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Coaches Corner: Gratitude all year

Several years ago, I saw a post about a gratitude jar. Each day throughout the year, you write down what you are grateful for that day and drop it in the jar. At the end of the year, you open and read each gratitude. I loved the idea, so we adopted it about five years ago. My husband and I will take turns opening and reading each note. We do this on December 31st or January 1st.

When our granddaughters visit, we have them write down what they are grateful for and drop it in the jar. They love writing their gratitude on a small piece of paper and putting it in the jar, and we love reading what they have written. It's a simple reminder to reflect on the past year as we read each gratitude. What we have found to be so interesting, as we read through each one, is that we have forgotten much of the goodness that had come our way throughout the year.

I must admit that we have not been consistent in writing our gratitude every day, but our jar is full by year's end, and it is such a joy to open each folded piece of paper and read it aloud.

We will soon celebrate Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday, a time of giving thanks. Thanksgiving is an expression of gratitude, especially to God. I love celebrating the holiday with family, which has become a priority. Our homes are filled with the aroma of turkey, all the fixings, and apple pie as we gather for an incredible meal to enjoy each other's company. We may even throw in a couple of games. No pressure, just families or friends being together.

I am incredibly thankful for family and friends who bring me much happiness and joy, and I never want to take that for granted. It truly doesn't matter where you are celebrating or with whom as much as it is that you are celebrating gratitude. That in itself is a gift.

When I think about the early settlers and their first successful harvest, I wonder what it must have felt like to reap the rewards of their labor. They must have been so grateful for their bountiful food and thankful for having enough. The abundance most of us have is nothing compared to what the first settler may have experienced.

Over the last several years, I have come to understand that gratitude is the key to abundance. When we appreciate what we have been given, we receive more. When we become dissatisfied because we don't feel we have enough, we seem to have less. I don't know why or how this has been my experience that it just does.

According to Dr. P. Doraiswamy, head of biologic psychology at Duke University Medical Center, giving thanks is good for your health. He states, "If thankfulness were a drug, it would be the world's best-selling product with a health maintenance indication for every major organ system."

Studies on gratitude have shown measurable effects on everything from neurotransmitters to inflammatory and immune systems stress hormones. Other medical studies have indicated that a thankful attitude reduces stress and boosts immunity.

Take time this Thanksgiving to think about and appreciate all you have. Let it be a reminder to be grateful for all things...not just this one day of the year. Reconnect with those you have lost connections with, and don't lose sight of the value of family connections, even if you aren't close at times. Maybe now is the time to find things you have in common instead of recognizing what you don't. As you build bridges to connections, you are well on your way to experiencing love, peace, and abundant living.

"Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings." ~William Arthur Ward

Book signing during the Townsend Christmas Stroll on Dec. 3 from 3:00 pm - 4:14 pm

Jeanne Steele's Building

"Soar" How to rise above the turbulence and watch your dreams take flight.

To connect with Ellie: FB: coachelliewest