Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Gratitude

I am not a Christmas person and in general autumn is my least favorite season. One of the things I do like about it, though is that it feels like a good time to reflect on the year and focus on being grateful. (I do like all of the yummy food, as well - pecan pie! sweet potatoes! pumpkin everything!) There was a great article in the New York Times on the science of the benefits of gratitude.

One study has people keep a gratitude journal and found this:
"The gratitude journal was brief — just one sentence for each of the five things — and done only once a week, but after two months there were significant effects. Compared with a control group, the people keeping the gratitude journal were more optimistic and felt happier. They reported fewer physical problems and spent more time working out.
Further benefits were observed in a study of polio survivors and other people with neuromuscular problems. The ones who kept a gratitude journal reported feeling happier and more optimistic than those in a control group, and these reports were corroborated by observations from their spouses. These grateful people also fell asleep more quickly at night, slept longer and woke up feeling more refreshed. "

If there was one major lesson I learned in 2011, it is to be grateful, to put real energy into reflecting on the things I am so lucky to have. Top of that list is always you, Lorelai. I think I would be just a kite floating in the wind if I didn't have you to keep me linked to the rest of the world. Every day I am amazed by you.

I have learned this year to be grateful, not just for the love, abundance, amazing people and the beautiful world around us, but also for the pain and sadness. Sadly, I know that the lessons I have learned about having compassion for other people and for myself were only learned through suffering. I hate that it has to be that way, but I know more than ever that I am strong and I have much, much more to learn. I just hope I am able to be a person worthy of being your mommy, and a good friend, daughter, sister and partner.

Love,
Mama



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