A few years ago I had a colleague whose husband passed on suddenly and unexpectedly. She took some time off and when she returned we all noticed a remarkably deep sense of peace. Some might have been expecting some lingering grief or at least sadness. But she seemed completely undiminished. In fact she seemed stronger.
When asked about this she told us that she had kept a "gratitude journal" during her time at home. Her first entry was short, only acknowledging gratitude for being able to breathe and eat. At first her arms felt like lead as she reached for the journal. But as the habit of daily gratitude took shape, she began to look forward to time with her journal.
At the end of several weeks her entries had become much fuller and extended way beyond her own gradually diminishing grief. She began to notice new things in her neighborhood to be grateful for. Then things in the local news. Then national and global events began to offer her reasons to be grateful.
The daily discipline of being grateful gradually changed her attitude. And it healed her grief.
After witnessing this healing, I became a much more grateful person myself. Although I don't keep a gratitude journal, I have developed the practice of gratitude. I begin each day with it. If I'm having a bad day, I stop and think of at least five things to be grateful for. Even sickness seems to ease its grip in the presence of gratitude.
As we all look for less expensive ways to stay healthy, practicing gratitude presents some great possibilities. Give it a try.