To Find Joy - Be Grateful

My husband and I just returned from a short respite in Florida. The beach always calls to me, like the water from which I am made. #vitaminsea The vastness & beauty always puts my mind in a thoughtful mood.

These trips often leave me feeling maudlin. It's my default setting.

On quiet trips like this one, my mind turns to weighty things. These trips often leave me feeling maudlin. It's my default setting. I start thinking about what has and has not been. The things for which I am thankful, sure, but my mind zeros in on those things that stir resentment, anger or grief. This trip to the Gulf Coast put me in this mood during our last day.

I am on the back end of life now. There is much to review of life from this side. If I just allow my mind to take over, I dwell on the disappointments and losses and the things I have to live with that I wish would change but never will.

There is much work involved in keeping our minds on things that are good and true and right. (Philippians 4:8) By work I mean diligence. That negative whisper that wants to drag us to hell - on earth and otherwise - is insidious. It can haunt if let given even partial reign. #renewyourmind

There is much work - that is diligence - involved in keeping our minds on things that are good and true and right.

As this week is Thanksgiving, I chastised myself for allowing my mind to run free. This is a time of year to take account of what has been good and true and right in our lives. Grief for the year's losses is only natural and needs to be experienced. Yet even in these, there are blessings to celebrate, if we look for them.

A spirit of gratefulness fulls our hearts and minds and enables us to share with others what is good and true and right and glorious and joyful and miraculous, and even sad and disheartening and difficult. Good news! Cultivating a spirit of gratefulness can be remarkably simple. #gratefulness

Cultivating a spirit of gratefulness can be remarkably simple.

Try this experiment. Take couple of weeks and write done five things a day for which you are grateful and/or bring you joy. Could be as simple as your morning java. Be specific. Don't just say, "my family." Say "the way my family always helps each other."

Research has show that this will help train your brain to go to the good places. Look at this one from Harvard Medical School website:

Two psychologists, Dr. Robert A. Emmons of the University of California, Davis, and Dr. Michael E. McCullough of the University of Miami, have done much of the research on gratitude. In one study, they asked all participants to write a few sentences each week, focusing on particular topics.

One group wrote about things they were grateful for that had occurred during the week. A second group wrote about daily irritations or things that had displeased them, and the third wrote about events that had affected them (with no emphasis on them being positive or negative). After 10 weeks, those who wrote about gratitude were more optimistic and felt better about their lives. Surprisingly, they also exercised more and had fewer visits to physicians than those who focused on sources of aggravation.

So I dare ya...give this simple, non-time-consuming challenge a try! Make sure you write them down. Words rattling around in your noggin are more likely to be understood if you get them out of there in speech or writing. If you want a bonus challenge, start a gratefulness journal. #doubledareyou

joy journaling improves your life
Me and one of my Gratefulness Journals

Just writing this post about being thankful has helped dispel a few of the residual maudlin from that last day on the beach. We also got to hang out with old and new friends that night after surprising them. Even more than my gratefulness journal, time with interesting people, especially those I love, has a way of getting my mind right and true and good.

May you find yourself with such people this week. Happy Thanksgiving. Be well.

- For more ideas about gratefulness, be on look out for Val's upcoming ESheet on the subject.

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Valerie LK Martin

Bringing Hope to Others >>


We are all on a journey, one we are not meant to walk alone.  Consider me a walking buddy and these words as traveling tips.

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