I talked earlier about how gratitude is so good for every single one of us. I haven’t done a great job this year of staying positive and want to use National Gratitude Month to get into the habit of practicing gratitude on a daily basis. So here are the things I was grateful for this week:
Day 1: I’m grateful for the rain. Sometimes the rain feels right, even though it can be very dreary and it often keeps you stuck indoors. Without the rainy days, however, there would be no plants, no muddy puddles to splash in, and little appreciation for the sun. The next time you find yourself stuck in a downpour simply lift your head to sky, feel the drops landing on your nose, and try to appreciate the nature of life.
Day 2: I’m thankful for nachos for dinner. After a long day of work, laundry, and other errands, I decided to make cheesy chicken nachos for dinner. They were quick, easy, and delicious! They may not have been super healthy but it’s all about balance and letting yourself have a little fun. It’s also really simple: just buy all the ingredients you need from the store (I used tortilla chips, already-cooked grilled chicken strips chopped into bite-sized pieces, black beans, black olives, shredded cheddar and pepper jack cheeses, jarred jalapeños, guacamole, and salsa), layer them up and bake them in the oven for a bit until the cheese is nice and melty. Yum!
November is National Gratitude Month.
I feel like gratitude is one of those buzzwords that people like to throw around when they’re trying to be endlessly positive and you just want to tell them to shut up. But I get how important it is to be thankful for/appreciate all the good stuff in life, especially when it’s so easy to get bogged down in the everyday minutiae. Plans go wrong, mistakes happen, messes are made, and sometimes life just seems unfair, but it’s always a good idea to pause each day and think of even one little thing that has gone right or is just plain good. In fact, experts have found that practicing gratitude not only make you happier, but it can make you healthier, too.
Expressing our gratitude enhances our moods, decreases our stress, and thus improves our overall health and wellbeing. Grateful people tend to have fewer stress-related illnesses, experience less depression, are more physically fit, and have more satisfying relationships. Those are all compelling reasons to focus on the good instead of getting lost in the bad.
Cultivating gratitude is easy; it starts with noticing the goodness in life. I think we can all agree that this year has been a doozey, and I personally haven’t been very good about appreciating the good things I have. And because the benefits of gratitude are accrued over time, I’m going to make it a month-long (and hopefully beyond) endeavor to try to be more positive and practice gratitude. Each week during the month of November I’ll describe all the things I’ve been grateful for.
And, look, I know it sounds easier than it really is. A while back I had a coworker who came to the office one morning with a rubber band around her wrist. When I asked about it, she said she was trying an experiment; she was using the rubber band as a tool to literally snap her out of her negative thoughts. Each time she had a negative thought, she would snap the rubber band. When I told my therapist about it later that week, she helped me reframe this way of thinking. You see, by snapping for the bad thoughts, we become focused on the negative. It’s more likely to make us ruminate on the bad. Instead, my therapist suggested that I do the opposite and add a rubber band or bracelet to my wrist each time I had a good thought and to try to accumulate at least 3-5 bracelets per day. It was pretty brilliant but needless to say, I didn’t stick with it long. It’s hard to see the good sometimes, I get it. But we shouldn’t let that stop us from trying!
I hope you’ll consider joining me in cultivating gratitude this month and beyond. I’d love to hear about some of the things you’re grateful for, but the best part about gratitude is that it works whether you share it with others or keep it to yourself. If you want to share, please do so in the comments. I can’t wait to learn about all of the good stuff that is happening out there. If you’d rather do it on your own, I feel you and support you. But whatever you do, try to find something each day that you can give thanks for.
You know those cute little elderly couples you see on the news or social media who dress in matching outfits and are unknowingly photographed doing little things to demonstrate just how much they still love each other after all these years? I used to read about those couples and wonder if it was true. It seemed like over time love would eventually fade away or get lost between deepening wrinkles. It just seemed to make sense that you would probably get to so used to being together that the other person became nothing more than a presence. People grow apart, after all, and there are countless books written and movies made about escaping loveless marriages with boring partners. Could you really could fall in love with someone and stay in love with them for the rest of your life?
The answer is yes.
I know this because in August 2003, I met the man who has proven to me time and time again just how true it is. And today we’ve been married for 9 phenomenal years!
It’s been a hot minute but we’re finally all moved in. The boxes are unpacked and almost everything has a found a place in the new house. We’re well on our way to being completely settled. We’ve had a chance to meet our super nice neighbors, and we’re looking forward to when we can all safely gather and be more social. We’re excited to get to know them better and really become part of the community.
Hi, I’m Nikki. This is where I blog about my life and personal style. I’m a wife and mom, sushi lover, wine drinker, and coffee enthusiast. Welcome to my little corner of the world where I try to lead by example!