Noodle* on this …
Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right. ~ Oprah Winfrey
It is traditional to start the New Year with a resolution. I make the same resolution every year: I resolve not to make any New Year’s resolutions. As Oprah suggests, let’s get it right in 2016 and start a new tradition a new tradition.
According to Dictionary.com, resolve means to decide to take action while commit means to bind or obligate. So, let’s commit to living grateful lives in 2016.
What is Gratitude?
Gratitude or thank you is an appreciation for what one has received. When someone helps us with “no strings” attached, we express our gratitude by saying thank you. According to Robert Emmons, Professor of Psychology at the University of California Berkley and an expert on the topic:
Gratitude is an affirmation of goodness. We affirm that there are good things in the world, gifts and benefits we’ve received. We recognize that the sources of this goodness are outside of ourselves… We acknowledge that other people – or even higher powers, if you’re of a spiritual mindset – gave us many gifts, big and small, to help us achieve the goodness in our lives.
Why live in Gratitude?
Living in gratitude is one way to get it right in several ways. According to a 2012 study published in Personality and Individual Differences, people who live in gratitude are healthier than those who do not. They have fewer aches and pains and are more likely to take care of themselves through regular exercise and doctor’s visits. They are also more likely to have better control of their emotions and experience less depression than others. Grateful people sleep better.
People who regularly express gratitude have better interpersonal relationships at home and at work. They are more empathic and less aggressive. Gratitude increases self-esteem, makes us more resilient and reduces stress levels. According to Neale Donald Walsh, The struggle ends when gratitude begins.
Gratitude, not just saying thank you but appreciating that what we have makes life easier, more enjoyable and meaningful. Recently, I spent some time with a woman in a stressful situation – her son was very sick. I was helping her with a complicated problem, but through it all, she was the epitome of patience. She did not get frustrated, impatient or complain. When I thanked her for her patience, she said, “I don’t have much, but I have patience.”
I looked at her, saw a caring mother in pain and said, “I’m guessing that you have much more than just patience.”
She was silent for a moment, and then she said. “Yes, you’re right. I have my wonderful son, his sisters and brother. I have a loving family and friends. We have a roof over our heads, food on the table, money to pay the bills and a car that runs. I have my heath.” She smiled and said, “I have a lot. Thank you for reminding me.”
She was right. Sometimes we just need to be reminded of all that we have and to take the time to appreciate and be grateful for it. It helps us keep things in perspective, which helps us manage our emotions.
When I remind myself of what I am grateful for, the partial list reads as follows:
- I am thankful for my family, my friends, and my silly dog Curly.
- I am grateful for the people in my neighborhood and that we look out for one another.
- I appreciate the people I meet each day as I live my life.
- I am thankful for the trials and obstacles I encounter and the lessons I learn from them.
- I find joy in doing work I love and getting to work with good, caring, fun, committed people.
- I am grateful that I live in a place where I can ride my bicycle all year round, and,
- I am especially thankful for you, my Gentle Readers – for your support and encouragement. Happy New Year!
Your Weekly Noodle Challenge…
Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. ~ Melody Beattie
What are you grateful for and what will you do to live in gratitude throughout the year? I will live in gratitude by:
- Saying thank you every day;
- Doing my best work;
- Doing all I can to support my loved ones, friends, and co-workers;
- Seeing the glass as half-full, and not half-empty; and,
- Treating everyone I meet with respect and kindness no matter how brief the encounter.
Share your commitment to gratitude with us in the Comments section below.
* To noodle: A verb meaning to mull over, think about, contemplate, ponder, puzzle over or brainstorm