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Shift into Gratitude 17 Tools for Our Times

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It takes no great leap of the imagination to say that we are living in tough times. As a priest, professor, and psychologist, I see struggling parishioners, students, and clients who, even a year ago, would not have imagined that they would be where they are today. Many are unemployed and are facing the prospect of continued unemployment for some time to come. Others are struggling with the impact of an economic downturn that places too much stress on an already strained family budget. Still others are dealing with the end of life, the end of a relationship, disruptions in the neighborhood or community, or other forms of what can only be described as the difficulties of life. Ironically, the holidays tend to be particularly tough on people. Yet when I ask for hard-earned wisdom to help others, everyone perks up with gifts to share.Perhaps not surprisingly, the most common “tool for tough times” is a personal version of the phrase, “I count my blessings” or “I shift into gratitude.” The great spiritual traditions all teach the value of gratitude. Of all the contributions I received concerning gratitude, …

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