Appreciation – grateful recognition. That’s the definition in Webster’s New World Dictionary.

  I really like that definition.  But right now,  I am experiencing a total surge of appreciation that is just glowing inside me.  I am not needing to search for a reason to feel grateful – to be full of appreciation.  It’s overwhelming.

After all my discomfort, concerns and apprehension of facing surgery for, most fortunately my first time ever, I am filled to the brim with appreciation for those who cared for me at Gundersen Lutheran same-day surgery (professional, warm, absolutely caring) and the outpouring of attention and emotional support I have received from my family and friends. Wow!

So this appreciation – this “grateful recognition” seems like a pretty easy thing to feel. 

 Well…not always.

That’s the trick.

 Even though experts tout how gratitude is one of the best things we can do to increase positive physical and emotional benefits, it’s not always so simple to do.

On a day-to-day basis, facing life’s demands and ups and downs, it is quite human for us to focus more on the downs and pass over the ups.  Even a small “up” gratefully recognized, however, can change a mood or a response.

I think as parents, demands are so great and much is required – worries and concerns, feeling overwhelmed, isolated, sometimes unappreciated, working so hard to do our best. It isn’t always easy to focus on something positive.

But experts say that by practicing gratitude, we can activate the part of the brain that floods the body with feel-good hormones, helping to dampen any stress response.  They say it is a habit that just needs to be exercised, daily, even if only for a few moments.  They suggest, before closing your eyes at night, thinking of a few things that made you happy that day –  made you feel competent, satisfied, proud, joyful, loved .   Doing this nightly, your list will grow – and so, they say, your well-being.

It’s definitely worth the time, I think.

I know I’m on an overdose of appreciation right now because I have received so much.  I have plenty to share and hopefully to spread around.

But, I’m going to try to keep this going.  I like to think that I’ve been pretty good at it but I know that, like most people, I easily begin to take things for granted instead of grateful recognition of the simple things that enrich my life.

So let me tell all of you now how grateful I am for the opportunity to write this blog and share my thoughts with you and I’m definitely appreciative for those of you who read it.


Happy Valentine’s Day!

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