Even though we
don’t do Thanksgiving here in Australia, I like to use the occasion to do a
kind of gratitude stocktake.
While most of us
have a vague understanding that gratitude can raise our mood and our life
satisfaction levels, in practice we’re not so good at actually maximising this superpower.
Most of us, it’s fair to say, have a tendency to ‘focus on the hole and not the
doughnut’, if you know what I mean.
It’s not just our emotional
health that benefits when we focus on gratitude, our physical health gets a
boost too. Research by Professor Paul Mills from the University of California
San Diego School of Medicine found that heart disease patients who kept a
gratitude journal had reduced their risk of ongoing heart issues after two
months. And similar studies have shown a reduction in stress hormones in those
who focus on gratitude.
like the opportune time to, you know, give thanks. Last night I sat down with a
pink pen and a pretty notepad (related: I am grateful for cute stationery) and
listed all the awesomnity in my life. It was fun and it helped me to see
clearly how much I have to celebrate. Afterwards, I felt like life had given me
a giant hug. My list included everything from my sister’s cute jokes to my long
legs to having a warm, safe place to live to being the most contended I’ve ever
been in my adult life.
When you write
something down, you amplify that message. It’s the equivalent of speaking to
the Universe through a loudspeaker. Writing down what you’re grateful for is
saying very clearly: “I am in love with my life, and I’m ready for more
I know that right
now you do not have everything you want. (Me neither.) But what you do have is
immensely valuable, and finding a way to take stock of that really helps you
appreciate that value at a deep level.
Gilbert says: “You were given life. It is
your duty (and also your entitlement as a human being) to find something
beautiful within it, no matter how slight.”
You are very, very
lucky, and very, very loved. Happy Thanksgiving xx