The Art of Gratitude

“Now and then it’s good to pause in the pursuit of happiness and just be happy.”

The past couple of months have been filled with uncertainty; several life changes including a cross-country move, a new job, and exploring life in a big city have contributed to an emotional rollercoaster. This past week, everything came to a head as I began to experience a prolonged attack of stress-induced nausea and loss of appetite.

After feeling crummy for a couple of days, I caught myself getting wrapped up in feeling sick. I took a moment to pause and think about all of the things I’m thankful for.

My loving family, amazing husband and kids, thoughtful friends, watching the sunrise, and the opportunity to explore a new city all immediately came to mind.

I began setting aside time each day to write down one or two things I’m grateful for in an attempt to ease my mind and let go of any anxious feelings previously bottled up. The healing effects have (so far) been profound. Each morning I spend a few minutes relishing in the day before me, and each afternoon I jot down a reminder or two to keep myself in check.

To anyone who may be going through a tough or stressful time: I urge you to pause in the pursuit of happiness and just be grateful. Practicing daily gratitude will make a world of difference, and you just never know where it may lead you.

Here are a few tips for getting started:

1) Choose your gratitude journal: Use something you will frequently see throughout the day (I chose to store mine on my phone for easy access) as a constant reminder to yourself.

2) Begin capturing your thoughts: Write down at least one thing per day. It may be as simple as “the barista spelled my name right at Starbucks” but anything that comes to mind is worth documenting.

3) Pay it forward: Reach out to your loved ones and express gratitude for each of them. Send a card, make a phone call, or spend a moment catching up over lunch and let them know how much they mean to you.

To everyone in my life: Thank you for the letters, the cards, the thoughtful emails, the kind phone calls, and the uplifting words. Thank you for the never-ending sense of security and love, and the unending friendship, joy and positivity you have brought into my life.

Thank you for all the memories, the laughter, the tears, the smiles, and the stories. Thank you for your support, the endless hours of listening or giving advice, and for everything you have done for me. Thank you for your gestures, big and small, and for all the kind things you have done that you may have thought were overlooked (they weren’t).

I appreciate each and every individual who is a part of my life and I know that you are all the reason why I am able to put a smile on my face every day! It means the world to me. Happy and Healthy New Year, everybody!!!