If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you know that each January I choose a word to inspire me for the year. In 2015 my word was “goodness” and in 2014 it was “believe.” Both those years had highs and lows but “my word” lifted me up when times were difficult, and was a touchstone for celebratory moments.
For 2016, I’ve chosen “gratitude.” It’s a word that speaks to me on many levels. Saying thank you is simple, yet powerful. While it’s a way to acknowledge and validate acts of kindness by others, it’s also a reminder to take the time to recognize the small things that bring joy to everyday life. A warm smile, a hug, an unexpected bloom in an early spring garden or a steaming mug of hot chocolate on a winter day.
As 2015 drew to a close, gratitude was very much on my mind. On the surface, many of the events of last year brought little for me to be thankful for. On both the professional and personal fronts, I faced tsunami-like changes.
Yet, with time and distance, I see that those changes gave me the courage to take a leap of faith into the unknown. And, since that leap has resulted in a better and happier life, I have to be grateful for circumstances that were hard going at the time.
Gratitude has been in the news, too.
In her 2015 Christmas message, Her Majesty the Queen “encourage[d] us to be grateful for all that brings light to our lives.”
Recent research by a professor of family medicine and public health at the University of California San Diego, School of Medicine, even suggests that gratitude benefits heart health.
It was perhaps my brother-in-law who expressed it best, though, when he visited us during the holidays. The conversation turned to my husband, Tech Guy’s, mother and, as my brother-in-law remembered, she always told her children: “Be grateful for what you have. Don’t focus on what you don’t.”
Wishing you a 2016 with much to be grateful for. Gratitude is as good to give, as it is to receive.
Happy New Year!