Gratitude

I once heard someone tell a story about a man who complained about having no shoes. His feet were blistered and worn, and in the winter his feet were as cold as ice. Day after day he would walk through the town complaining about the pain he felt with every step. The man complained about having no shoes… until the day he met a man with no feet.

In our busy worlds, it can be very easy to forget that we have feet. By that, I mean that we have goodness in every single day – even in the midst of our biggest challenges. If you took a breath today, if you have a roof over your head, if you have someone to hug, you have goodness.

Of course this doesn’t mean that we are free of worries. I completely understand the tendency to focus on the things we need to improve, imperfections and wants. When you have bills to pay, weight you want to lose, or a co-worker that drives you crazy, it can be hard to focus on the goodness in our lives.

Fortunately, gratitude is a tool that is always available and one that can be sharpened. Even with my rose-colored glasses, I have days in which it is hard to feel grateful. However, I’ve noticed that when I focus on what I have instead of what I don’t, my entire outlook on life improves.

 

The Immense Power of Gratitude

Research has proven that gratitude isn’t just a nice idea…it has real health benefits.

People who practice gratitude are happier and report greater satisfaction with life. Not because they are wealthier or more successful, but because they are grateful for any goodness they have.

Being grateful has been shown to strengthen our immune systems, improve the quality of our sleep, decrease anxiety and depression, increase our resilience to stressful situations and improve our relationships – all things that promote a healthy heart!

To get the benefits, you have to really understand what gratitude is.

Gratitude graphic2

Gratitude is a combination of being appreciative for goodness in our lives plus the realization that goodness is granted by something outside of ourselves. If you aren’t a faithful person, that could mean karma or fate, but it means being humble enough to realize that sometimes we have breaks or successes in life that aren’t a direct result of our own actions. We might have something awesome happen just because it did.

The practice of gratitude doesn’t have to be time-consuming or complex. It is simply about taking a moment to reflect. Start by making a practice each day of thinking of 2 or 3 things you are grateful for. You can do this in a journal each morning, at the dinner table with your family, or just before you go to bed in the evening. Try to create a habit by doing this daily for one month. If you miss a day, don’t worry – just jump back in to the practice. You’ll be amazed at how this simple task changes your attitude.

 

A Personal Story of Gratitude and My Gift to You

Several months ago, I turned the big 4-0. While some people dread the day, I could only look at it with immense gratitude. I know that not everyone gets 40 years on this earth, so I wanted to celebrate by hosting a Gratitude Dinner with some of the dearest friends I know. This group of ladies, each with her own strengths and admirable attributes, brings grace and support to my life. They are a sampling of 40 years of people I’ve been blessed to know.

Gratitude Dinner

After an evening of celebrating awesome people with some amazing food (courtesy of a very talented chef, Brittany Baldwin), I was completely inspired to use my gratitude to “pay it forward”. This party was the final inspiration I needed to start my newest venture…Hearty Parties!

 

Hearty Parties is all about celebrating what matters most in life. I firmly believe in showing others how to simplify living well and the importance of doing good. This venture is a perfect combination of the two.

At the “heart” of this business is a variety of healthy party plans complete with flexible menus to appeal to the most finicky friends no matter what diet they follow or food intolerance they have. Step-by-step recipes for gluten-free, nut-free, vegetarian or paleo options are included in each plan. Tips for styling your space and other special touches are included in each plan too, so you can wow your guests without the stress.

But the best part is that a portion of the revenue from each party plan goes toward providing 50 meals to hungry kids! Amazing, right? Your party could mean a meal on the table for 50 kids who would otherwise be left with hunger pangs.

I’m SO excited to get this project off the ground that I’m GIVING party plans away, but only to the first 20 people who request one. All I ask in return is that you give me your feedback. That’s it! I would be SO GRATEFUL to hear what you think!

 

Want a Free Elegant Dinner Party Plan? Go for it!

Want to learn even more about gratitude?

 

Photo credit: photo credit: chalk thankful heart via photopin (license)

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