How to Be Thankful


Talking about the weather is a sure sign of:

1) A dull wit.

2) An old crank.

3) A long winter.

Yes, all three! It's been a long, wet, gray winter in Oregon. But, wait, this is not a weather report. This is my how-to-survive guide.

A Guide to Gratitude
Or How to Be Thankful When Life is Sucking The Life Out of You

Drink Coffee
Or tea, warm milk, warm water . . . anything that soothes.

Watch Flowers Grow
So much better than watching paint dry or water boil. Did you know daffodils — my favorite flower — are only $2 a bunch? That's a pop of sunshine for less than a latte! Go ahead, splurge. 

Wear Something Soft
I love cashmere, and regularly stalk Goodwill for thrifty luxury. But a soft scarf works too, or snuggly mittens, a smooth blanket. The world can feel so hard, cocoon in softness.  

Caution: Don't park yourself in comfy clothing. Bursts of comfort are good. Living in sweats (or yoga pants) is bad. 

Bathe in Books
This is a two-for-one pick-me-up: take a bath and bring a book. Or skip the bath and just bathe in words. Either way, you'll immerse yourself in sensory pleasure. 

Eat with a Friend
Or drink and eat. Try not to drink alone or eat junk food alone (for me, chips and cookies are guilty binges devoured in the shame of solitary over-indulgence). Still, to be of healthy mind and body, I try to eat with others. And rarely drink alone — that's just sad. 


I loath exercise until I actually do it, and then I wonder why I didn't get moving sooner. When you're feeling low the pit of lethary is deep, so you gotta start small. Get off the couch, then out of the house, then take a walk around the block. Fresh air is invigorating, no matter the weather. And that first jolt is usually enough to make you want more. 

Start easy. One page. One line, even. You're allowed to write junk. You're allowed to babble. This is just for you. Keep the pen moving. Keep your mind open. Just write. Like moving your body, moving the pen across the page reinforces that you can. Keep on. As Naomi Shihab Nye says, "No one feels worse after writing."

Get a Chia
I don't like dirt or gardening and rarely remember to water the plants. But my Dad — bless his goofy heart — recently sent me a Chia pet. Remember those ceramic pots shaped into animals and objects in which you place seeds and they magically sprout? Yes, so kitschy and corny and fun. 

For sun, for spring, for just a hint of light in the sky. For patience.

Forget Yourself

Read with a child. Make soup for the sick. Hold hands with the lonely. Listen to a neighbor. In short, get out of your head and into the world. There's a lot of hurt, be a balm. 

How do you get through? 


It's Thankful Thursday, a weekly pause to express appreciation for people, places, things and more. Joy contracts and expands in relation to our gratitude. What are you thankful for today?