A Life of Resilience, Ease & Joy Starts with Gratitude

With aging, comes change. That’s life.

One thing we can be sure of, change will keep happening. When it does, that’s our opportunity to work on strengthening our resiliency because we can’t control what happens out there, but we can control what happens “in here.”

Change is inherently difficult for most of us, but it can be more manageable if we take stock of all we have, with a focus on appreciation and gratitude. Then when change inevitably comes, it feels more like it’s a part of life and our journey, rather than something to avoid.

Over the years, Oprah has often shared about her gratitude journal and the extraordinary benefits she’s experienced from carving out time every day to write about all she has to be grateful for. She likes to do her gratitude journaling before bedtime.

Lately, I’ve been doing my journaling differently.

I don’t have difficulty winding down before bed and falling asleep; it’s waking up (to pee) and not being able to go back to sleep that is my challenge. Sometimes I enjoy listening to a sleep story or a sleep meditation on the Insight Timer App when I wake up in the night. (Love that app!) 

Then there are the nights that I don’t want to turn on the bright light of my phone screen to find a meditation on the app, so lately I’ve started using my middle of the night awake time to create a gratitude journal in my head.

I’m always hopeful that the joy I experience when I appreciate all that I have to be grateful for will actually lull me back to sleep. Give it a try, it might work for you too.

Whether it’s first thing in the morning, right before bed, or like it has been for me lately — in the quiet hours in the middle of the night — we can embrace the daily practice of slowing down and quieting all the chatter in our minds to count our gratefuls. Then we can acknowledge all the good in our lives, which can make quite a difference — even in the times when we don’t feel especially grateful.

As we approach the day in our country when we celebrate all that we have to be grateful for, consider this — what would your life be like, if you brought a little more of the beauty, warmth and wisdom of Thanksgiving into each day?

What if the Thanksgiving holiday became the day to celebrate all the days we’ve lived in gratitude for our loved ones and all the things that are working for us and bringing goodness and joy into our lives? 

What if we challenged ourselves to develop a daily gratitude practice as a way to create a life of greater resilience?  How could that enhance the ease and joy we experience in our lives?

One of my family’s favorite things to do that reminds us how much we have to be grateful for is to take a walk in nature together over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.  The redwoods are my go-to location. What’s yours?

Wishing you and your family a warm and joy-filled Thanksgiving holiday.

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