This year began as one of Florida’s coldest in my recent memories. We had snow – and our heater died. Also, many of my close friends and family members became seriously ill with pneumonia and the flu. My adult sons started fighting like two adders – and of course, the year began on a Monday. I thought that would certainly help me adjust to my new goals. Generally, I do better with implementing new things on Mondays, but I haven’t even begun following through yet. If you are having a good day, I don’t mean to “blah” all over it. I am grateful for the good things in my life, but it’s days like this that makes seeing all of my blessings is sometimes difficult.
One of my goals is to be more thankful for what I have. It’s not that I am unappreciative by the many positive things in my life. I am, but when Thanksgiving rolls around, I don’t want to give instinctive answers when someone asks about the things that make me feel grateful.
You know what I mean? We all say “I am thankful for my kids, my family, my spouse.” It’s almost reflex to recite that. I am not saying those are not important, but it’s what everyone says. In fact, those responses are so typical that they almost sound trite when they honestly are not. My goal is to be able to name three non-expected things for which I am deeply grateful.
I have a friend that epitomizes what it’s like to grateful. She lost her husband just a little over a year ago. She watched him struggle with cancer for years before. Every morning, before he passed away, she would update her Facebook status to say how happy she was to have another day on planet Earth with her beloved husband. Then, she lost him. We went to his funeral and grieved his loss with the family. Then, she did the most inspirational thing I’ve seen someone do: she resumed her daily Facebook updates, starting with how blessed she was to have another day. The strength she showed inspired me.
A life lived with gratitude is a life that compounds joy – Katherine Furman
Is being grateful good for your health?
To that end, I began journaling. I picked up a copy of the “Gratitude Journal for Women.” It looks like my friend may have been on to something. The author, Katherine Furman, mentions a study by Emmons and McCullough in which participants kept a daily journal reflecting on the positive events of their daily lives. Others were asked to just write about their day focusing on the struggles and worries. At the end of the study, the psychologist pair noted that the gratitude participants experienced many benefits including better sleep, increased optimism, and a healthier outlook on daily life. That same study also found that the grateful participants were more likely to report feeling healthier and having more energy. As a result, they also exercised more frequently. Imagine that! When you feel more positive, you feel like taking care of yourself!
The Gratitude Journal for Women offers thought-provoking prompts encouraging positive thinking. I especially enjoy the inspirational quotes by influential women from many arenas. Beautifully illustrated lined pages give you space to record your reflections and observations. Yes, I could accomplish the same task by typing everything out. However, I want to try this old school because there writing things out causes me to slow down. I have to think with more precision because erasing is more difficult than a backspace. Also, I can sit by my favorite window, watching nature, sipping a steaming cup of coffee, while wrapped in my favorite blanket – a hand-crocheted gift from my mother-in-law. Oh! And my favorite cat-themed gel pens – just for fun! It’s easier to surround myself with the reminders of the things for which I am grateful.
I do like to focus on the positive!
Your Turn to Express Gratitude
You can write daily, weekly, or just whenever the mood strikes and it shouldn’t take too much of your day. I am busy, but I think I can spare 5 minutes a day in exchange for a brighter outlook on life.
So, let’s get this party started! In the comments below, list your greatest strength and why you are grateful for it. One! Two! Three! Go!
We enjoy hosting parties and my husband and I are both avid gamers. You can find me on PS4 as SunshineFlaGirl. We also play tabletop RPGs and eurogames.