Survival of the Grateful

I’ll never forget a Thanksgiving sermon by Reverend Will Saunders.  He said that although we imagine the pilgrims were grateful because they survived the harsh conditions of their new world, perhaps we should reflect on the possibility that they survived because they were grateful.

Now is that a mere play on words?  a cause and effect riddle?  Or is it a statement about the profound and powerful effects of gratitude?  Research studies link gratitude with higher levels of happiness, resilience, and overall well-being.

I can attest to the benefits.  I have a nightly gratitude practice that I affectionately call “Rest in Peace.”  With my head on the pillow, I list 3 or more things from my day that deserve my thanks.  Not only does this help me rest peacefully, it shines the flashlight of my attention on the bounty in my life rather than on the stresses.

Thanksgiving is a wonderful gratitude holiday, but thankfulness can be a daily affair.  For me, focusing on my life’s abundance and blessings reminds me that my cup does indeed runneth over.  This habit brings my calm and peaceful self alive.  You could say that my very survival depends on it.

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3 thoughts on “Survival of the Grateful

  1. peter

    For me, hand in hand with gratitude is acceptance– of myself, of the ways of others and the unfolding of events. i was talking with a wise friend who’s wife had crunched both front fenders of his sports car in separate incidents, and I had some macho feedback about her inattention. He looked me right in the eye and said that acceptance of others’s ways was his key to serenity and peace. Remembering his words this week of testing has been like a glass of cool water on a hot summer’s day.

  2. dmurgido

    Your “rest in peace” daily practice is a great idea. I feel we spend way too much time on the stresses in our daily lives and those things that are most important with regards to our gratitude, we forget about and never pay it any recognition.
    Thanks for the reminder of what is important and what will help us to become better people to ourselves and others around us.

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