Can keeping a gratitude journal prevent you from having a heart attack? Several researchers have discovered a connection between gratitude and heart health and are digging deeper to discern the how and the how much. A significant body of research reveals a link between gratitude and physical health – think connection, not causation. Grateful people, for instance, experience fewer aches and pains and report feeling healthier, according to a 2012 study (https://www NULL.psychologytoday NULL.com/blog/what-mentally-strong-people-dont-do/201504/7-scientifically-proven-benefits-gratitude). They’re also more likely to do health-positive things like exercising and getting regular check-ups. Grateful, Complaining or Random Psychologists Robert Emmons and Michael McCullough looked at the gratitude-health connection by having study (https://www NULL.health NULL.harvard NULL.edu/newsletter_article/in-praise-of-gratitude) participants write a few sentence each week on an assigned topic. Depending on their group, participants reflected on things that happened during the week for which they were grateful, things that irritated them, or things that affected them with no. . . .Read more . . .
I learned about the power of gratitude at work from a bunch of ten-year-olds. A strange thing happened at the beginning of what became my final year teaching middle school music. The new fifth graders thanked me. After every class. Sincerely and authentically. Thank you for teaching us. Thanks for a fun class. Thank you. Not every kid, every class. Enough, though, to have a significant impact on me during that otherwise difficult school year and on my understanding of the power of gratitude at work ever since. If they were adults, it would have been easier to brush them off. No big deal, just doing my job. Wanting to set a good example, though, as well as being truly grateful for their positive interactions, it was natural to respond with thanks of my own. Their expressions of gratitude boosted both their positivity and mine. We didn’t waste energy trying. . . .Read more . . .
When I was a brand new coach, one of the first things I did was a lead group coaching course on gratitude. Two people signed up. I was thrilled. I taught and coached. They showed up fully and shared with courage and compassion. We learned. We grew. We supported one another in community. We connected deeply, with one another and with ourselves. Each of us transformed gratitude from a nice idea that we said we wanted more of in our lives to a meaningful practice that fed us and fueled us and opened us to make space for more joy in our lives. I loved leading it. They loved being a part of it. A few years later, I put it out into the world again. Three years in a row. No one signed up. Thank goodness. Caught up in the bigger, better, more, more, more mentality that I’ve seen. . . .Read more . . .
Gratitude is hard to come by sometimes. I mean, there’s plenty to be mad, sad, and afraid of these days. There always has been, of course, and likely always will be. Lately, though, events and actions that create emotions we think of as negative have seem to be coming more fast and furious than the snowstorm that hit the northeast this week. And yet. There’s as much – even more, perhaps – opportunity to notice the good. Gratitude has been whispering in my ear a lot lately, which feels odd a bit odd. And yet. Gratitude keeps showing up. In the light lingering longer into evening. Before last week’s time change. In that snowstorm, which not only wasn’t as bad as predicted, but showed up on a day when I’d planned to work at home anyway. No commute! Boo-yah. In new connections with kind, smart, committed others and new opportunities to. . . .Read more . . .
Imagine waking up on the first of the month raring to go. It’s a Monday, so the possibilities shine even more brightly. Month-end review in the can, intentions set, color-coded calendar pages beautifully arranged on the office wall right next to that shiny new vision board. You’ve set an intention – made a choice – to spend the week, the month crushing your goals. Which works great until around noon on Tuesday. Make a Choice That’s when, after trying to ignore symptoms since, oh, sometime around Thanksgiving, my fever spiked to nearly 102, leaving me dizzy, weak and feeling like I was in a broiler and a freezer at the same time. The miracle isn’t that I made the choice – OK, reluctantly – to seek treatment for The Three-Year Sinus Infection. The miracle is that I made the choice not to freak out about all the stuff I wasn’t getting done. Bailing on. . . .Read more . . .
I’ll never know whether the driver of the coupe was texting, fleeing the scene of a crime, high, or just more desperate to get to Jersey than a shore-bound tourist on a Friday night in July. Or how darting across two lanes of traffic before stopping halfway between a lane on I-95 – my lane – and the off-ramp to the Walt Whitman could seem like a good idea. Before I could decide whether I’d slam into the coupe or another car would rear end me – or both – a tractor trailer honked, swerved and passed me with such force that I felt the whoosh rather than hearing it, which made me think it must have sucked the paint right off the driver’s door of my eight-year-old Forester. Oddly, I didn’t swear or scream. Instead, I heard the words “thank you, Jesus,” tumble from my lips over and over, right before I started to cry. For all of. . . .Read more . . .
Sailing Mom It was the kind of August afternoon I dreamed about all winter. Dazzling sky, blazing sun, light breeze, gently ebbing tide. Even the humidity had dropped. Paddling easily, I floated close to the docks and noticed a woman peering through a pair of binoculars. Wow, it’s a beautiful day. She clenched her teeth so tightly, I was surprised she could speak. It would be, but my 8-year-old is out there in the regatta. Not. Sailing. Well. Oyster Guy It was a chilly May morning. Grey sky, cloud cover, whipping wind, ripping tide. Even my drysuit couldn’t stop my shivering. I struggled to paddle in the shallows beside the sandbar, when I noticed a man in waders, the cold salt water up to his waist. Whoa, aren’t you cold? His smile was so bright, it felt like the clouds disappeared. Any day on the water is a great day.. . . .Read more . . .