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 How Gratitude for Problems Transforms Them Deborah Barr 2016


During the holiday season we’re reminded of all that we have to be thankful for--our homes, family and friends; good food;  the beauty of nature; and, yes, even all of the material things. My wish is that you and your family have all those things and more to give thanks for this year.

Did you know that studies have documented the physical, psychological and social benefits of gratitude?

Benefits of gratitude

  • Gratitude enhances your health and recovery from illness; it is a springboard to wellness

  • Creates meaning, and brings harmony and happiness to your life

  • Reduces anxiety and depression

  • Keeps your mind focused on positives

  • Turns what you have into enough and more; what you put your attention on expands

  • Strengthens your relationships

  • Makes sense of the past; creates personal growth and peace

  • Makes it easier to forgive

Appreciation for Problems?

It’s easy to express gratitude when things are going well. Can you do so when you feel burdened with health, weight, money, relationship, family and/or work problems?

Everyone experiences problems and challenges. They are a catalyst urging you to change in order that you may experience your life with greater happiness, peace, and well-being. Difficulties have positive meaning and contain many gifts within them. Discovering those gifts will elevate your life and cause remarkable changes that positively transform your problems. It is then that true gratitude is felt for those obstacles that have hindered your health and happiness.

Authentic gratitude is more than an expression of your mind. It is a spiritual quality and is felt deeply in your heart. Simply saying the words has no meaning and does not create magic. Find the deeper truth underneath your issues.

Instead of focusing on what is lacking, your difficulties, challenges, or sickness, shift your attention to what these things are attempting to teach you. It’s always about change which requires taking some new actions.

Finding the personal gift in your struggles will naturally bring you  to a place of gratitude for them.  


Examples of Gratitude for Challenges (real people)

Phil was diagnosed with cancer and consulted with me for a healing diet which he did implement.

After a few months his physician strongly advised surgery based on the results of his medical tests. Phil was very negative toward the physicians, and fearful of the surgery and medical treatments. I reminded him that he agreed to the surgery and going into it with fear and negativity would not bring the best results.

I coached him on focusing on gratitude for medical treatments that would help him; for highly skilled physicians; a state of the art medical facility; and for all of the loving support he had from family and friends. Together he and his family directed focused positive thoughts and energy on all of these things for many weeks.

Imagine my surprise when, the day of the surgery, Phil called  to let me know that the surgery pre-testing showed enough improvement that his physician decided surgery was no longer warranted. He was on his way home. Yes, Phil was grateful he did not need surgery and for all that he learned from his illness.

However, the more significant appreciation was two-fold: first, the realization that any action taken from a negative, fearful mindset will bring undesirable results. Second, he learned to use the power of a focused mind to transform situations in ways he could never have imagined. These are skills he has committed to using for the rest of his life. He also believed, as I do, that eating a regeneration diet helped immensely. So many gifts!


Lois was constantly criticizing and mentally abusing herself for being overweight. One day her cousin, Frank, called her fat. Lois was furious. I reminded her that she frequently called herself names and asked why she wasn’t upset with herself for doing so. Frank was reflecting back to Lois what she needed to change in order to lose weight, be healthy, and at peace. She really got this and was truly grateful for Frank’s cruel words. Why? Because it was the stimulus she needed to treat herself in loving and kind ways mentally. Doing so allowed the weight to come off far easier.


Connie’s money struggles had been a long term pattern. It caused her to look within, and, with some help, realize the root of her financial lack was from her feelings of personal lack; not good enough, not smart enough, not enough is so many ways. Her beliefs about herself manifested in lack of money, close personal relationships; and fulfilling work.  

I helped her shift her mindset to appreciation for her abundant talents and skills; resourcefulness; the richness of her humanity; and the multitude of goodness within her. She genuinely felt this and was thankful for the money issues which were a catalyst for increasing her self-esteem, self-appreciation and confidence. As time went by her good feelings about herself led to new actions that increased her prosperity.


Greta was exhausted, overwhelmed, and unhappy. She did not have the ability to say no to friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers. She believed that she was the only one to solve their problems. So she was taking on more work than she could handle; was constantly taking actions to solve others’ problems; run their errands; cook their meals; and more.

Chronic illness set in and Greta was no longer able to be all things to all people. While flat on her back she noticed that others found solutions and their lives went on without her help. Through self-reflection and inner work she realized that believing she was the only answer for others was a control issue. Also, she kept people small by doing everything for them.

She began to understand that life has a multitude of answers to everyone’s problems. With holistic coaching and a meditative focus, she began a simple practice of directing good thoughts and energy to all people that their needs be met trusting in life. She learned techniques for empowering others to find their own solutions, and continues to deeply connect with her inner wisdom for guidance. She was grateful she had fallen ill. It caused her to shift to a Holistic view of life that helped her make sense of her own and others' challenges. And her health improved with her commitment to take care of her own needs.


Examples of “outside the box” gratitudes

  • I’m grateful I’ve become aware of how my choices have contributed to my problems. 

  • I’m grateful that person criticized me because it made aware of how I criticize myself. (self-criticism always creates problems in your life).

  • I’m grateful for the health issue that led me to eat a health-supportive diet; slow down, live a more balanced life, and explore new paths that I may have previously resisted.

  • I’m grateful that I recognized my mind is often stuck in the past with regret or resentment; or projecting into the future with worry over some imagined problems. (thoughts are self-creating)

  • I'm grateful that difficult people have taught me to set boundaries, and learn to communicate in kind, loving, respectful ways.

  • I'm grateful for the realization that appreciating, loving, and accepting who I am, and my life’s experiences NOW is essential for living a healthy, prosperous life I love.


Ways to Foster Gratitude

  1. End each day by jotting down 3 things you are grateful for. I like to do this in a journal and date the entries. Reading back over them can be very uplifting in times of difficulty.

  2. Write a letter of thanks to yourself for all that you’ve been, and all that you are. Life can be hard and you’ve likely come through some tough challenges. Express appreciation for your perseverance, resourcefulness, ability to take risks and make changes with no guarantee of results. You’ve grown and changed in positive ways. Reflect on this and thank yourself for the efforts you’ve made.

  3. Write letters of gratitude to others. Let them know why you appreciate them. Make this a regular practice.

  4. Stretch yourself and regularly find reasons to appreciate and be grateful for all that you are going through. When you find the gifts within your problems a transformative momentum occurs.

These practices will keep you looking at the positives in your life. They will increase your happiness and improve your health and longevity. Gratitude for Problems is one aspect of co-creating a happy, healthy, abundant life you love.

If you are ready to permanently transform your life and health, Life and Health by Design will help you understand your life's journey; why you have challenges and their positive purpose; and evolve from a life of crisis management to a life that flows in healthy, abundant ways. You'll gain clarity and create a focused plan; discover what you really want and what stops you from getting it; and free yourself from self-doubt and damaging habits and life patterns that have interfered with your greater good.  Learn more here

To learn what a true Holistic approach means and how it can help you, consider Best Practices for a Healthy Mind and Body

You'll learn holistic lifestyle and nutritional practices for creating a focused mind, emotional harmony, and radiant health and vitality at every level. Many health issues will disappear, you'll have less reliance on pharmaceuticals, and look and feel younger. Available as a CD or mp3 download. A great Holiday gift!

Individual Holistic Health and Nutrition Counseling for your personalized plan. I can help you find the Higher Purpose of your challenges and create a plan for transforming them into the healthy, prosperous, fulfilling, abundant life you were meant to live.

Holistic Life Coaching

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 Deborah Barr, 2016.  All rights reserved.


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There are many popular food plans and no lack of internet advice from thousands of people who lack an understanding of food therapeutics and have little or no professional training.  Good marketing sells fads to people who are desperately trying to recover good health and lose weight.  Current scientific findings often contradict previous findings by the same experts.  A perfect diet that will bring everyone good health does not exist and accepting this fact is a good starting point for achieving balanced health.  

Consider some professional guidance for the right nutrition and holistic health plan for you. You can greatly improve every aspect of your physical, mental and emotional health with a customized holistic approach.   Schedule an Introductory Holistic Health and Nutrition session with Deborah Barr, 32-year Holistic Health and Nutrition Counselor. You'll be on your way to better health. Sessions can be done by phone, skype, or at Pittsburgh office.

Questions?  Call 412.361,8600 or send an email to 

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Deborah Barr, 31-year Holistic Health and Nutrition Counselor/Coach, speaker, and author, has helped thousands of clients reverse health and weight issues; achieve emotional harmony, radiant health, passion, peaceful living, work-life balance, and a life they love.  In 1985 she founded Whole Health Resources, the premier Holistic Health Center in Pittsburgh.  WHR’s mission is to promote the healing and development of body, mind and spirit, and to teach an understanding of the relationship between diet, attitudes, lifestyle and wellness. She offers free help through 2 e-newsletters, Holistic Weight Loss, and Whole Health Matters, and free articles.   Subscribe to newsletters

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