Recycling Our Blessings

The last thing a grumpy person may want to hear is ‘count your blessings.’ Potentially condescending and dismissive, this advice feels more like a knock down than a hand up.  Our emotions are legitimate, and it’s important to accept them -- not suppress them or replace them with positivity.

But when we’re ready and willing, ‘counting our blessings’ becomes a beautiful meditation of gratitude that, studies show, can increase a person’s happiness by up to 25%.

Every morning I make a list of things I’m thankful for. I start by reflecting on the previous day and all the people who supported me, including colleagues at work, family and friends. I finish  by thanking all the people associated with shops I went to and services I used.

I notice my cheeks draw up a smile and my eyes soften, as images of family and delicious dishes made with love spring to mind.

This morning, when a dear friend’s face came into focus, I felt compelled to share my gratitude with her. A short email ensued with a photo of us last winter and a simple message: “I am thankful for our friendship”. I clicked send and felt my joy magnify as I realized -- I’d just recycled my gratitude.

According to Dr. Robert A. Emmons, the desire to ‘pass it on’ is common among people practicing gratitude. In a study he conducted, participants who wrote daily about what they were grateful for were increasingly inclined to lend others emotional support.

In the vein of Corner Perk Café, whose patrons donate money to pay for each other’s morning mocha, I propose we systemize recycling gratitude.  What if every morning for one week we recognize three things we’re grateful for, and choose one of them to share?

If Emmon's findings hold true, the left over pumpkin pie will taste that much sweeter.

A bit of inspiration:



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