The fact that taking some time to think about the good things in your life can lead to improved mental and emotional health is not a new idea.
Nor is the concept rocket science.
Self-help gurus have been advocating it in one form or another for decades.
Even TV personality Oprah Winfrey, in the 1980s during the heyday of the Oprah Winfrey Show, touted “gratitude journals” as a key step on the path to a more fulfilled life.
We all know we should be doing this. And most of us, as we get caught up in the hustle and bustle of every our daily lives, completely forget to be thankful for the people and life experiences that cause our glasses to be half full.
For some reason, it’s just so easy to look at that glass as half empty
This whole idea of gratitude breeding success was put in front of me earlier this week in an email memo sent to the Lehigh Valley Patch team by our Regional Editor Susan Koomar. In it, she posted a link to an Inc. magazine article called “True Secret of Success (It’s Not What You Think) under the heading “Read This.”
So I did.
In the article, the author makes the rather simple and seemingly obvious claim that tallying the pluses in your life on a daily basis will lead to a successful and fulfilled life. He says that people need to exercise what he calls their gratitude “emotional muscle” and recommends a nightly practice ritual.
Yeah, yeah, right?
I’m not so sure…
Yesterday my husband had minor outpatient surgery (he’s fine) and the process of juggling the logistics of getting a third-grader and a PM kindergartner to and from school, managing my work demands, handling soccer practice and supporting my husband’s medical needs got me to thinking about the gratitude article and gratitude in general.
We don’t have any family in the Lehigh Valley and yet, as my husband's surgery date approached, an amazing number of friends stepped up and offered their assistance.
Today, as I waited for news from the operating room, I realized that I had no worries about my boys at all. I knew that they were being well cared for and that they were safe and happy. And this knowledge made the daylong hospital vigil so much easier.
I am grateful for our friends and for the way they care for my children and our family.
The surgeon called my cell phone from the OR to tell me that my husband’s procedure was finished and all was OK. He stayed on the phone until he was sure he had answered all of my questions.
I am grateful that he took the time to do that. He didn’t have to.
My husband and the boys are sleeping peacefully upstairs as I write this.
I am so grateful for that and for them, and I am going to try to remember that more often.
What are you grateful for today? Tell us in the comments below.