Did you know Gratitude can boost your mental health?

A poem about gratitude (including some personal additions)

Recently I had the privilege to be a part of a special family celebration and I was overwhelmed with a sense of gratitude that I had throughout the whole event. I came across this poem on A Network for Grateful Living (gratefulness.org) that spoke simply to the gratitude I felt, that I would like to share with you.

In this poem, Carrie Newcomer indicates a lovely practice for incorporating gratitude into her daily life. At the end of her poem, I followed her suggestion and took the liberty of continuing to name and list things that had touched me particularly in my recent family event, for which I feel deep gratitude**.

Three Gratitudes
By Carrie Newcomer 

Every night before I go to sleep
I say out loud
Three things that I’m grateful for,
All the significant, insignificant
Extraordinary, ordinary stuff of my life.
It’s a small practice and humble,
And yet, I find I sleep better
Holding what lightens and softens my life
Ever so briefly at the end of the day.
Sunlight, and blueberries,
Good dogs and wool socks,
A fine rain,
A good friend,
Fresh basil and wild phlox,
My father’s good health,
My daughter’s new job,
The song that always makes me cry,
Always at the same part,
No matter how many times I hear it.
Decent coffee at the airport,
And your quiet breathing,
The stories you told me,
The frost patterns on the windows,
English horns and banjos,
Wood Thrush and June bugs,
The smooth glassy calm of the morning pond,
An old coat,
A new poem,
My library card,
And that my car keeps running
Despite all the miles.
And after three things,
More often than not,
I get on a roll and I just keep on going,
I keep naming and listing,
Until I lie grinning,
Blankets pulled up to my chin,
Awash with wonder
At the sweetness of it all.

**This next section is where I’ve taken the liberty to add to this listing some simple things that I am grateful for of late:

  • Fresh baked chocolate chip cookies
  • Hydrangea bushes exploding
  • Warm hugs when someone is hurting and racked with sobs
  • Those who give up something important (either really special or really painful) to them in order to be present at someone else’s joyous event
  • Bags of goodies and treats
  • The words “how can I help?”
  • Photos of past memories
  • Learning a new dance
  • Getting to know new people
  • Bagels and yogurt parfaits
  • The way a rose opens over time
  • And it’s exquisite beauty at every phase of its life
  • Speeches from the heart
  • Smiles through tears
  • Hamilton
  • Rap and rhyme
  • Families sharing
  • Loneliness eased
  • The art of packing
  • And unpacking
  • Kind shuttle bus drivers
  • Tears
  • Disappointments tendered
  • Family heirlooms
  • Handmade creations
  • Loved ones who are far away
  • Thorn removers
  • Signs that say everyone is welcome here
  • Private talks
  • Public speeches
  • Surprises
  • Rooftops and city skylines
  • Details to perfection
  • Letting it flow on its own
  • Flower art and artists
  • Happy jitters
  • Last minute rescues
  • Plan B’s
  • Lost items retrieved
  • Lightning storms
  • Duct tape and safety pins
  • Not letting tiredness get in the way of helping
  • Sweet music
  • Safe travels
  • BFF’s
  • Being known for forever
  • Drivers without road rage
  • Familia
  • Generosity
  • Laughter that spills everywhere
  • People willing to go out of their way
  • Gratitude and how it feels
    When your heart swells so big and it gets a little stuck in your throat and you try to tell someone else how much you appreciate them, or that they mean so much to you, and your voice only cracks;
    Or your eyes brim with tears, and you can’t swallow because you’re feeling such awe and grace mixed with a warm flush that is not quite a hot flash but oh so lovely in all its aliveness and warmth.
    Or the fullness of your heart when it is embracing and being embraced at the same time, and you don’t want this good feeling to end, but deep in your heart you know you will re-live this warm glow every time you remember this moment again and again, forever…

I wish you many simple and exquisite experiences of gratitude in your own daily life that you can’t help but share.

I’d love to hear from you. What three things are you grateful for today?

If you need help boosting your mental health – particularly to feel better if you’re dealing with depression or anxiety, please contact me for individual or couples therapy.

For more ideas on how to bring more calm and less worry into your life, click here for a free email course on Mindfulness.

Listening with Heart
Cindi Rivera, MFT
Marriage, Family Therapist
[email protected]
(510) 482-4445

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