could there ever be too much gratitude?

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even though this thanksgiving day does not rightfully belong to me, i’m such a fan of cataloging all that i have to be thankful for, i’m going to borrow it from my southern neighbours for just a little while. around the time of canadian thanksgiving, i was thinking a lot about what i am thankful for, but living it kept me too occupied to write about it. so. i think we all know where this is going.

  • health – i’ve always been a healthy kid and i’ve never overlooked that. my mom deeply ingrained in us healthy attitudes toward foods and they’ve stuck throughout my life. i’m hardy and resist a lot of ailments, very rarely getting down and out with a cold, cough, flu or anything more or less severe. when the occasion strikes, i’m able to recover easily and without incident. our experience and exposure over the last week has served as a great reminder of just what a gift that really is.
  • happiness – this is one thing i am pretty darn good at. as i get older, i get even better. i’ve practiced finding the silver lining enough that it’s become habit now and i rarely dwell on negativity. instead, my first thoughts are the good that comes from every little thing that happens. optimism ~ it’s how my world is structured. even in the most challenging of experiences, i can bounce back with a takeaway or two. let me tell you, it’s much more satisfying that way.
  • love – be it romantic or familial, i am surrounded by it. i have wonderful parents still living in the same house i grew up in. i have amazing friends all over the world. i have a fulfilling and true relationship with a beautiful man. love abounds and i am entirely open to experience it and to give back.
photo found here

what more does a girl need, am i right? it’s the basics. i believe it’s a good practice to check in with gratitude every so often. i started this exercise in the morning today, contemplating all that i have to appreciate in my life. i find that once i start, the list just keeps growing: a job i love, expanding professional opportunities, creative curiousity, the ability to laugh in the face of adversity and on and on. it’s like a snowball, the more it rolls, the bigger it gets. i’m thinking about started a gratitude journal, a way to remind myself of all the things i have to be thankful for on a daily basis. while it was something i came up with on my own, it wasn’t entirely original, i guess. i found it echoed in the reading i did on the neuroscience of gratitude. if you’re interested, i’d suggest you google that. there’s plenty out there. as a sneak peek and from the same link:

In one study on gratitude, conducted by Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D., at the University of California at Davis and his colleague Mike McCullough at the University of Miami, randomly assigned participants were given one of three tasks. Each week, participants kept a short journal. One group briefly described five things they were grateful for that had occurred in the past week, another five recorded daily hassles from the previous week that displeased them, and the neutral group was asked to list five events or circumstances that affected them, but they were not told whether to focus on the positive or on the negative. Ten weeks later, participants in the gratitude group felt better about their lives as a whole and were a full 25 percent happier than the hassled group. They reported fewer health complaints, and exercised an average of 1.5 hours more.

there’s plenty more where that came from. check it out.

so, how do you practice gratitude? do you save it all for this time of year? or do you make a point of being thankful at other times too?

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3 responses »

  1. Counting one’s blessings is such a simple&healthy activity, yet it seems like many of us wade-in-worry too often. Especially as our parents & parental figures are becoming senior citizens, I’ve spent many sleepless hours wracked with anxiety. Instead of counting worries from now on, I’ll start counting the many blessings. More effective than counting sheep too! Thanks for the super reminder to all of us, especially during this harried season 🙂

  2. I def need to make a point of taking time out to be thankful. I mean, of course I am thankful I just maybe dont express it or acknowledge it within myself as often as I probably should. I think we all probably need to take a little time each day to be thankful.

  3. I was thinking about the same thing on Thanksgiving! Too bad it took me two weeks to sync up with you. I truly was thinking about all I was thankful that day, mostly being the family that I have. Although quirky, they are truly unique. I’m working on each of the main things you note above with my top priority on happiness. I have been more sick than usual than I am in a single year, however I think it’s all about getting level and taking things as they come from there.

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