A Split Reminder of Gratitude

europe Nov 27, 2019

At the stroke of 7:00 AM every morning, I wake up to the sound of church bells ringing. I step out of bed, pull back my curtains, open up my balcony door, and stand outside admiring the red-tiled rooftops in the beautiful city of Split, Croatia, and the dark blue Adriatic Sea that hugs it.  It takes about 1 minute for my bare feet to get too cold to stand on the stone floor anymore.  I step back inside, leaving the door open to let the crisp autumn air and sunshine fill my apartment and I grab my self-journal from my nightstand.

I sit up in my bed and I complete my daily habit of writing three things for which I am grateful. 

This morning, on the last day of my month in Split, Croatia, I am grateful for...

  1. The community with whom I'm traveling and our support and encouragement of each other's goals
  2. My able, strong, and agile body that allows me to hike, climb, travel, and explore with relative ease.
  3. The habit of writing my gratitude, that allows me to appreciate both the most exciting days filled with first-time moments as well as the days where "nothing new" happens.

This last statement was inspired by a conversation I had with my fellow Remote Year friends this month.  We asked each other about our favorite part of the month and the answers were split (pun intended).

For some friends, their favorite part of the month was a unique experience like the incredible visit to Krka waterfalls or the Game of Thrones tour (the show was partially filmed in Split).  These kinds of first-time moments create very rich memories, as this beautifully written blog, Slow Down Your Life Through the Magic of First Moments points out.  We have so many first moments in our teens and 20's but as we get older, we have to be more intentional about creating them for ourselves.  And on Remote Year, we have certainly been creating many first-moments that we'll remember for a long time.

For other friends, they did not mention a specific event or tour as their favorite part of the month.  For them, it was just an appreciation of the everyday moments of living and working in this city.  And they were just as happy, if not more so, about their month's experience than those that had more frequent "first-moments".  And that is mostly due to their regular, albeit informal, practice of gratitude.

Study after study shows the positive mental, physical, and emotional effects of gratitude. From better sleep and more quality relationships to more self-esteem and reduced stress.  Gratitude helps us experience more positive emotions such as optimism, enthusiasm, love, joy, and happiness.  It's especially powerful to think about what we are grateful for when we experience negative feelings of jealousy, anger, loneliness, or apathy. 

It's truly amazing how gratitude can change, not only your current mood but even your productivity and achievement of your goals.  And similar to goal setting, writing down what you're grateful for or sharing it with someone, will enhance your results even more so.

When I started writing this blog, I didn't realize that I would be publishing it the day before Thanksgiving.  On this American holiday, it is customary to reflect on what we are thankful for and to share it with others over a delicious meal.  If you don't have a regular practice of gratitude, I encourage you to start it this holiday season.  Think about, write down, or tell others about both those beautiful first and everyday moments and the people that helped you make those moments possible.

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