Empowered By Gratitude
Here’s a memory I have about feeling empowered by gratitude:
When I was a freshman in college, my friend Lisa and I would study for exams in the lounge at the end of our hall. Up on the third floor in Branscomb.
One night, we were studying for finals and it was probably somewhere between 1 and 2 am. And not much studying was sinking in at that point.
Spontaneously, Lisa handed me a piece of paper and said, “Let’s write down everything we can think of that makes us happy. Everything we’re grateful for.”
I remember looking at that blank piece of notebook paper thinking maybe I could fill up close to all those lines. Off we went, each writing down all the things that brought us joy. We were grateful for a break from studying, that’s for sure!
I wrote things like ~ tulips, hikes in the woods, ice cream, creek walks, sunny days and blue skies. I got to the end of the page and started on a second column. Then, I started writing in the margins ~ kittens, concert crew, reading a great book, hugs, laughter.
By the time we finished, we had both filled an entire sheet of paper, front and back, with all the things we felt grateful for.
Then, with a little more popcorn and Coca-Cola, we went back to studying for exams. Refreshed and filled up.
Empowered by Gratitude
When I look back to that moment over 40 years ago, I mostly remember the feeling that came after focusing on gratitude. Honestly, I was surprised at how many things just kept popping into my head, for one. But I also remember feeling so much better after writing it all down. Like the gratitude shifted something in me. In a simple but powerful way.
I truly think that gratitude can be empowering. And that we can feel more grounded and present and willing to face whatever comes our way after focusing, even for just a few minutes, on gratitude.
Not in an overly saccharine or toxic positivity kind of way. But in a way that allows us to embrace our lives with more courage and confidence, knowing that along with the challenges, there are also bright spots of pure joy.
Fill Yourself Up with Gratitude
My gratitude practice these days is super simple! Every day, I write down 3 things I’m grateful for.
And this has helped me realize, even on days that I think are the worst ever, that I can always find joy in something to be grateful for, no matter how small.
As I write and record this episode, we’re getting close to the Thanksgiving holiday here in the US. And this time of year, I always like to share some thoughts on gratitude with you.
So if you want to hear more, go check out these two past episodes from the podcast archives:
- What Are YOU Grateful For? Episode #59 includes a beautiful set of Quote & Inspiration Cards in the show notes that you can download and print.
- If you want some ideas for cultivating gratitude in children ~ such as making a gratitude tree, basket, or jar ~ check out Episode #7, Practicing Gratitude as a Family.
I’m grateful for you…
I want to close by saying how incredibly grateful I am for you! This podcast would not exist or be able to grow the way it has without listeners like you. We’re close to 60,000 downloads which is mind-boggling to me. Thank you so, so much for this!!!
And thank you for the work you’re doing in the world by helping children learn and grow. It’s such incredibly important work. And I want you to know that I see you and I am grateful for all you do to help make this world a better place.
I am truly grateful from the bottom of my heart.💜
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