Monday, December 29, 2014

And For That I Am -- Grateful?

It’s that time of year again. You know what time I mean, when we’re deluged with TV news shows that review the events of the past twelve months.

What if that news show was about your year? Would you be able to watch it? If you did, would you sum it up as good or bad?  Maybe it was a quiet year or maybe you had a joyous one. But perhaps you had more than your share of troubles, losses, pain or sorrow. Could you ever feel grateful for them?

I firmly believe that showing gratitude makes us healthier in body, mind, and spirit, because it’s gotten me through some very rough waters, but I’ve never included my hardships on that list. Yet recently I read an article that suggested just that. My first reaction was,  “And how do I express gratitude for losing a loved one?” My second reaction was, “Stop being a martyr. It’s not the loss, it’s that you had that loved one in your life.”  (I give myself these lectures all the time.)

What the author was actually saying was that you can -- indeed should -- express gratitude for the strength and resilience that got you through those times. You should express gratitude for the support of your family and/or friends, even the helpfulness of acquaintances. Look at the challenges you had over the past year and be proud of yourself for facing them.  We don’t have to like the things that come our way but we can find the pearls in those oysters and give thanks for them.

My best remedy to stop feeling sorry for myself is to start listing out loud everything I can think of at that moment to be grateful for, even if it’s just a big ol’ goose flying by my window as I write. Usually one thing leads to another – eyes to see the bird – and another – a warm home with a great view – and another until I feel a whole lot happier than when I started.

So maybe this year, instead of making your New Year’s Resolution list, make a New Year’s Gratitude List.  Those resolutions never last more than a month (okay, a week) anyway, but the positive effects of gratitude can last a lifetime. An attitude of gratitude really can reduce your stress level, blood pressure, and digestive tensions.

Before I end this, I'd like to express my gratitude for all of you. I love reading your comments and feeling connected to you through them and through our shared love of cozy mysteries. 

May we all have a healthy, happy New Year!