It is up to us to reactivate the front of the brain. It is up to us to choose the thoughts that move us in a direction that serves our purpose.

I call thoughts that move us in a direction that serve our purpose powerful thoughts. Powerful thoughts are thoughts that bring us peace and inspire us. Thoughts of thankfulness, vision, purpose, and possibility are powerful thoughts.

How to Practice Thinking Thoughts of Thankfulness

Here are some steps you can take to practice thinking thoughts of thankfulness and being thankful.

  1. List everything you are thankful for.

    If you are an individual, list everything you are thankful for with respect to you—your life, your career, your family, your relationships, your body and its functionality, your strengths and skills, your personality, your home.

    At work, list everything you are thankful for with your customers, suppliers, investors, employees, the industry and specific customers, suppliers, investors and employees.

    Be sure to include what you are thankful for with respect to what you may be most unhappy about. This is significant because if we hold contempt or hate for anything we wish to change, we block our ability to change it. When we are thankful and appreciative of what we do have, we open ourselves to transcend difficulties, discover what we truly want, and achieve it.

  2. At the end of each day, work backward and think of everything you are thankful for from that day.

    Our spirits are lifted when we are appreciative of even the smallest thing —someone’s smile, a funny joke, the giggle of our children, an idea we had, a helpful co-worker, the food that we didn’t have to forage for, the sunshine, the internet, our eyeglasses, opposable thumbs!

    Be thankful for each experience you are having. You could take note of what you are thankful for throughout the day—before or after a conversation, a telephone call, a meeting or a new task. You may even want to keep a thankfulness journal.

  3. Practice noticing that your brain is in fight, flight, or freeze and choosing a powerful thankfulness thought.

    Try naming your thoughts to separate you from your brain. For example, “There go my worry thoughts”, “my scared out of my mind thoughts,” or “my sad sack thoughts”… or say to your brain, “Thanks for sharing, I am taking it from here.”

    Then take a deep breath. Focus on the exhale (focusing on the inhale actually contributes to stress!) Exhale as much as you can and, in that moment, ask yourself, “What can I be thankful for in this moment?” Or “How can I express my appreciation to this person in this moment?”

See What Happens

When we are focused on being thankful, something amazing happens. Our brains are now able to perceive even more that makes us thankful. It is similar to focusing on our strengths, except focusing on our strengths is an intellectual process. As we practice being thankful, we invoke a power within. We experience a dramatic improvement in our spirit, our relationships, our creativity, and in our lives. Notice the physical and mental transformation that occurs. You find yourself smiling. Your spine straightens. Your muscles relax. Your creative juices begin to flow and you get ideas on how to turn your situation around and move in a direction that inspires you.

It’s true that things can happen that hit us like a bolt of lightening and rock our world. And it’s true that we experience the rain and grief of the loss of what once was. However, that rain, and the light we bring in during these difficult times, causes the seeds we have planted to germinate. Thankfulness shines the light that helps us gather the seeds we want to plant and rediscover the seeds we have already planted. And thankfulness infuses the spirit to release the big beautiful fruit-bearing tree that lies within.

I invite you to choose and practice just one of these suggestions, experience the power of thankfulness and visit my blog at www.maryjlore.com to share your story.

To see my newest offering How to Access the Power of Thankfulness, a companion guide to my book, where I provide a practical, step-by-step approach to make thankfulness a process click here.

May your thoughts bring you peace and inspire you.

MANAGING THOUGHT