By Marilesa Fabriga
Gratitude means thankfulness, counting your blessings, noticing simple pleasures and acknowledging everything that you receive. It means learning to live your life as if everything were a miracle, and being aware on a continuous basis of how much you’ve been given. Gratitude shifts your focus from what your life lacks to the abundance that is already present. In addition, behavioral and psychological research has shown the surprising life improvements that can stem from the practice of gratitude. Giving thanks makes people happier and more resilient, it strengthens relationships, it improves health and it reduces stress.
People tend to take for granted the good that is already present in their lives. There’s a gratitude exercise that instructs that you should imagine losing some of the things that you take for granted, such as your home, your ability to see or hear, your ability to walk or anything that currently gives you comfort. Then imagine getting each of these things back, one by one, and consider how grateful you would be for everyone. In addition, you need to start finding joy in the small things instead of holding out for significant achievements – such as getting the promotion, having a comfortable nest egg saved up, getting married, having the baby and so on–before allowing yourself to feel gratitude and joy.
Another way to use giving thanks to appreciate life more fully is to use gratitude to help put things in their proper perspective. When things don’t go your way, remember that every difficulty carries within it the seeds of an equal or greater benefit. In the face of adversity ask yourself: “What’s good about this?”, “What can I learn from this?”, and “How can I benefit from this?”
A common method to develop the practice of gratitude is to keep a gratitude journal, a concept that was made famous by Sarah Ban Breathnach’s book “Simple Abundance Journal of Gratitude.” This exercise basically consists of writing down every day a list of three to ten things for which you are grateful; you can do this first thing in the morning or before going to bed at night. Another exercise you can try is to write a gratitude letter to a person who has exerted a positive influence in your life but whom you have not properly thanked. Some experts suggest that you set up a meeting with this person and read the letter to them face to face.
Last year millions of people took the challenge proposed by Will Bowen, a Kansas City minister, to go 21 days without complaining, criticizing or gossiping. To help condition the participants to stop complaining, they each wore a purple No-Complaint wristband. Several authors in the self-improvement genre have suggested that people do something similar to help condition themselves to be constantly aware of the things in life that they’re grateful for.
A variation of the wristband concept is to create a gratitude charm bracelet, with either one meaningful charm or different charms representing the things you’re most grateful for. For example, you could have a charm shaped like a heart to symbolize your significant other, figurines to represent different family members, an apple to represent health, a dollar sign to symbolize abundance, a charm that represents your current profession or a future career and maybe a charm that makes you laugh to represent humor and joy.
Once you become oriented toward looking for things to be grateful for, you will find that you begin to appreciate simple pleasures and things that you previously took for granted. Gratitude should not be just a reaction to getting what you want, but all-the-time gratitude, the kind where you notice the little things and where you constantly look for the good even in unpleasant situations. Today, start bringing gratitude to your experiences, instead of waiting for a positive experience in order to feel grateful; in this way, you’ll be on your way toward becoming a master of gratitude.
Roanoke Valley Gives campaign: The Craig County Public Library is raising money for the beautification of the TDS lot that we purchased. Plans are to involve local youth in painting a mural on the wall and building a decorative safety fence along the wall. The more we raise, the more we can do to make this a welcoming outdoor space for our families. Please consider giving on March 14! Thank you! Here is the link to give https://rvgives.givebig.org/c/rvgives/a/craiglibrary
Photo contest with prizes. Historical treasures of Craig County – three categories: youth, teens and adult. Deadline is April 15. Send photos to [email protected] or come to the library if you need help submitting your photo.
CDBG Planning Grant is complete. You will want to attend the public meeting when the findings are presented in April. You will see schematic drawings of floor plans and exterior of the facility, you will hear about programming plans and funding sources. Stay tuned for the date!