QUESTION OF THE WEEK: In light of Thanksgiving, I hope you will answer my question with regard to gratitude. I’ve heard of “gratitude walls” and “gratitude corners.” What do you think of these? Our family is going through a challenging time.

It’s easy to get caught up in all the negativity and hardship we face, but a gratitude area in the home is an excellent reminder to focus on what is good in your life. It can be as simple as an area with items, images or gifts from others, or words of encouragement and inspiration. A gratitude area can be powerful, helping to change the way you look at your situation.


“I am so stressed out”


In a recent conversation with a client I ran into, I asked how things were going and he let out a big sigh and said he was really stressed out. He shared that he had started a new business, but getting things going was taking more time than he had anticipated; he didn’t have as much financial stability as he wanted; he had just closed on a house, his girlfriend had gotten pregnant unexpectedly, and they wanted to get married before the baby was born. He felt overwhelmed and stressed on all levels.

“This is great news!” I said. He looked at me as if I were crazy. I then said, “You have so much to be thankful for. You are having a child, and you have a new house and a promising new business. It sounds to me as if things are going really well! Last year you told me that this is what you wanted in your life and here you are making it happen!”

Instead of focusing on all the challenging aspects of what was happening, I saw everything that he perceived as stressful, as a blessing, something to be appreciative of. This wasn’t about “positive thinking” as much as it was about helping him recognize that what he was seeing as “stress” and labeling as “bad” was an integral part of achieving what he really wanted.


He had been unable to accept the reality that all challenges have a positive side; so, over the past six months, he made himself miserable by only looking at one side of the challenges. I asked him to voice aloud all the things that were going well in his life, bringing forth a new and present positive focus on the very things he saw as challenging.

Count your blessings

Most people count their blessings when things are going well, but counting your blessings when things become challenging takes courage and can work miracles, whether you are dealing with a broken heart, the end of a marriage or job, facing challenges with your family or having a serious health ailment.

Something to be thankful for can be found in every situation in your life, no matter how you perceive it today. So, no matter what you are going through, keep that gratitude corner fresh and new by updating it with each new challenge so that your focus always is on the positive.


Do you have a question for Alice? If so, send it to alice@ Alice Inoue is the founder and Chief Happiness Officer at Happiness U, a friendly, educational establishment, where you’ll find inspiring classes geared toward personal growth and self-development. Visit