Dive Into the Deep
Welcome to another season of gratitude. I concede that Thanksgiving is a cherished, reflective reminder to acknowledge our blessings each year. It can also be a double-edged sword. On one hand,, we make a conscious effort to express gratitude for the things we appreciate, while on the other hand, the day after this expression many of us go back to being consumed with fear, resentment, anger and lack.
I love Thanksgiving. I love the ritual of nurturing bonds with family and friends. I also challenge myself to celebrate gratitude, the essence of Thanksgiving, in every moment of every day throughout the year.
Gratitude is a “thing” now, and has already been trendy for awhile. You may keep a gratitude journal or write a daily gratitude list. Does it make a difference? Science affirms it does—research asserts that gratitude increases optimism, reduces negativity, relieves stress, boosts the immune system, improves sleep, helps reduce feelings of depression and anxiety, and more.
Based on the body of scientific evidence, regularly expressing gratitude seems like a no-brainer, yet with the cold, unrelenting, ruthless and often unforgiving circumstances of our lives, how do we balance the full range of human experience with living authentically in gratitude?
Skeptics may scoff, citing constant gratitude as having a Pollyanna mindset, wearing rose-colored glasses or buying into unwarranted blind optimism. Why bother to be optimistic or grateful, they contend, when life is just a cruel means to an inevitable end?
What would it be like if I lived each moment of every day with authentic gratitude? Just asking that question may be enough, without expecting an answer. We each have our own belief system and emotional and psychological predisposition, not to mention the circumstances of our unique life. How we handle those circumstances is ultimately a personal choice. If you’re open to exploring possibilities in personal growth, ask yourself that question and give daily gratitude a try.
If on the other hand, you’re ready to jump off the deep end after watching the newest release of the movie A Star Is Born, I encourage you to go ahead and do just that. As the movie’s title song suggests, don’t go small, stay out of “the shallow” and dive into the deep end. Savor the essence of the opportunity this life offers by rising to meet your fears and moving forward toward your dreams in spite of life’s resistance—and with gratitude, always remember to feel good, live simply and laugh more.