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Early Summer 2008

Dear Friends

One of my friends has gone through a particularly trying year. Finances, health, and her primary relationship have all suffered. Additionally, there was a death in the family and she was uprooted and moved to a part of the country where there is little emotional support for her. In one year's time, she experienced a whole bushel-full of those life experiences that are hideously stressful and can wreak havoc with a person's sense of well-being. I'm pretty sure that if you asked her which of her 40-odd years she'd never want to live through again, it would be this past one.

I'm not very good at coming up with encouraging things to say to a friend who's experiencing such hard times. I listen, empathize as best I can, but feel lacking when it comes to finding words that might give her a second wind to keep on keeping on. My last email from her, though, revealed that she found, on her own, a silver lining to this mess of a year: gratitude.

No, she's not grateful for all of the dramas and crises she's gone through, but rather she's grateful for all of the things that have gone right. Yes, on some days she has to dig pretty deep to find something to be grateful for. Maybe it's seeing the sun when it hasn't shone in a few days. Or maybe it's having a cheerful customer service rep at the bank. Or maybe it's (remember, I said some days she has to dig pretty deep) having a car that starts every single time she turns on the ignition. She says it makes all the difference to be able to find positive things among all of the negatives. And while she probably would have chosen other ways to learn that gratitude is healing and can get a person through hard periods, she doubts that she would have ever realized this had she not faced such lousy times.

There is abundant research going on right now about the benefits of gratitude. Those who describe themselves as grateful tend to be less materialistic and are better able to roll with the punches when they are facing loss of status or possessions. Such people suffer less stress, have more vitality and optimism, and experience fewer instances of clinical depression than the population as a whole. Grateful people tend to appreciate the interconnectedness of life and are more spiritually aware, regardless of their religious affiliation. The list of benefits goes on and on -- from grateful people tending to take better care of themselves to having more optimism, which is an immune booster in and of itself!

While most of us might not go through the hard times that my friend has -- at least not all in the same year -- we will have days when we wish we'd never gotten out of bed. If we can just remember to find something to be grateful for amidst whatever crisis we are experiencing, it will not only help get us through the day, it will be a balm to our perspective. The best part, though, might be that gratitude simply becomes a way of life for us.




Other Issues:
From our archives -- Saddle Up

From our archives -- Taking Ourselves Off Automatic

Early Summer 2014 -- Embracing our Dormant Times

From our archives -- Taking Time to Listen

Late Spring 2014 -- Seeing More Clearly

Spring 2014 -- Savor What Makes Your Heart Sing

Early Spring 2014 -- The Power of Quotes

Holiday 2013 -- Taking the Time to Listen

Holiday 2013 -- Open our Hearts to the Good Around Us

Fall 2013 -- How to Cope in Tough Times

Late Summer 2013 - The Priceless Gift of Friendship

Midsummer 2013 -- My Luck is Pretty Good Luck

Early Summer 2013 -- Slow Down Enough to Smile

Late Spring 2013 -- Recognizing Gifts

Spring 2013 -- Doing the Best We Can

Early Spring 2013 -- Know Where You're Going

Holiday 2012 -- Our Power to Adapt

Fall 2012 -- Gratitude for What We Have

Early Fall 2012 -- See the Beauty in Front of Us

Late Summer 2012 -- Modify So It Works for You

Summer 2012 -- Finding Balance

Early Summer 2012 -- Go Ahead and Take that Risk!

Late Spring 2012 - Trusting Your Gut

Spring 2012 - Living Life to the Fullest

Early Spring 2012 - New Year, No Excuses

Winter 2011 - A Thoughtful Tip

Holiday 2011 - How Did I Get Here?

Fall 2011 - Giving Thanks for What We Already Have

Late Summer 2011 - Taking Ourselves Off Automatic

Midsummer 2011 - Friends Through Thick and Thin

Early Summer 2011 - The Power of Nice

Late Spring 2011 - The Gifts of Spring

Spring 2011 - Worst Case Scenario

Early Spring 2011 - Break Away From the Herd

Winter 2010 - Lessons From Feral Kitty

Holiday 2010 - The Art of Imperfection

Fall 2010 - When the Student is Ready...

Late Summer 2010 - Saddle Up

Midsummer 2010 - Hurry Up and Wait

Early Summer 2010 - Don't Just Stand There. Do Something!

Late Spring 2010 - Gifts From My Mother

Spring 2010 - Taking That First Step

Early Spring 2010 - I Think it's Time

Winter 2009 - Choose Love, Not Fear

Holiday 2009 - Paying it Forward

Fall 2009 - You're Not Alone

Late Summer 2009 - "Searching" for Peace

Midsummer 2009

Early Summer 2009

Late Spring 2009

Spring 2009

Early Spring 2009

Winter 2008

Holiday 2008

Fall 2008

Late Summer 2008

Midsummer 2008

Late Spring 2008

Spring 2008

Early Spring 2008

Winter 2007

Holiday 2007

Fall 2007

Late Summer 2007

Midsummer 2007

Early Summer 2007

Late Spring 2007

Spring 2007

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Holiday 2006

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