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Sarah Stultz: Developing an attitude of gratitude in life

Nose for News, By Sarah Stultz

With many people feeling burdened with the happenings in the world right now, the president of my church issued a challenge last Friday, asking those of our faith, and any others who would like to participate, to take part in a social media challenge for the seven days leading up to Thanksgiving. The challenge was to give thanks for something each day and essentially turn social media into our own gratitude journal. Coupled with saying prayers of thanks, he encouraged us that showing gratitude can bring hope and healing.

I’ve always been impressed when I see those people who share something they’re thankful for during the whole month of November leading up to Thanksgiving, and I was ready to take on the challenge.

Several of my friends agreed to take on the challenge as well and before I knew it, my Facebook feed was full of declarations of gratitude.

Wow — it was quite different than what I was seeing all too much only a few weeks before of incivility, hatefulness and overall stress and anxiety surrounding the recent election and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Though we’re still in the middle of the seven days as I write this, I’ve loved reading all of the heartwarming posts of people who are grateful for all kinds of things: anything from family and friends to nature to the simple things in life like downtime, cookies and technology.

I’ve found that shifting my mindset to the things I am grateful for — and there are many — has been especially uplifting.

If you’re having a hard time this year or even as we go into the holiday season, take a minute to purposefully reflect on what you’re grateful for as much as you can.

You’ll find you’ll have more optimism for the future, be more likely to help others, deal with stress better and even see physical benefits from it.

It may not be easy at first and will often require conscious effort, but I know in just these few short days the boost myself and others have received. Check out #givethanks to read the thousands of stories people are sharing this week.

“To express gratitude is gracious and honorable, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live with gratitude ever in our hearts is to touch heaven.” — Thomas S. Monson

Sarah Stultz is the managing editor of the Tribune. Her column appears every Tuesday.