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Shannon Says: Grumbly Hateful or Humbly Grateful?

By Dr. Shanon Terrell Gordon

Photo by Leah Yetter


Life has parallel tracks. Simultaneously, there can be circumstances that prompt joy and circumstances that trigger pain. 


Indeed, parts of every person’s life can be so hard – relationship challenges, sickness, loss, loneliness, financial pressure. 


Sometimes, to our peril, we can focus on the struggle, the illness or what is lost. We may tend to talk about it to anyone who will listen – over and over again. Complaining can be easy and can seem to bring temporary relief from the pain.


However, we know that feelings and actions follow thoughts and words. Negative thoughts prompt feelings like anxiety, fear, sadness, anger, depression or apathy that make our inner climate grayer and bring clouds to our external life. Research shows that challenging thoughts, feelings and speech contribute to more conflict with people, higher blood pressure, gastrointestinal issues, arthritis and other health conditions.


These facts beg the question: When we face the challenges of life, what can we do to help make it through? Choose gratitude. And gratitude is an intentional choice. 


“That’s easy for you to say. You don’t know my life!” you might say. You’re right. But, you are drawing breath. Your heart is still beating. You are experiencing this day of life. Choose gratitude. 


Even in heartbreak, the pain means you cared deeply, that your life was enlarged by the experience. Choose gratitude.


In financial struggle, choose gratitude for what you do have. Consider this perspective: More than half of the world’s population worries about access to clean water each day. A person with an annual income of $32,400 is among the top 1 percent of the world’s wealthy! 


In challenging times, be intentional about looking for blessings – a friend’s contact, a beautiful sunrise, a cool breeze, hard-won wisdom. It has been said that the more grateful we are, the more beauty we see. The more we look for blessings, the more we find them!


Choosing gratitude encourages positive relationships. Choosing gratitude promotes overall health, self-care and fewer aches and pains. Choosing gratitude increases happiness and lifts depression. 


A well-known proverb says, “As a woman thinks in her heart, so is she!” Choose gratitude for a more beautiful heart, a more beautiful life. You are worth it.


Dr. Shannon Terrell Gordon leads Macon’s River Edge Behavioral Health and River Edge Foundation. Shannon is a researcher, author, speaker and teacher to help each person live his or her best life and to help leaders make the most meaningful impact possible. Find more from her on social media with #drshannonsays.


Have a question for Dr. Shannon? Want to suggest topics for her to explore? Contact her at

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