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Gratitude Isn't Just for November Anymore

It hit me as I was sitting in a restaurant a few days ago. I was about to take a bite of the sandwich I had just ordered for lunch. I felt grateful. And it struck me in that moment how wonderful it was to feel spontaneously grateful in the end days of May. It wasn't forced, it wasn't over a turkey or under the gaze of someone who expected a mandatory statement of gratitude. I actually felt it, and I as I did, I took a deep, satisfied breath and allowed it to happen.

For the record, it took a damn long time to get here.

It took many hours of work, years sitting in classes, crying, teamwork, disappointment, research, anger and making really bad choices. It took sick days, quitting jobs, and laying in the backyard wondering what the hell I was doing.

I have been a mental health professional for many years and a seeker of mental wellbeing for a very long time. It would be disrespectful of me to gloss over the fact that gaining and practicing skills to gain and maintain mental wellbeing is hard. It requires persistence, self-discipline and grit. It requires effort, often-times a lot of frustration, and seeking support. It requires humility and taking a hard look at life and the role we play in it. I've heard it said "There is no easier, softer way" and I agree this is the case with mental wellbeing. Sometimes wellness is difficult. It's intentionally choosing to do something you may not actually want to do in order to get a long-term desired outcome. It's pausing when you want to act. It's saying no when you are terrified. It may also be saying yes when you are terrified.

Sometimes, it's a fleeting moment of peace in a local restaurant that you've worked really hard to achieve.

Be grateful friends, for those moments of joy, ease and relaxation. Practice gratitude in those moments. Thank the cosmos. Collect those moments like rare flowers and protect them like you would a precious belonging. They may not happen every day, but when they do, embrace and celebrate them.

Keep using the skills you have learned and keep learning new ones. Practice, experiment and plod along. While you journey through life, be grateful for the good stuff. The sun shining, the birds singing, the weather being exactly what you hoped it would be that day. Your eyes, your hands, your clean running water in the bathtub this morning. Be grateful for the soles of your shoes and the souls you call your friends. Make it a practice to see the good, even in the midst of the hard moments. As I write, I think about having working hands and fingers, a chair to sit on, the ability to buy this computer and the people in my life who made sure I went to school. Look deeply. There are many things in life to be grateful for if you take the time to intentionally seek them. Slow down and recognize the things in your life that are so good today.

Have a wonderful day!


Photo by Magda Ehlers:


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