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For November, cultivating an attitude of gratitude

FitnessThe New York Times

For November, I’m cultivating an attitude of gratitude.

You might have seen people giving thanks for something daily on social media. I’m posting each day this month on Facebook acknowledging the things (and people) big and small that I am lucky to have in my life.

Maybe it sounds hokey, but for me, it works to keep me focused on the good and away from the negative chatter and the snark that can surround us. And I’ve noticed that when I’m keeping my eye out for positive things to post about, I notice even more of them. That whole glass-half-full thing is a cliche for a reason.

Last year, November was not an easy time -- my husband was only a couple of months into his deployment, I was in my third trimester of my pregnancy, work was extremely challenging and busy, among other things. This exercise helped me keep my head above water, and I’ll always be thankful for that, too.

Besides, studies show that "attitude of gratitude" has positive health benefits. Said the New York Times last November: "Cultivating an 'attitude of gratitude' has been linked to better health, sounder sleep, less anxiety and depression, higher long-term satisfaction with life and kinder behavior toward others, including romantic partners. A new study shows that feeling grateful makes people less likely to turn aggressive when provoked, which helps explain why so many brothers-in-law survive Thanksgiving without serious injury."

So what are you thankful for? Mine thus far:

1: 30 days of gratitude, part deux, since it helped me stay positive through a difficult month last year: A no-brainer on this one. I am endlessly thankful that Judah is home safe. My heart breaks for so many others for whom that is not the case.

2: Today I am thankful for Baby Orajel because otherwise, I would have gotten even less sleep. (Then later I read about benzocaine risks and wasn’t so sure about this one, but I’m still glad I posted it, so I could arm myself with more information.

3: Today I am thankful for my dear Isaac -- that his name meaning of "he who laughs" has proven thus far to be true, that he loves books as much as his dad and I do, that he is here and healthy and happy.

4: Yesterday's gratitude, a day late: for my sweet Aaron, a most improbable, utterly beloved, showed-up-on-his-own-time-frame kid who's already totally his own self (even though he steals expressions from his dad).

Today’s I’m still thinking about. And feeling better about everything as a result.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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