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THANKFUL THURSDAY

I've been keeping up with my gratitude list every morning this month (check out part one and part two of this gratitude list series!). It's been an important time to reflect on my day and better understand how blessed I really am! It hasn't been as difficult this time around, I feel like I honestly have everything I've ever wanted (& so much more than I ever knew to ask God for) - so how could I NOT be grateful?!

But the truth is, we all have days where we see everything from the wrong perspective. We're offended by everyone and feel like there is nothing to be thankful for. This is extreme, but you know you've been there. The gratitude list is one way to keep life in perspective on these days...and on all days. If gratitude becomes habitual for you, you won't swing towards stress and 'world demise' on these days, you'll be ready and you'll be able to keep things in perspective.

This is my favorite season of the year because thankfulness is on everyone's mind (hopefully, more thankfulness and less holiday stress), but wouldn't it be ideal to keep up this grateful and positive environment all year? All of the benefits associated with daily gratitude are things I want year round for myself, and for everyone else.

I think/hope we all want to be known as the grateful person who is beaming with positive energy and optimism, but most of us aren't taking the daily actions to be that person! We're smothered by poor perspective and drowning in our own complaints and offenses...and we're dragging others down every chance we get. I am making the commitment to my gratitude journal year round, because if reflecting for 5 minutes a day has the potential to transform my perspective, my relationships, and the lives of those around me...that is 5 minutes well spent, every day.

One week countdown till Thanksgiving! I cannot wait to be reunited with my fam fam! Here's 3 things I've been grateful for this week:

1. The PAWS (Pets Are Wonderful Support) program. Church has a smile that lights up a room and the patience of a saint. Since our move to Alabama, he's been participating as a therapy dog, and we're all reaping the benefits of this one. Church and I read weekly with two students that need reading assistance. And this past weekend Church, Tyler and I went on a nursing home visit. He made their day...maybe even their week! One of them even asked if I was Tyler's mom, (WHAT?!) so then I went and bought more wrinkle-reducing cream.

2. Flowers. Tyler brought me flowers after work on Tuesday. Just because. Aren't those the best?! The flowers are the tangible gift, but the real gift is the thought. Knowing that your partner is thinking of ways to make your day better is a big deal, one that I'm truly thankful for.

3. Dave Ramsey. Not only am I on the road to debt freedom, but Dave Ramsey's principles have changed our financial future. Tyler and I are thankful we are on the same page with our financial goals and budgeting, but we know many couples struggle to agree on money. We're planning to teach Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University class at our church beginning in January - we're passionate about sharing financial freedom with everyone! And I am so thankful!

And More Gratitude Research...

  • A daily gratitude intervention (self-guided exercises) with young adults resulted in higher reported levels of the positive states of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, attentiveness and energy compared to a focus on hassles or a downward social comparison ...
  • Experimental research shows that individuals who kept gratitude journals on a weekly basis exercised more regularly, reported fewer physical symptoms, felt better about their lives as a whole, and were more optimistic about the upcoming week compared to those who recorded hassles or neutral life events ...
  • Participants who kept gratitude lists were more likely to have made progress toward important personal goals (academic, interpersonal and health-based) over a two-month period compared to subjects in the other experimental conditions ...
  • Grateful people report higher levels of positive emotions, life satisfaction, vitality, optimism and lower levels of depression and stress.

Like I said...sign.me.up. for all of the above!