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Gratefulness

by Mary Mazzoni on November 26, 2011

Something happens when I pause to be grateful. A beautiful flow begins.

The more I look for blessings, the more of them I see. My perspective shifts, possibilities open. I think and move more freely. With a renewed sense of peace. And joy.

Gratefulness even has health benefits. WebMD cites research linking gratitude to decreased stress levels, better immune function, and improved overall physical and mental health.

We want to live gratefully. But often we’re caught up in the fast pace and changing circumstances of everyday life, as we strive toward progress and plan for the future.

Yet gratefulness can become a daily practice. We can take just a bit of time each day to savor life and be drawn into thankfulness. These few moments will enrich us in surprising ways, and our kids will benefit from our renewed perspective.

But how do we remember to take this time when our lives are so busy? I’m inspired by the ideas and websites listed below. Maybe you will be too.

Anger and Gratitude

Kirsten Isgro gets real about anger and gratitude as a mom whose daughter has special needs in her Small Bit of Gratitude reflection at Hopeful Parents.

Gratitude “cues”

You’ll find very short videos about a “threshold ritual” and other gratitude cues at the Happiness Project website.

Ways to say thank you

Courtney Carver says Multiple Sclerosis “does not define me, but it has had a huge impact on my life.” She writes a beautiful blog called Be More with Less.

Click here for a great post on saying thanks – part of her “Living in the Land of Enough” series.

Reaching out to others

Nisha Varghese blogs “about the challenges I face living with Cerebral Palsy and my journey towards independence. But most of all this blog is the medium through which I show people that anybody can make a difference.”

Nisha leads an effort to fund a well through the Clean Water Project. Check out her blog Adventures of Me.

Gratefulness.org and ThisGivesMeHope.com

Cick here to learn about two wonderful websites!

Thanksgiving project

Three years after his bone marrow transplant, Josh Martin reflects about gratefulness here.  And invites us to add our own list of big and little blessings as part of his Thanksgiving Project.

A good day

I return to this short video often. It always draws me in to gratefulness and renews my perspective.

Thank YOU

We may never meet. But I’m grateful for you.

Thanks for taking time to read Life After IEPs. The site would be nothing without you.

Especially, thank you for the countless acts of love with which you nurture your child. And how that love ripples out into the world in ways you’ll never know.

Thanks for being you.

Your turn

Are there particular ways that you pause to savor life and practice gratefulness? Please leave a comment. We’d love to hear from you.

If you think this post will bless someone else, please like it on Facebook.

Thanks!

Photo Credit: Daily Picture at Flickr 

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Sue Doohan November 29, 2011 at 8:52 am

Oprah Winfrey mentioned on her show her gratitude journal. Everyday she lists ten things she’s grateful for, I think she does this at night in order to go to sleep in a good mood. I do it in the morning as a way to start the day on a positive note. It can be a challenge to find ten things to be grateful for until you start recognizing little things or things you take for granted and over time you even notice a pattern of the types of things God provides. Sometimes the best you can come up with is how grateful you are a bad thing isn’t a worse thing … but Oprah’s premise rings true … it’s hard to stay in a bad mood after you’ve thought about ten good things.

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Mary Mazzoni November 29, 2011 at 4:11 pm

Sue, thanks so much for sharing your daily practice of gratitude journaling. I’ve never written in my journal in the morning (except on vacation!). The idea of starting the day off in this way is very appealing. I feel the urge to give it a try. Thanks for the inspiration!

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Doreen Fulton July 5, 2012 at 4:31 am

Thank you Mary for once again providing great resources and much food for thought. This morning, knowing that I have much to do and little time to savor the blessings in my life, I returned to the garden in my backyard, while my coffee was brewing. There I found new flowers in the process of emerging.

A wonderful surprise, a friend blessed me with a pot of growing lettuce in the spring. I enjoyed several wonderful salads with these mixed greens and the hot weather have taken its toll on much new growth. I thought my joy was over with this pot, but was reluctant to pull the remaining shoots which have shot up. Much to my delight, blue flowers have emerged from these shoots…chicory, which I have often admired on the roadside and thought how nice they would look with my red roses. Now, I will be given the chance to connect them.

Thank you God for providing joy even when it is not anticipated and thank you again Mary for the wonderful work you are doing. While I love to journal in the morning to chronicle my blessings and gather my thoughts, this note to you will suffice today.

With much appreciation,
Doreen

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Mary July 5, 2012 at 5:22 pm

Doreen,
I’m so honored that you shared your journal time with us today. As you take time to notice – new emerging flowers in the garden – and surprise chicory to join your roses!

You’ve swelled my own heart with gratitude and prompted me to look with new eyes for unexpected surprises.

Reminding me, too – of my own “grace tree” – a walnut a bird must have planted for us. It grew taller than our house in the years our daughter was growing up. And offered us walnuts for baking besides! Pure gift!

And when we had to sadly cut it down when it endangered the house – it offered us wood for our Christmas Eve fire. And – miraculously – new green growth emerges even now from the stump!

Thanks for reminding me to simply look – and notice – the surprises that abound all around us!

So grateful for you, Doreen!

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