It seemed appropriate, as we wrap up the month that houses Thanksgiving, to explore the idea of gratitude. My own holiday had the grace of easy airline travels and many bittersweet moments connecting with family.
‘Count your blessings’. This phrase is used as an invitation for each of us to contemplate all that we have going well, and all of the areas in which we are blessed, instead of focusing on the not so sunny things in our life today. It’s interesting to me because it is used in either the context when things are going really well or when things aren’t going well at all. The idea is to take note of things as they are right now. As things, both the good and the bad will shift again so make the most of any situation.
Keeping track of gratitude. Dr. Robert Emmons, UC Davis, and others in the field of psychology have found that gratitude lists and journals are actually good for our health. They reported that by writing a three-item gratitude list just once a week for three months, subjects reported feeling up to 35% healthier in mind and body. Folks in this study reported that they were more optimistic, more energetic and had fewer illnesses. These are things that I personally have great interest in. It seems like an almost too good to be true scenario, but really what do we have to lose here? So I’ve got my notebook and pen on the ready.
Here goes. For today, I am grateful for……………………
- My wonderful story-telling friends that keep me writing and creating and connected to what is truly universal.
- My clients who make me search deep within to bring out the best work that I can do.
Gratitude, it is said, is the memory of the heart. Related studies have found other benefits as well, and the one that I wish for all of us, is better resilience during tough times. I know that during these times, if I remember how I saw things as a child, with wonder and awe, not fear and dread, I didn’t really notice the bumps in the road. They were just life. So during our most difficult times and darkest hours, it is essential that we look at things that make us smile. It’s not to say don’t feel the bitter, but remember to always find the sweet.
So what are YOU grateful for?
“We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude.” – Cynthia Ozickhow