I love to laugh. In fact, it’s one of the reasons I married my husband. He’s endlessly hilarious, but as a super introvert, I’m usually the only one who gets to enjoy it. Unlike others who resort to making fun of others to get a laugh, his humor is dry. Intelligent. Kind.
And laughing is certainly a fantastic thing – studies show that a good laugh floods your body with endorphins and even helps with pain management. I’m certainly not knocking laughter!
But I think I’ve found something even better.
I recently fractured my ankle. And while I wish I had a really cool story to share, the truth is that I slipped while getting out of the shower. And broke my right ankle, aka my driving foot. Not being able to walk meant that I needed to cancel a couple of our upcoming trips….UGH.
Super not awesome. And it would have been easy (and even normal) to feel sorry for myself.
But I’ve been trying to practice gratitude, and even started a personal gratitude project. I’m not alone, and some of my favorite mentors, authors and bloggers share about the importance of fostering gratitude. People like Lewis Howes, Leo Babauta, Tim Ferriss.
This is not my opinion, but fact. Studies show that by learning to be grateful, you can decrease pain, sleep better, foster stronger relationships, and even lower your blood pressure and decrease chances of heart attack!
So when I broke my ankle, instead of feeling sorry for myself, I found gratitude.
On the way to doctor, instead of focusing on the pain and inconvenience of the situation, my husband and I listed all the reasons we were grateful. Things like:
- Health insurance coverage. I knew this was going to be an expensive situation, but because I have health insurance, I also knew it wasn’t going to bankrupt me. I was grateful for the situation I was in.
- The fact that all I hurt was my foot. A few months ago, one of my colleagues was working with a candidate who had the same accident I did – slipping while getting out of the shower, only in his case, he hit his head instead of his foot. And passed away. I was grateful for the situation I was in.
- A husband who works from home who can chauffeur me to doctor’s appointments, and to work, as needed. I was grateful for the situation I was in.
- A supportive family who lives a mile or two away. I knew I wouldn’t have to worry about trying to take care of my 5 year old all alone with a broken foot, stress over making meals, or do basic (but all of a sudden difficult) things like laundry and cleaning. I was grateful for the situation I was in.
- A desk job, an understanding boss, and awesome coworkers. For years, I worked as a restaurant manager, and prior to that, as a server and bartender. Had this happened in those days, there would have been no way for me to work. And servers don’t get paid if they don’t work. Even if actually getting to work was a struggle, I could easily do my current job while comfortably seated. I was grateful for the situation.
When we met with the doctor, he showed me my x-ray and pointed out the broken bone. As he explained the recovery process, next steps, and handed me a follow up referral to an orthopedic specialist, he looked a bit bewildered at my exuberance and joy at having broken my foot. But, you guys, I was so grateful for my situation.
Friends, I urge you to start a gratitude project of your own. I promise you it will bring you joy and resilience during life’s challenges.