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!

Kate

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

When you are going through rough times it can be hard to feel grateful. I agree with you though if you look at who, what and your own strengths that got you through it...there should be plenty of material there for gratitude. Thanks for the reminder.
Marilyn

Lynda Turpin said...

I've been trying to keep a similar attitude through this past year, while dealing with family issues (my father's declining physical and mental health). It's been difficult, but I've managed to keep going as each new trial appeared, and I think I'm stronger for it. Most recently (two days before Christmas), my car was broken into and gifts and other valuables (some that can't be replaced) were stolen. Once I got over the initial shock and outrage, I was able to put it in perspective. No one was hurt and my car wasn't stolen. It could have been a lot worse, so I got my window fixed, replaced a few gifts, and celebrated the joy of Christmas with my family, putting the incident behind me.
It can be difficult to be grateful for the negative things we have to deal with in life, but we can at least be grateful for the lessons we learn and the strength we gain from experiencing them. That's not to say that this attitude is easy - it's not. But all we can do is to try our best to look for the positives, because dwelling on the negative just makes it worse.

Happy New Year to you and yours, and may 2015 bring you joy.

mary kennedy said...

This is a wonderful reminder to find happiness in small things every day. I agree, it's so hard to be grateful when times are tough, but sometimes just reminding ourselves that we are "survivors" can be enough.

Trana said...

A very appropriate reminder this time of year. I like it and will try to keep that attitude.

Kate Collins said...

You're welcome, Marilyn. When you're in the thick of it, feeling gratitude can be a real challenge . . . and yet it does help!

Diane LaBrie Leverson said...

Lately, every morning when I get up, I try to remember to thank the Lord for getting me through the night and when I go to bed, I thank him for the day. I think it is a great idea to make a list of things we can be thankful for and I will do that this week. I never make New Years resolutions because I wouldn't do them for more than a day or two anyway. I have no will power it seems. Not thankful for that! LOL
One thing I am thankful for, is all the Cozy Chicks. I look forward to your blog every morning. You are a great group of people and you books make me happy.

Have a wonderful New Year.

Kate Collins said...

You hit the nail on the head, Lynda. Dwelling on the negative doesn't do anyone any good, and actually does everyone harm. No one wants to be around depressed people. I'm so sorry to hear about your troubles. I hope the new year will be wonderful.

Kate Collins said...

You said it, Mary. At those times we have to pat ourselves on the back and say, "You're doing it, kid. Keep going. You can do this."

Kate Collins said...

Thanks, Trana.

Kate Collins said...

Thank you from all of us, Diane. I do the same thing you do, give thanks every night for all the good things that happened, even if it's just to say that it was a calm day. Sometimes that's enough.

Caroline said...

Once upon a time, at a job interview - I was asked a few questions that I thought were odd (but I obviously answered them well, I got the job). One was "What was the hardest thing you've ever done?" My reply, "Dealing with the death of my father, who was my best friend, when I was in college. I was the eldest of three daughters and everyone said, you have to help your mother and your younger sisters. It was rough." The next question, "What is your greatest accomplishment?" My reply, "The same thing. It was the most difficult thing I've ever done but I made it through. I survived."
God bless you, Kate! <3

Karen in Ohio said...

Through the wisdom of the universe, I read this shortly after reading something else that resonated equally: Everything is grace.

It's so true; everything that happens to us, that we do, even stuff that hurts or feels so horrible at the time, serves us in some way. It makes us stronger, or it makes us more compassionate, or it brings us some other, often amazingly strong, joy. Sometimes it's not easy to remember that at the time, but throughout my more than six decades I've learned (which I have to keep reminding myself some days) to be thankful for what I have, and to let go of things, especially material things.

Wishing you, Kate, a wonderful year to come.

Elaine Klingbeil said...

I like the idea of making a New Year’s Gratitude List, rather than a New Year's Resolution List. Great idea! Thanks!

Mary Jane Maffini said...

Beautiful post, Kate! Words to live (happily) by. Thank you!


XO

MJ/VA

joy said...

As a cancer survivor I thank God for all I have. My husband bless his heart survived a 13 hour open heart suurgery and 3 strokes. We're just happy to have each other and to be able to enjoy what we have.

kayt18 said...

Such a wonderful reminder. I am definitely making a gratitude list, not just for New Years, but every day. I have so much to be grateful for each and every day. Thank you!

Cathy Shouse said...

I, also, have been reminding myself to be grateful. No matter what happens, there are a ton of things that are positive in my life and more to come! I'm grateful that I met you in 2014, Kate! Magna cum Murder was a great event for me.

Kate Collins said...

And God bless you, Caroline, for sharing that with us. We do survive and I know our loved ones are applauding us for doing so.

Kate Collins said...

Beautifully said, Karen. If we make a list of everything we're grateful for, most of us would put the names of our loved ones first. It's not material things that matter the most (but they are nice to have.)

Kate Collins said...

I am here to serve. LOL

Kate Collins said...

You learn fast what's important during those times, don't you?

Kate Collins said...

It really is a great thing to do every day. Happy New Year!

Kate Collins said...

When we start looking for the blessings in our lives, they seem to become more abundant. I truly believe in the law of attraction. Thanks for staying in contact, Cathy. Happy New Year!

Ramla Zareen said...

Hello,

I came across this blog through Goodreads ...and before I write anything else I simply must mention that you are one of my favourite authors, and it's a great honour and pleasure to be able to communicate with you...! :-) I have even dedicated an entire post in my blog to you and your "Flower Shop Mystery Series", and often recommend your books to other readers as well :-)

Anyway, I love the message in this post. We have so many things to be grateful for: our faith, health, family, friends, and the list goes on... In fact, I even consider my hobby of reading a blessing since it's a source of immense happiness for me :-)

It's true that we often feel sad and upset ...and forget the good things in our lives when going through a particularly rough phase, which I guess is natural enough, after all, we are only humans...! 

Still, even while suffering a big loss, we can be grateful for our inner strength, as well as the support system provided by our loved ones, that enable us to cope with even a great crises.

Moreover, our own suffering make us more compassionate as we are able to emphasize with the sorrow of others. So we can also be grateful for the fact that our difficulties helped us to become better human beings.

It's also true that being grateful help us gain a more positive outlook and this goes a long way in reducing our stress level and enable us to stay healthier... 

...and again this make us a better person too...as when we are happy we tend to spread it around to others through our good moods :-)

Well, thanks again for this delightful post... and for brightening my days through your talent and hard work...! :-)

Regards,
Ramla Zareen