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With Thanksgiving only one day behind us, and in the wake of the tragedy in Paris, I’ve been thinking a lot about gratitude as the affirmation of goodness and how important it is we acknowledge there are good things in the world—things that are sometimes intangible gifts, but they still benefit us in many ways. 


Robert Emmons, a scientific expert on gratitude says, “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.”  


Individual goodness is measured by what we embrace, what we create and who we include.  By practicing gratitude we strengthen our relationships and feel closer and more committed to others. Gratitude promotes forgiveness. Studies have shown that gratitude even lowers your levels of stress hormones. 

Most of us feel grateful when good things happen in our lives, but we don't put as much emphasis on daily thankfulness as we could. Thanksgiving is about gratitude and unlike most other holidays there is nothing commercial about it. Families and friends gather for a good meal and to express their love and thanks.  Many volunteer to work in soup kitchen and donate dinners to the poor. But it is only one day.  Every day provides us with a chance to make a difference in our own lives and in the lives of others.  



So often we gloss over the little happinesses and glimpses of beauty. Slow down and take a moment to savor them. Watch how the light filters through the pine branches or reflects off the snow.  Stand at the edge of the ocean and prepare to be astonished. If we spend more time counting blessings and considering our own mortality, gratitude will become an active part of our lives.  And if we choose a path of gratefulness, happiness will follow. Gratitude will turn what we have into more than enough.

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 Today, I make a resolution to adopt a philosophy of gratitude and stay aware of how I’ve been supported and affirmed by other people. I plan to keep a gratitude journal, recording at least three things for which I’m grateful every day.  In doing this, I hope to live in a way that makes me worthy to receive the many gifts this life has offered me. May you experience happiness. May you bring light to someone else's life. May you live in joy. And may you allow yourself to feel gratitude and to multiply that feeling by sharing it with those around you. 

 


Comments

Chris
11/27/2015 4:48pm

Well said.... Thanks for writing this! You always provide valuable insight to see a bigger picture!

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09/29/2016 7:51am

Gratitude for me symbolizes humility and appreciation. I remembered something about always appreciating someone's good deeds towards you even though they are just small things. I started practicing it I think if I'm not mistaken, 1 year ago. Surprisingly, it changed my life in terms of the way I interact with others and the way I think of myself.Every time I am able to mouth the words "thank you" to someone, it was really a relieving and overwhelming feeling for me. It always makes me happy to see those reactions by these people whenever they received thank you from me. Some of them respond with the statement but there are still some people who just ignore it. Nevertheless, the important thing for me is the fact that I was able to appreciate them and thank them for doing things for me.

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11/28/2015 4:53am

Practicing gratitude keeps me open to those momentary wonder-strikes at the beauty around me. I love those!

It seems to me gratitude is also some basic currency of love -- among friends, for example. The more I spend, the wealthier I am. Thanks for your thoughtful post.

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Andy
11/28/2015 7:44am

Thisis the time we should all be grateful for what we have and show gratitude to all we love.

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Jackie
11/28/2015 7:56am

Wonderful thoughts as we wake up almost each day to another senseless tragedy. There are still good things in life to savor and good people around us to appreciate.

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Martha Miller
11/29/2015 7:43am

Another great blog post, Susan. You do know how to get to the heart of things and express your feelings most poignantly, which allows your readers to experience and feel them too.

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susan domingos
11/29/2015 10:52am

Being thankful for the those tiny or big moments makes life worth livng. Great blog.

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Bob
11/30/2015 9:05pm

So well expressed. I'm grateful for being shown, in another wonderful blog, those things we all tend to forget.

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12/02/2015 6:29am

Thank you for sharing your dreams, accomplishments, and life- affirming writing tied to humanity's interconnecteness with us all in this well done and thought provoking blog as well as in your other writings. Gratitude is indeed sincere acceptance of "waves of thanks and serenditpitous occurences." In the appreciation of faith, family, and friendship, it was 40 years ago that my wife, Judi, and your husband, John, managed to drop the Thanksgiving turkey on our kitchen floor while wrestling it out of the oven. Our collective joy and laughter at John's dead pan proclamation of it's having landed "dorsal side down" at this "friendsgiving" will stay with us forever.
From Thomas Merton's Thoughts in Solitude this quote's worth sharing: "Every breath we draw is a gift of God's love, every moment of existence is a grace, for it brings with it immense graces from God. Gratitude therefore takes nothing for granted, is never unresponsive, is constantly awakening to new wonder and to praise of the goodness of God. For the grateful person knows that God is good, not by hearsay but by experience. And that is what makes all the difference."

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12/02/2015 1:14pm

Thank you Barry for taking the time to read my blog and make your thought-provoking comments. I will never forget that Thanksgiving. It is right up there among my very favorites.

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Kathy Goldner
12/03/2015 4:29am

Beautiful!!!

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12/03/2015 6:44pm

Most of all, I'm grateful for my wonderful friends, including you, Susan.

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01/04/2016 11:20am

This is really great information found here, I really like your blog. Thanks very much for the share. Keep posting

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Jane Sutherland
01/07/2016 5:37pm

Through your words, you shine a light on a special moment, a step in the passage of your lovely daughter from childhood to womanhood.

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03/05/2016 3:23am

This is really great information found here, I really like your blog. Thanks very much for the share. Keep posting

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Martha R
03/29/2016 12:00pm

Let me add a quote from Melody Beattie, a person unknown to me: "Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more."

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04/15/2016 11:42am

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05/11/2016 2:41am

Admittedly, I always forget to be thankful to God, my parents and friends who are always there for me. I was inspired by this article to be grateful to all of the people who helped me. For me, it is not enough that you write your thank you’s to your loved ones but you need to say it. In the past, I made sure that I wrote down everything that I want to thank for and especially, God. He is the one who provided my family and friends and everything that I have. We need to remember that without God, we won’t have every thing that we have. Starting today, let’s all write and say our sincere gratitude to all of the people who never left when we needed them the most.

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06/27/2016 11:32pm

This is the first time i am reading your post and admire that you posted article which gives users lot of information regarding particular topic thanks for this share

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