Gratitude

Focusing attention on what we are grateful for in our lives has come up in conversation with two different friends in the past week. All three of us agreed that directing our attention away from what’s missing (what the head sees best) to what is present (what the heart sees best) increases happiness and tolerance. For example: Yes, it really sucks that you have a detached retina (my daughter a few years back) but we are very fortunate that there is a surgeon that specializes in retinal repair right here in our town and my insurance will cover the $22,000 surgery. Or, yes, I know it’s annoying that your brother hums off-key all the time, but see how happy he is?
We do a daily gratitude checklist at my house when we sit down for dinner together. We say grace. A rambling, multi-voiced, what do we appreciate about THIS day grace. It might sound something like this: Mom-Thank you God for my amazing, talented, creative, argumentative children, thank you for the food and the job that paid for the food, Son -thank you for no cat puke in my room, Daughter-thank you that the freshman didn’t mess up during marching practice, Son (freshman)-thank you that the upper classmen didn’t mess up during marching practice. Amen.

One of my friends does something similar with her family at dinner. They go around the table and each person reveals what was the most interesting part of the day and what was the most concerning part of the day. It started out as the best and worst part of the day, but that was too simple.

During some of the darker times of my life, I actually wrote out a list of 10 things everyday. Somedays it was really hard to think of 10 things. The list might have looked like this:
1) I’m glad I have a job.
2) I love my four children.
3) I’m glad they are not babies anymore.
4) I’m really glad I have hot and cold running water.
5) There were brownies in the break room and I didn’t have to buy a lunch.
6) I got 8 hours of sleep last night
7) The sun shone most of the day
8) The cats didn’t puke in the house (reoccurring theme)
9) I like my job most days
10) Did I mention that I love my kids?

Thankfully, my lists are a little more rich and abundant these days.

OK, now it’s your turn.

I’d love to see them. Put them in comments.

(The first time you make a comment, it won’t show up till I approve you as a poster. After that, the comments will post immediately. Prevents spam.)

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6 responses to “Gratitude

  1. While I am thankful for so many things. I am thankful for long-time friends (trying not to use the term ‘old’).

    TY

  2. Oh, sweetie! I also, am grateful for long-time friends (even the ones that are getting old) Though, that does not include you I am sure….. 🙂

    And you, especially! I might not have made it through freshman Chemistry w/o your help. And all those people I have helped as a nurse….well, I would be working at TGIFs, slinging margaritas and steaks……Ack!

  3. My “mental list” yesterday (I have yet to formally note things) was:
    1) I was able to spend calm, peaceful, quality time with a patient family.
    2) My stepdaughters were at our home for the evening
    3)That the above; had NO after shool activities (I should make that #1)
    4)That my weary, overworked husband was able to spend at home with all of us
    5)That my work load mysteriously lightened somewhat mid-day and I was able to finish after only 10hr rather than the anticipated 12
    6)For the delicious meal my weary, overworked husband prepared for all of us
    7)That I was able to leave a meeting early (I despise meetings – as a rule)
    8)That I found enough change in my wallet that I was able to enjoy a coffee on the way home (I AM trying to cut back!)
    9)That my home felt especially warm and cozy when I arrived
    10)The sound of silence in my household after everyone was asleep – and I had time to meditate on my day

  4. Ooooo! #8…only for me, it wasn’t change….’cause I would have to count that towards the food stamp challenge….it was Christmas gift cards, with just a dab of money left each, but added together…….. ENOUGH for a coffee.

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