The news has been worse than usual lately. You could be forgiven for thinking that journalists out there are deliberately painting a blacker picture than necessary to make the news more newsworthy. Negativity abounds. Sickness, death, mental illness, depression, anxiety, civil unrest, suicide, hopelessness. My advice is not to spend too long reading it all. Because if you weren’t depressed before you started to read, you will be by the time you’ve finished. I prefer Twitter.

My news is that today is our twentieth wedding anniversary. Twenty years ago today I married Clare. I’ve heard people say some really negative stuff about their spouses but there’s a whole lot of positive to be said as well! The reason Clare and I are still married is that we chose to focus on the good stuff and be patient and appreciate each other. The truth is that we have had a blast and it just wouldn’t have been the same doing it with anyone else.

I write this as I look out of the window at the clouds racing in the blue sky over the tips of next doors’ trees blowing about in the breeze. I can see yellow butterflies fluttering around and swallows, house martins and swifts racing crazily after insects. One even got into the bedroom yesterday and Clare had to chase him out. Beautiful as he was, he nearly landed in my Weetabix. From the vantage point of my bed I can see so many things to be grateful for. Unfortunately, being sick has caused me to focus on the negative instead.

I thought that it would be a good day to write my grateful list and I encourage you to do the same. As CEO of a busy brand marketing agency I am constantly running, troubleshooting problems or telling others what needs to be improved. Stopping to be grateful prevents me from becoming negative about things that aren’t working or about other people.

And, what’s more, I’ve read that research on workers who logged three good things that happened to them each day showed improved work-life balance as well as improvements in depressive symptoms and less burnout.

Twelve Things I am Grateful For:

1 My life – what a gift from God! I try not to waste the time I have been given on this planet.
2 My purpose. Knowing where I am going and what I need to do to get there motivates me daily.
3 My health. You don’t realise how precious it is until sickness pays you a visit.
4 My wife. She is everything I ever dreamed of and more. And she’s still here!
5 My kids. Love them to bits. They are the reason I work hard. They never fail to make me smile.
6 My parents. Having both of my lovely parents still in my life is a great blessing.
7 My personnel. They rock. Cre8ion and Di9ital have the most awesome staff on the planet.
8 My business connections. Blessed to do business with some truly amazing people.
9 My first book. Came out last Saturday. The Crisis Catalyst. Link at the bottom of the page.
10 My church. Thankful to have an extended church family and for the support they offer.
11 The NHS. Imagine having to pay for the service they give? We really have got it good here.
12 Taste and smell. Not being able to taste anything is rotten. If you know, you know.

Maybe you have been running too fast of late and you haven’t taken the time to step back and count your blessings. Why not join me and write down the twelve things or people for whom you are most grateful? Then thank them for the contribution they make to your life. Yours might be completely different to mine. That’s ok. You’ll make their day. So, go ahead, write a thank you note, text, or email.

Expressing gratitude can help you feel more connected to other people in your life. Research has shown that small gestures like this can have a significant impact on well-being. It also allows you to focus on what you appreciate about another person, which can bring you happiness and satisfaction.

Whether it’s a thumbs up in a Zoom meeting or a simple statement during a telephone call, letting someone know you are grateful for them not only improves your mood, but improves their mood as well.

So, go for it, start getting grateful and change the atmosphere!

My book, ‘The Crisis Catalyst’ can be downloaded here.

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