Wednesday, November 12, 2014

How to Stay Positive...Even When Your Sailor's Away

The Sailor's Woman
Nanette Field

The Sailor's Woman
In Canada we celebrate Thanksgiving on the second Monday in October.  It's one of my favorite holidays.  An entire weekend devoted to food, family and an extra day off--what's not to like?

This year we had more to be thankful for than usual because my Sailor was home from Afghanistan.  It was good to have the family together on this special day.

Remembrance Day follows soon after and I look forward to it, too.  Not because it's celebratory, but because it feels right to stop and remember those courageous men and women who put themselves in danger to protect our way of life.  There's an element of gratitude to this day, also.  Gratitude that when the need arose, our soldiers, sailors and airmen stepped up to meet whatever challenges faced them.

True confession:  I'm a bit of a pessimist and I worry...excessively. Except for these two special days, I'm not always as grateful as I should be, especially when my Sailor's away and I'm coping with life alone.

Turns out I need to make the effort to be grateful and so should you...even when the going gets tough.

Gratitude can help us cope with stress--who doesn't need that?  Grateful people are also more energetic, happier and more hopeful.

My Sailor's been home long enough that the intitial burst of "Thank God he's home safely!" gratitude has dissipated and we're back to taking each other for granted (more or less).
Here's how to recapture that gratitude that feels so good:

1.  Keep a gratitude journal.  Turns out Oprah was right when she suggested this.  It doesn't have to be fancy.  Once a week or so, jot down 3 to 5 things you're grateful for, even mundane things.  Today, I'm grateful it's not raining.

The Sailor's Woman
2.  Engage in positive self-talk.  This is a hard one for me.  I'm super self-critical, but I'm working on it.  (I'm really smart!  I've written two novels and my Sailor loves me!!  Okay, it doesn't come naturally.  I'm a work in progress.)

3.  Vary your gratitude practice.  Keep your journal, talk to others about positive, grateful things, create art that makes you grateful...  If I was naturally positive and grateful, I'd have more examples, but this is all I've got.

4.  Express your gratitude to others.  I may not always say it but, I'm grateful my Sailor came home safely.  Look how grateful I can be.

Happy Thanksgiving to all the American readers! 

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