Yes, in many ways 2016 has been a thorny year. My politics have been pretty transparent and you know I’m disappointed/anxious about the outcome of the U.S. elections. My country is more divided now, and confused. And many talented and beautiful souls have died this year; a short list to include David Bowie, Prince, Carrie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds, Muhammad Ali, George Michael, Alan Rickman, Leonard Cohen, Gwen Ifill, and Sandy’s dad, Butch.
Every year will have losses and tribulations, so we need to consciously focus on the hopeful, the beneficial, the humorous, and the heartening. Here are three of the many benefits of taking the time to compose a gratitude list:
1. It’s scientifically shown to be good for our health: grateful people report fewer aches and pains, and exercise more than others. Our mental health is positively influenced as well, of course. We can have less anger, depression, and stress, and sleep better, when we concentrate on the good.
2. It improves our self esteem: we feel better when we appreciate the achievements of others without comparing ourselves to them. We don’t have to envy those with “more stuff” if we are focused on appreciating what we have (both the tangibles and the intangibles).
3. Gratitude improves relationships. Simple “thank yous” and other words of appreciation make us closer to those around us. This works like wildfire in marriages and in parent/child relationships. “I am grateful for your help/presence/support” is a glue that keeps families together.
Majoring in the majors, my 2016 gratitude list includes:
Health and energy for Sandy and me, both of us now over 60 (HOW DID THAT HAPPEN?). We still feel like we can handle most challenges, we bike and walk, and still have most of our marbles.
Retirement is wonderful: good books and music, sleeping in, travel, coffee with friends, Netflix, and the easiest wardrobe ever.
Friendships gained through blogging. Those relationships continue to grow and bring joy. Get closer and deeper, my favorite counseling teacher used to say.
What’s on your gratitude list for 2016?
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