Things to be grateful for
Gratitude engages one’s heart. It’s the most powerful when it becomes an approach to daily routine. It becomes especially important in the United States in November as Thanksgiving Day approaches and folks begin thinking of all the things for which they are grateful.
Everyone has moments of gratefulness in life, such as when one receives a special gift, a job promotion, or an honors celebration. Research shows that focusing on even the little things that make us happy on a daily basis can heighten one’s quality of life.
Scientists say that gratitude can make one happier and healthier. Dr. Robert Emmons of the University of California at Davis and Michael McCollough of Southern Methodist University conducted a study on gratitude and reported daily gratitude exercises resulted in higher reported levels of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, optimism, and energy, as well as less stress and depression. The study showed subjects who wrote down one thing they were grateful for every day reported being 25% happier for a full six months after following this practice for just three weeks.
Gratefulness works all year ’round, folks just tend to think about it more in November. An article from Real Simple magazine quotes Dr. Emmons as saying, “There is a magnetic appeal to gratitude. It speaks to a need that’s deeply entrenched.”
Sarah Ban Breathnach, author of The Simple Abundance Journal of Gratitude, said, “You simply will not be the same person two months from now after consciously giving thanks each day for the abundance that exists in your life. And you will have set in motion an ancient spiritual law: the more you have and are grateful for, the more will be given you.”
Each November, I make a list of all the things for which I’ve been grateful in both my personal and my business life over the past year. This year my list includes:
- My family. My husband, Dave, who for all of our years together has made life worth living. The blessings of our children, Vicki, Zanne, Janet, and our deceased son, David, and our grandchildren, Katie, Ryan, and Zenepe. The joy of being able to work with some of them in our business.
- Good friends. Those who never seem to tire of asking and hearing about how things are going, who open their hearts when needed, and hang out until way after the need is met. Friends like Bill Haight, Carol “Orange” Schroeder, and others who jumped in with many kinds of support, including donating a van for our now bedridden daughter, Zanne. To all those who joined in the “Van for Zanne” campaign — you know who you are, and we can never fully express our gratitude. To those like Jody Glynn Patrick, Elaine Beaubien, Nancy Haight, Michelle Heitzinger, and Dr. Lorna Belsky, who held our hands when daughter, Vicki, was diagnosed with breast cancer, we thank you heart and soul. To Ken Beaubien and Kevin Patrick who are always at the ready when needed. It has been a year of friends. We are so blessed to have you all in our lives.
- Good health. Okay, so I occasionally use a cane now because of a minor, pesky leg ailment. What pleasure I get from showing my gratitude to those who open doors, and those who allow me to go to the head of the line, and to those who offer other friendly gestures.
- Opportunities. Sometimes when we’re in a state of “too much work and too little time,” it’s easy to forget to acknowledge the opportunities that come to us.
- Good customers. I know how fortunate we are to have good customers and I’m grateful that our entire team knows how blessed we are to be able to serve these folks.
- Helpful professionals. From our banker, who goes the extra mile for us, to the friendly, helpful professional at a “do it yourself” store who shared knowledge and time to make sure we made the right choices, and that we understood the “how to” to complete our project. And I’m grateful to electricians Nick and Andy from Action Electric who came immediately to fix the problem that Dave and I created when we took down a half wall between our kitchen and family room. It’s good to have pros that one can call on in an “emergency.”
- Good restaurants. We are fortunate that Madison has lots of great choices for dining out in our area. Many of you know I love cheesecake. Well, one of my wishes has been granted. A brand new Cheesecake Factory is now in a mall less than two blocks from our store. Now all I can ask is that a Legal Seafood will come to our neck of the woods. All of Madison’s choices really make dieting difficult. Oh well, we only live once.
Wilferd A. Peterson, American author (1900–1995), said, “Gratitude spurs us on to prove ourselves worthy of what others have done for us. The spirit of gratitude is a powerful energizer.” And William A. Ward, American writer of inspirational maxims (1921-1994), wrote, “God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one to say, “Thank you”?
Click here to sign up for the free IB ezine – your twice-weekly resource for local business news, analysis, voices, and the names you need to know. If you are not already a subscriber to In Business magazine, be sure to sign up for our monthly print edition here.