A few years ago, a friend gave me some excellent advice for when I was down or struggling with life. She told me to simply start being thankful for the little things that were going well in my life. I could write these things down or simply make a mental list of what had gone well in my day. Spending even a few minutes a day recognizing what was positive helped me make it through some tough days. Other times, this act serves to remind me that I am incredibly blessed with good health, family and friends.
This past winter, I heard a great news story about how gratitude and mental health are connected. Researchers have even started using gratitude journals with soldiers that are suffering from PTSD. You can participate in a research study by the University of California at Berkeley by heading over to http://thnx4.org/. Their interactive gratitude journal is free and is designed to get you seeing the positive effects of gratitude in your life.
So, you might be asking yourself how this is all connected to running. Here’s how: tonight is a snowy, cold night in Northeast Ohio. After 7.5 miles in the snow yesterday, I wasn’t exactly looking forward to tonight’s scheduled 4 miles. I grumpily (that’s a word, right?) suited up in my layers, popped my head lamp on and got out the door. As I headed out for 3 tours of my favorite 1.3 mile loop, I decided to fire up my gratitude list as a I ran. I’m sharing mine below. Feel free to leave a comment and share your list with me. I’d love to hear it.
Tonight, I am grateful for:
-a husband who supports me and says things like “Do you need me to go with you?” or “I’m proud of you for getting out there.”
-quiet streets where I can run safely, even when they are covered in snow and Cleveland slush
-my $15 headlamp that has not needed new batteries in a remarkable amount of time
-the big, fluffy snow flakes falling in my neighborhood. Looks like I’m running in a real snow globe.
-the fresh smell of someone’s fabric softener drifting from a dryer vent
-and finally, the company that podcasts of This American Life provide me along my way. I love a good story and this 1 hour radio show is full of them. Need some motivation? Head over to their website and download some shows that sound interesting.