When you arise in the morning, give thanks for the morning light, for your life and strength. Give thanks for your food, and the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies with yourself. ~Tecumseh
A fellow bariatric post-op shared an interesting thought at a support group meeting. She spoke about a positive change she is experiencing after bariatric surgery. She began embracing an attitude of gratitude. It was obvious that it was a transformation moment for her. I needed to explore the subject more.
An attitude of gratitude comes out of the mindfulness mindset prevalent in Eastern religions. It is the state of awareness of your personal thoughts and feelings without judging the good or bad in them. It is about living for the moment and enjoying the experiences life presents. An attitude of gratitude is expressing a positive appreciation and giving thanks for what you have right now.
My fellow post-op shared the following story. She had wanted a special seasonal treat, a pumpkin spice muffin. Knowing that the sugar in the muffin would cause her to dump, she was forced to choose between denying herself pleasure or suffering the consequences of the sugar. Using her attitude of gratitude philosophy, she opted to cut the muffin in half and be grateful for the joy it brought.
Bariatric patients tend to dwell on what they cannot eat or what they cannot do as the result of their surgery. By living life with an attitude of gratitude, the focus changes to what they can do and why they are thankful. As my fellow support group member put it, “She was grateful for the taste and enjoyment the muffin brought her because of the attitude of gratitude.” It did not matter that it was only half a muffin.
A positive altitude goes a long way. Life is a series of experiences. Often an obstacle is thrown in our path. Moving forward requires us to cross over that obstacle. By using an attitude of gratitude, our minds do not dwell on the obstacle, how it got there, and how it is limiting us. Instead, we look to the opportunities we have right now and how we can move forward.
Many practitioners of the attitude of gratitude maintain a journal. The belief is that their day starts positively by identifying something they are grateful for. I cannot see myself committing to a daily regime of journaling. I see it as a doable exercise when I am very grateful for something I am experiencing. It might also be helpful when I am facing a negative time in my life. It most likely will manifest itself in a Facebook post.
Another technique I found while researching this topic is the creation of an attitude of gratitude list. The best way to turn around negative thoughts is to sit down and list the things you are grateful for. It is surprising how many positive things we overlook in our daily lives.
I share my fellow bariatric post-op’s belief that success after weight loss surgery is better if we embrace a positive attitude to life. It is a life altering surgery that offers great potential. That potential needs to be unleashed and nourished to grow. We each have that potential. What are you thankful for today?
Right now I am grateful for my health that allows me to live and experience the life I want.