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An Attitude of Gratitude

Author Aldous Huxley once wrote:

“Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted.”

How true.

Recent psychological theory, however, indicates that an attitude of gratitude is enormously beneficial.

Positive Psychology, Mindfulness, Gratitude Practice. All integrate gratitude as a key element in living happier, healthier lives.

Apparently, the more we practice gratitude, the healthier we become emotionally, spiritually, mentally, and physically.

For a quick rundown on the practice of gratitude, here’s a short article from the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence.

This month in America, we’ll be setting a day aside solely for the expression of gratitude. Whether it be to our god, to our family, to our friends, or to nothing in particular, it is a day to reflect on the things in our lives that bring us joy, success, peace, pleasure. A day to recognize those things we often take for granted, like our god, our family, our friends, our joys, our successes, our peace, our pleasures.

What am I grateful for this year? More things than I can count. The more I ponder, the more things I recognize as true blessings in my life—from the seemingly mundane to the sublime.

19th Century English schoolmaster and poet, Folliot Sanford Pierpont, wrote the words to the beautiful hymn, “For the Beauty of the Earth,” in 1864. I’ve grown up with the words of this hymn echoing in my ears.

For the beauty of the earth,

For the beauty of the sky

For the love which from our birth

Over and around us lies.

 

For the beauty of each hour

Of the day and of the night,

Hill and vale and tree and flow’r

Sun and moon and stars of light.

 

For the joy of human love,

Brother, sister, parent, child,

Friends on earth and friends above;

For all gentle thoughts and mild.

It can be difficult at times to find something to be grateful for, there is always something. And those who actively seek and ponder and reflect on those things—however simple or minuscule they may be, just might find a reason to be happier, more at peace with themselves and the world around them. Worth a try? I think so.

Shall we try? Make a list of at least ten things you’re grateful for.

Here are a few of mine

I’m grateful for good running shoes, for silver rings, for warm blankets, for a gentle husband and joyful children. I’m grateful for Star Wars and paper plates, for Altoid’s Cinnamon Mints and safety pins. I’m grateful I didn’t badly injure myself when I turned my ankle the other day. I’m grateful for early mornings—the quiet and solitude, the time for reflection, the opportunity to watch as the world turns from night to day, as the very shadow of the earth tilts its way across the sky, as the sun fades from the deep purple of midnight into indigo, then azure. I’m grateful for audio books and zippers, pencils and batteries.

And today, I’m grateful for four talented authors whose works appear on our pages this month, with stories worth being grateful for.

Suzanne Vincent

Suzanne Vincent is the editor-in-chief of Flash Fiction Online. That’s what people think anyway. Actually, she’s really a pretty ordinary middle-aged woman packing a few extra pounds and a few more gray hairs than she’s comfortable with. As a writer, she leans toward the fantasy spectrum, though much of what she writes is difficult to classify. Slipstream? Isn’t that where we stick stories when we just can’t figure out where else they go? Suzanne’s first professional publication was right here at FFO, published before she joined the staff: “I Speak the Master’s Will,” — a story she’s still very proud of. While she doesn’t actually have time to blog anymore, she once did. You can still read her ancient posts on writing at The Slushpile Avalanche. Suzanne keeps a house full of kids (3), a husband (1), and pets (too many to number) in Utah, USA. Yes, she’s a Mormon. No, there isn’t another wife. Mormons haven’t actually practiced polygamy since the 1890s. Too bad. She’d love to have another woman around to wash dishes and do laundry.

 

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