Amy Rees Anderson

Make a List and Check it Twice and Every Day!

Before I get into tonight’s blog topic I just wanted to share that last Friday night I was able to go to a huge Christmas concert which featured the star of the Disney animated feature film Frozen (one of my favorite Disney films), Santino Fontana who plays Hans in Frozen, singing with the world famous Mormon Tabernacle Choir and with guest stars, the Sesame Street Muppets for a huge Christmas concert downtown. It was fantastic! And it was the perfect way to set the mood for the holidays. There was incredible singing and dancing and the muppets were so cute and funny. It was just awesome. If you haven’t had the opportunity to hear the Mormon Tabernacle Choir perform I have to tell you it is truly something else! You can download their past performances on you tube to watch and you will see what I am talking about. Amazing talent!  Okay, now on to my blog for today:

Today I was with a group of ladies and we were asked by a speaker to do an exercise. We were each given a piece of paper and a pencil and we were asked to take five minutes to quietly begin writing on our paper a list of all of the things we were grateful for. We were to write every tangible and non-tangible thing we could think of in our lives that we felt thankful for. The room was silent and we all began writing feverishly on our papers. I started my list with the obvious things like my family and my faith and my friends, but as I continued writing the thoughts of everything I am thankful for came pouring into my mind and my paper was quickly filling up to the point I had to turn it around and start writing in the margins to fit everything. When the speaker said to stop I was still miles away from finishing my entire list as the thoughts in my head kept coming.  But we put our pencils down and looked up at our speaker. Then she asked us to each look at our own lists of what we had written down and to consider when is the last time we thought to thank God for these items in our prayers. It really made me stop and realize that although I pray daily and always try to thank god for my “blessings”, it had been a really long time since I had stopped to thank him for the blessings by name.

I think we forget sometimes to truly express gratitude on a regular basis for all the things we have been blessed with. I know that I am far quicker to get on my knees and ask for specific help when things are going wrong in my life, than I am to get on my knees and give specific thanks when things are going right.  That is something I really want to get better at doing – Thanking God for the specific things I am grateful for every single day.

Expressing gratitude is one of the best ways to change our emotions. It can take us from being sad to being happy in an instant. It can lift our spirit and improve our mood.  It’s amazing how powerful an influence feeling grateful can have on us for the better.  It’s impossible to feel depressed and grateful in the same moment…not only that but studies have shown that people who are thankful are not just happier but they are healthier too!

So my advice today is to make a gratitude list of all the specific things you are grateful for, then check it not just once or twice, but every single day of your life. Add to it as your list of blessings grow. And at the end of each day when you get down on your knees to pray, don’t forget to thank God for all of those items on your list!

Have a great Monday everyone!

~Amy

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