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  • Writer's pictureJulie Love

Gratitude

Updated: Jan 4, 2023

From the Archive: November 2016


In a few weeks, we will once again celebrate Thanksgiving, a holiday dedicated to family and gratitude, as well as food and football. While we all look forward to the holidays, we can also find them overwhelming, piling all that celebration and gratitude into such a short time.

I think we could all benefit from making Thanksgiving both larger and smaller. Larger, by not focusing so much on the one special day that we ignore the idea of gratitude the rest of the year. And smaller, by recognizing gratitude doesn’t have to be reserved for grand, sweeping declarations about everything that we have to be thankful for. We can all benefit from taking a moment to pause and recognize the myriad tiny joys we encounter every day – whenever we encounter them. The play of light on the clouds. The taste of your first sip of coffee in the morning. The feel of a child’s hand in yours. Or of a warm cat, purring in your lap. A friend’s smile when they are happy to see you. A favorite song on the radio. A short, funny joke.


This is not just the old cliché, “take time to smell the roses.” It can be a key aspect of developing mindfulness. Mindfulness is the practice of turning your attention away from stress and anxiety by focusing on the here and now. In “Just One Thing,” Dr. Rick Hanson spells out simple steps to gradually improve your ability to be mindful. (http://www.rickhanson.net/writings/just-one-thing/)


We all want to help the kids we work with. We want to help them learn to cope with distress. We recognize that a few minutes of stillness each day can tremendously help children learn to settle and focus better. We encourage them to learn self-soothing techniques to better manage strong emotions. We understand that mindfulness will help them succeed in school, in their friendships, in their lives.


But we are slow to accept that the best way to teach them all these vital skills is to demonstrate them in our own lives. So, take a moment, whenever a fleeting glimpse of beauty enters your life, to notice it. Admire it. Appreciate it. It’s worth it.

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