My mom is 95 and my dog, Cookie, is 14. I am fully aware that at some point—probably sooner than I would like to think—things will change. And I am quietly, inwardly attempting to prepare myself because for some crazy reason I think it will happen at the same time. I know—“Nothing is written”—and I fully believe it but nothing lasts forever. And when things change, when my mom and Cookie are no longer here, the hole will be so wide and so deep...It’s scary.
Each day I call my mom at 9:30 to say hello and check in. Right now she is doing SO well! She loves her little assisted living apartment. And there is a gentleman who mom says “Really likes her (though he has a bit of a stomach, which she doesn't like that much)” And she has found some nice women to be friendly with too. She shows up grateful every day—for the tasty food at Sunrise, for her two children, for her cozy apartment, for the wonderful care she gets. And she expects very little if anything at all. Cookie is doing well too. She has the enthusiasm and gait of a puppy and is very grateful for her beautiful life. I know because she is constantly smothering me with kisses and licks. She lives in the moment and is a very happy girl.
So each day when mom and Cookie are both okay I breathe a sigh of relief and proceed to fully embrace my day. I am consciously grateful of how lucky I am in the moment I am living right now. And it pushes the fear and that sense of dread away to some gray place waydin the distance.
What Exactly is Gratitude?
The dictionary defines gratitude as “the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.” So this wonderful empowering thing called gratitude is a three-way street. It allows us to be grateful, it gives us the space to express our gratitude, and it affords us the opportunity to show gratitude towards others. Now that is something you can wrap your arms around.
“We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.” ~Thornton Wilder
Why Does Being Grateful Matter?
• When we are grateful, we are reminded of what is truly important in our lives and it puts things into perspective. It’s hard to resent your job when you choose to be grateful for having one.
• Being grateful brings to mind what is going right in our lives. Perhaps you are grateful for the best pet ever, a special friend you have known since childhood, or an inspiring conversation you had with a perfect stranger just the other day.
• Gratitude can turn a negative into a positive. Maybe it wasn’t your best moment when you got into a fender bender, but aren’t you grateful it wasn’t more serious? Or perhaps you lost your cell phone because you were being careless, but isn’t it great that you had the presence of mind to take out phone insurance just in case?
• Being grateful affords us the opportunity to thank others. Don’t you just love it when someone thanks you for something you have done? Doesn’t it absolutely make your day? We all love to be acknowledged for kindnesses. And here’s the thing. Whether you thank someone via phone, text message, e-card, or hand-written note doesn’t matter. What does matter is that you took time out of your day to express gratitude.
“He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not but rejoices for those which he has.” ~Epictetus
Ways to Express Gratitude
• Start a gratitude journal
• Create a vision board
• Meditate or do yoga
• Make time for a friend
• Invite someone over for dinner
• Thank someone for performing a kindness
The Benefits of Being Grateful
• Research suggests that being grateful boosts well-being
• Grateful people make better friends
• Being in a grateful state of mind helps you to sleep better
• Showing appreciation to a significant other strengthens the relationship
• Expressing positive emotions is good for your heart
• Being grateful helps to boost your immune system
“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” ~Oprah Winfrey
Want to Learn More About Gratitude? Check out
Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach
Flourish by Martin Seligman
Interested in learning more about how you can bring gratitude into your life? Contact me, Deborah Mintcheff at deborah@liveforwardcoaching. Your life will never be the same.