“I’m utterly convinced that the key to lifelong success is the regular exercise of a single emotional muscle: gratitude.” – Geoffrey James, Inc.

Gratitude. It’s popular around this time of year. It has also become part of pop-psychology. Thousands of books and speakers are touting an attitude of gratitude as the best way to approach life and gain success. And this trendiness might be annoying if the message were not true. Gratitude is literally what can keep us going in the right direction and help us maintain positive attitudes, even under extreme circumstances.

Some of the most vivid examples of gratitude as a life-saving tool are document by World War II holocaust survivors. Concentration camp survivors recount the horrors of torture and worse but describe incidents of gratitude that saw them through. One survivor says it was a strawberry, not something to be eaten, but something to be gazed upon. The red color, in contrast to the bleak gray and black of everyday life, contradicted overwhelming death and destruction. For another, it was a piece of blanket her baby could suck. For another, it was a bite of stale bread. The act of being grateful reminded each that hope was not out of the question.

When we look at incidents like the holocaust, we can either get depressed or think of what we have to be grateful for. Little things become more important, and seemingly catastrophic events are put into perspective. In our businesses, this is crucial, as we often face ups and downs in our professional lives.

James says, “People who approach life with a sense of gratitude are constantly aware of what’s wonderful in their life. Because they enjoy the fruits of their successes, they seek out more success. And when things don’t go as planned, people who are grateful can put failure into perspective.”

In Forbes, Erika Anderson says, “I would add that people who are grateful not only seek out more successes, they draw successes into their lives.” Anderson believes the positive effects of gratitude spill over to colleagues and customers.

Author, speaker and business mentor Brian Tracy says, “We should be grateful for all of the wonderful things that we have in life. We should show our appreciation to the people that deserve it most. When we are thankful to others, and express a wonderful attitude to those around us, we can change the lives of others as well as our own.”

“The more you practice feeling grateful, the more you will come from a place of gratitude,” holistic healer and CEO of The Healthy Zone, Linda Dullicai, says. “Negative emotions fade. Gratitude, forgiveness and love flourish.”

So ask yourself. Is an attitude of gratitude something you want to adopt? What are you grateful for? Write it down. Fuel and nurture the emotion. Share it with the world and see how fast you prosper, not just in business, but in life.

Author and CEO of All Things Writing, Katherine Gotthardt writes for Sterling Women Manassas and other organizations. Sterling Women Manassas is a local network of professionals committed to encouraging, supporting, inspiring and strengthening one another. Through events and monthly meetings, Sterling Women Manassas showcases and celebrates exceptional women in the Prince William Area.