Gratitude For What Isn’t

by Cathey Stamps
Chief Connection Officer, Best Year Yet®

In this Thanksgiving season, I am reflecting on the many facets of gratitude, which is getting ever more attention in the media for benefits far beyond a few moments of feeling good. Psychology Today reports that gratitude can increase energy, optimism and empathy, leading to a more fulfilling life. NPR recently produced a story that said gratitude may reduce the risk of heart disease. Other benefits being reported include reduced stress, more enjoyment of life and, according to Forbes magazine, even more success in your career.

While real gratitude is an attitude cultivated over time, we can certainly use daily mindfulness to help us achieve it. I know that for myself, stopping to reflect on what I am grateful for makes a huge difference for me, helping me focus on what’s most important and redirecting my energy and efforts into those areas of my life.

What am I grateful for? My health, of course. A wonderful family, a safe home, the daily freedoms I enjoy, opportunities and potential that I have, good music to listen to and inspiring books to read, meaningful work that makes a positive difference in the world – the list is long and deep.

This year I am very aware of my gratitude for the things I don’t have – things that in my younger years I really thought I wanted, that I believed I needed to have a happy life. Those past relationships that were not good for me, but that I was so sad to lose in the moment. The career paths that never got off the ground or took turns that didn’t end up where I had dreamed they would go. The hundreds of roads that I did not take that made room for the right ones, the ones that led me to the life I am so grateful for today. As Garth Brooks sang, thank God for unanswered prayers.

This year, as I stop to reflect on the many blessings I have received, I count the things I have and the things I was denied with equal measures of thankfulness. They have all contributed to the richness of my life and led me to the perfect place for me – a place of meaning, joy, love, purpose, service, community and, of course, gratitude every day.


About the Author

Cathey StampsOriginally from Nashville, Cathey lived a successful dual career as a psychotherapist and a working musician before moving into full-time marketing and communications. She received her BA in Broadcasting, working at the Nashville CBS affiliate before getting her Master’s degree in Social Work. A born networker, she has produced events ranging from national conferences and gallery crawls to spoken word performances and multiple-artist music events throughout the Southeast and Midwest.

Cathey is a certified Partner with Best Year Yet®, where she also serves as Chief Connection Officer. You can easily identify her in the mix by her slightly twisted humor, multiple music references in blog posts, and that little bit of Southern twang that will be there until the day she dies.

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