Gratitude: A New Year Requires a New Perspective

"When you begin to see life from the perspective of your soul then even in the midst of the worst of it you can see the gift." --Neale Donald Walsch

Yes, like many others, I am taking inventory at the end of the year.

How was your year? What are some of your highlights? What are some of the struggles? What are some of the issues you are still dealing with?

While the end of a calendar year is a great device -- that so many of us are using -- it's important to realize that we can be introspective year-round; we do not need to wait for the end -- or beginning -- or a year.

If you are not feeling any joy or any gratitude for your current situation, it may only require a change in perspective to reevaluate your circumstances and find gratitude for your life -- and the people and things in it.


During a higher dosage LSD journey (300 mcg) a few months ago, the one word that kept being repeated throughout the experience was perspective.

  • We don't like what we see, we change our perspective.

  • We don't like the situation we find ourselves in, we change our perspective.

  • We don't like the people around us, we change our perspective.

  • We don't like living in fear or anger, we change our perspective.

Our perspective is everything. Perspective is a particular attitude toward -- or way of regarding -- something. It's how we see and judge things -- and people.

But the key with perspective is there are infinite ways to view something -- and often when we pull back from the whatever situation we find ourselves, we see things quite differently. We have the ability to shift our focus, adjust our perspective, see things differently.

For example, you get in a fender-bender with your new car and all you can think about is how your new car is now ugly and how much it is going to cost to repair. That's a limited perspective. Pull back a bit. You own your own car; many people cannot afford a car. It's a new car; many people can only afford used vehicles. You had just stopped and bought groceries for your family; how many people are going without food? You are heading home; many people are homeless, with no shelter -- let alone a hot meal. Looking back with renewed perspective and that fender-bender is pretty minor, right?


One of the biggest lessons I have learned in my life is that gratitude is an essential part of my self-care practice -- and something I try to accomplish multiple times throughout my day.

Gratitude does not need to be this big thing. For example, I just got done walking around the floor on which my office is located, looking out all the windows and admiring the views of the mountains, trees, lake, and sky. I stopped for perhaps a minute, saying a little prayer of thanks, before moving on back to my desk. Some would call it a mindfulness moment; I call it a gratitude moment. (Even others would call it an integration moment.)

Gratitude helps us connect to something larger than ourselves as individuals -- whether to other people, nature, the Universe, or the Divine. In fact, in a sermon just this week, the pastor of my church discussed the importance of gratitude as a spiritual practice.

Gratitude does NOT mean we have to be all sunny and rosy and singing all day; gratitude is simply a state of being thankful. In fact, gratitude is derived from the Latin word gratia, meaning gratefulness or thankfulness.

Research has demonstrated the neurological value people experience from a practice of expressing thanks for our lives, even in times of challenge and change. In fact, it's during those more challenging times when a change in perspective can help us find that gratitude -- that appreciation.

Outcomes from Practicing Gratitude

Some of the good that comes to us through practicing gratitude:

  • Enhanced mental wellbeing

  • Change in perspective/outlook

  • Deeper relationships

  • Increased happiness/sense of joy

  • Better mental health/peace of mind

  • Improved mood/optimism

  • Stronger coping mechanisms

Final Thoughts on Perspective and Gratitude

If you are feeling you do not have much to be grateful for, then it's time to zoom out of your situation and change your perspective. So many of us can easily fall into the trap of seeing only the negative in life that we miss appreciating all the good we do have.

When we zoom out of whatever we're mired in, we suddenly can see the situation is not as bad or dire as we originally thought. We see there are people dying from a blizzard, or living in a state of war, or communities living with no safe water supply (or electricity) -- and we realize many of our own problems are fairly minor.

We can also change our perspective -- from just on ourselves to the people around us -- and offer our love, aid, assistance to the people in our community.

For me personally, as a Christian, I know gratitude (and prayer) bring me closer to God -- and that result multiples my gratitude and deepens my connection with the Divine.

Finally, in the words of one of my most favorite people, my mom, "always search for that silver lining; there's good when you look for it."

Additional Gratitude and Perspective Resources

Dr. Randall Hansen is an advocate, educator, mentor, ethicist, and thought-leader... helping the world heal from past trauma. He is founder and CEO of, a network of empowering and transformative Websites, including

He is the author of the groundbreaking Triumph Over Trauma: Psychedelic Medicines are Helping People Heal Their Trauma, Change Their Lives, and Grow Their Spirituality and the well-received HEAL! Wholeistic Practices to Help Clear Your Trauma, Heal Yourself, and Live Your Best Life.

Dr. Hansen's focus and advocacy center around true healing ... healing that results in being able to live an authentic life filled with peace, joy, love. Learn more by visiting his personal Website, You can also check out Dr. Randall Hansen on LinkedIn.