Friday, July 19, 2024

Gratitude Café

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My late husband, Kent Lindsey, taught me everything I know about Gratitude. He was someone who was thankful for what I considered mundane. Daybreak. Chicken salad. A good song.  He was so grateful, he named our back patio, the Gratitude Café, taken from a lyric in a Jason Mraz tune:

“I keep my life on a heavy rotation
requesting that it’s lifting you up,
up, up and away,
and over to a table
at the Gratitude Cafe.
And I’m finally there
and all of the angels
They’ll be singing….”

When Kent was diagnosed with cancer, he considered it a “gift,” because it brought the people he loved together. I didn’t get it.

It took me a long time to come to terms with life after he passed. Eventually, sorrow morphed into something else. I became grateful for what “was.” I had something that others only dream about. I was the recipient of unwavering love for almost 30 years. Thinking about it blows my mind. My gratitude has blossomed into giving thanks in every corner of my life. Every Sunrise. Every opportunity. Health. Our daughter. The love of friends and family. For life itself.

Kent used to say that the Gratitude Café isn’t a place. It’s a state of mind. It’s always open. And there’s always a seat at the table. You’ll find me there. And most of the time, all of the angels are singing. 

What are you grateful for?

“I am 78 years old and grateful I am still in good health. Very grateful for my loving family and friends.” Sally B.

“A couple of years ago, I embarked on a gratitude practice that I credit with rewiring my brain and my outlook. I’m deeply grateful for this practice, for where I find myself geographically and in life, and for the people who helped steer and guide me here.” Bob W.

“I am grateful for the women in my life, mother, wives, daughters, and friends, who have loved and supported me over the years in spite of my faults. They know who they are. From a very serious bout with cancer, I am particularly grateful to the evolution of modern medical science and the practitioners thereof for bringing me back to complete remission.” John G.

“I wake up every morning with a grateful heart for being allowed to see another day. I’m very grateful for being loved and appreciated by my family and friends.” Roxanne K.

Embracing Gratitude: A Path to Health and Well-Being

Thanksgiving is one day a year, but National Gratitude Month, observed each November since 2015, lasts 30. If you want to truly enjoy the “pulse of the good life”, adopting an “attitude of gratitude” should be a year-round commitment. That’s because multiple studies by leading research institutions like Harvard University and Mayo Clinic reveal many mental, emotional and physical health benefits of simply practicing gratitude, particularly among the aging adults.

In his book, The Art of Appreciation, Jacksonville-based author and motivational speaker Leonard Chatman, Jr., talks of witnessing his mother struggle with multiple sclerosis and lose her vision within 24 hours of that diagnosis when he was three years old.

“That diagnosis changed the trajectory of our whole family’s lives,” he said. “Yet, I’ve never heard or seen my mom complain or quit.

Challenging moments can shape you. But they can also break you if you don’t carry the right mindset. The proper mindset is always gratitude.” Research backs that claim. A Harvard Medical School study found that grateful individuals are 25 percent happier, exhibit fewer symptoms of depression and anxiety and are more likely to adopt healthier lifestyles, including regular exercise and balanced diets. A Mayo Clinic study showed that practicing gratitude leads to better sleep and fewer aches and pains

Research published in Psychology Today and involving a series of gratitude intervention-based experiments showed that those engaging in gratitude experienced slower and steadier heart rates, enhanced ability to regulate emotions and a marked improvement in motivation-related brain activity.

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