It’s impossible to overemphasize the value of a calm, confident, positive attitude when pursuing consensus or any important dialogue. Several years ago, I adopted a spiritual practice of expressing gratitude at the beginning of each day and found that it was just the attitude boost I wanted. I like to look out a window at the green space of my yard while doing this. The practice both calms and energizes me for the day ahead.

No matter how bad things may seem, we can always find something to feel grateful for. In my case, I often include the plants that are pumping oxygen into the air. If looking out my front window, I am reminded to include thanks for good neighbors. If it’s sunny, you can give thanks for a bright, cheery day. If it’s raining, be glad the plants are being nurtured and the reservoirs filled. Are you ill? You can feel grateful for your medicine, for your bed, or for the fact that others you love are in good health.

Who do you thank? It really doesn’t matter. Some people like to thank God. Others, the universe. Still others may express thanks to the friends, neighbors and family they are grateful for, even though those people aren’t present. I don’t really address my thanks to anyone or anything. I just mentally say, “Thanks for the mail arriving early today,” or whatever else I’m grateful for.

The important thing is to feel the gratitude, and when you express it, you begin to feel it. Keep expressing it, either aloud or in your head, until you feel it growing inside you. Till you feel lucky, like life is good. You will find that life is good, or at least better, and so is your attitude. You feel more calm and confident, ready to do whatever you plan to do that day.

No need to limit yourself to the early morning. You can get in the habit of mentally saying, “Thanks,” whenever you notice something you appreciate. You’ll find it especially helpful to practice gratitude before preparing for, or engaging in, a consensus-seeking conversation.

I began this practice after reading The Secret by Rhonda Byrne. After publishing my own book, Bridges to Consensus, I got busier. Every day, I woke up so eager to hit the computer and start sending out notices about the book or work on my weekly blog, that I fell off the gratitude wagon.  I thought it didn’t matter because my excitement in my work seemed an adequate substitute.

But this morning I was feeling a little low and decided to get back into practice. I had forgotten how much gratitude improved my spirits and attitude until I climbed back onto that wagon. To help myself stay there, I will try to remember to post something I’m grateful for on Facebook every day (except Tech Sabbath).

I invite you to join me in this gratitude practice and see for yourselves how your communications, and your life in general, improve. . The results will make you grateful for gratitude!

And please know that I am grateful for you, my blog reader