With Mother’s Day coming up soon, I find myself reflecting on the ways in which I am thankful for MY mom and on how a practice of gratitude has benefited my life.

It’s never easy to be affected by a chronic condition.  There’s the uncertainty, not knowing from day to day what might occur.  A bleed, a sudden trip to the hospital, or even worse, the emergency room.  Then there is the treatment.  Pokes and sticks are part of the plan whether you like it or not.  And then there is the pain, always the pain.

For many, if not most of us, there is a special person in your life who has been there from day one to help carry the load along this long and winding road.  For me, that has been my mom.  She’s been the constant and caring person who has lifted me up when things were low.  There are many words to describe her.  Some of the words that I would choose right now are compassionate, loving, supportive, and above all – a trailblazer.  She showed me what was possible and never let me think that there was something beyond my reach.  I am deeply thankful for having her in my life and through that connection, I am thankful for her teaching me the art of gratitude.

Practicing gratitude has always been something I’ve been able to incorporate into my life and I’ve found that it helps keep me afloat.  There are so many benefits that come from practicing gratitude.  Studies show that practicing gratitude can help you have better psychological and physical health.  It can help you sleep better, improve your self esteem, and reduce anger. It’s true, it really works!  It works even better than binge watching the Office!

Some of the ways that I make gratitude a practice (and I hope you will try some too!) are:

  • Savor the good things! Take a moment to really enjoy the things you love and you will find more appreciation!  For instance, your morning coffee, how it smells, the taste.  Who isn’t thankful for that first cup?  (…or that third and fourth cup…)
  • Observe how many times a day you say, “thank you” to others. And also, recognize what your body feels like when you say it!  It’s important that when you say it, feel it!  Feel thankful.
  • When you wake up in the morning, find things to be thankful for, every-single-day, and get creative! There are so many things to be thankful for!  I tend to start with my family, my dogs, and this special back scratcher that hits just the right spot!  Seriously, it’s a game-changer.

So to round this all out, I want to bring it back to my mom.  I am so grateful, everyday, that she is a part of my life and my family’s lives.  She sure has some stories of what it was like having baby Mark.  And she got us through it all.    So thanks, mom!  And thanks to all those out there that do the work of mothering.  No one would be who, what, or where they are without you!

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