September 5, 2017 at 3:32 p.m.

An attitude of gratitude

By Kelli [email protected] | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment

This time of year always gets me to thinking about thankfulness. I don't know if it's the declining hours of sunlight making me melancholy, being with family for the holidays, the colder weather forcing me indoors, the after-effects of turning another year older, or yet again trying to figure out how to fit Christmas presents into the household budget. Likely it is a combination of all those things.
Funny how as I sat down to write a column about gratitude I found my fingers typing out all my frustrations instead.
Sometimes I really feel like all we do is struggle. I keep thinking that someday, after all this hard work, we should be more financially secure. It should eventually become easier to keep the house clean and stop constantly questioning my parenting abilities.
One would think that with the passage of time we would have fewer issues, but it seems the opposite. I never used to be afraid of heights, but now they freak me out. I never used to be claustrophobic, but now I can't even go into a single cave at a popular campground with my kids. There have not been any traumatic events to make me feel this way, just suddenly this paranoia turned up.
It is all rather overwhelming some days and it is pretty darn easy to start feeling sorry for myself. If only I was smarter, stronger, faster, more organized, more efficient, this would all be easier, right?
Probably not.
After reading what I just wrote, I quickly realized I need to chill out.
There are only a couple of things that make me feel better when I get thinking this way. One is to take a moment, acknowledge how I am feeling, and then make a conscious decision to move on. The other is remembering to give thanks - that good ol' attitude of gratitude.
I don't even think it matters who you are giving thanks to. Many choose to thank God, but any form of gratitude is a good thing. Many religions "give thanks and praise" in one form or another. I think there should be thankfulness across the board, from the devout to atheists. The world would be a much better place if people were filled with appreciation.
The actual science behind thankfulness is really interesting.
Recent studies have concluded that the expression of gratitude can have profound and positive effects on our health, our moods and even the survival of our marriages. Happiness, good health and a good marriage? Those are pretty good returns on shifting your focus to thankfulness.
A recent study at the University of Texas Health Science Center concluded "a growing body of research shows that gratitude is truly amazing in its physical and psychosocial benefits."
If you start looking up quotes on gratitude you are pretty sure to find something that works for you. Here are some of my favorites:
"Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn't learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn't learn a little, at least we didn't get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn't die; so let us all be thankful." - Buddha
"How easily we get trapped in that which is not essential - in looking good, winning at competition, gathering power and wealth - when simply being alive is the gift beyond measure.- Parker J. Palmer
"It is not good for all our wishes to be filled; through sickness we recognize the value of health; through evil, the value of good; through hunger, the value of food; through exertion, the value of rest." - Greek Proverb
"Gratitude is riches. Complaint is poverty." - Doris Day
But I must say, of the 40-plus quotes I read through on gratitude, this one by Meister Eckhart may say it the best, "If the only prayer you ever say in your whole life is 'thank you,' that would suffice."
So thank you for my beautiful family that sometimes drives me crazy, the food on my table that I had to cook, this house I have to clean, the car I have to pay for, the work that I must do. Thank you.
Kelli Boylen is a former full-time Dairy Star staff member who is now a regular freelance writer for the paper. She grew up on a dairy farm in southern Wisconsin and now lives in Northeast Iowa with her husband and two children. Kelli also writes a blog at[[In-content Ad]]


You must login to comment.

Top Stories

Today's Edition



27 28 29 30 31 1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30

To Submit an Event Sign in first

Today's Events

sep 27, 2023 @ 12:00pm
sep 27, 2023 @ 12:00pm