Monday, January 6, 2020


By Kristy McCaffrey

What you focus on grows.

As we move into a new year and a new decade, with a world that has and will continue to push against us in every way possible, how do we ground ourselves?

One simple thing we can do is to cultivate gratitude.

“To be grateful means to allow oneself to be placed in the position of recipient – to feel indebted and aware of one’s dependence on others,” says UC Davis psychology professor Robert Emmons. Gratitude is “an acknowledgement of debt,” and ingratitude “the refusal to admit one’s debt to others.”

A study out of the University of Oregon found that keeping a gratitude journal may change our brains. The part of the brain that supports feelings of reward is flexible. “When we are counting our blessings, this part of the brain is giving us this neural currency that makes us literally richer,” says Christina Karns, director of the Emotions and Neuroplasticity Project.

Happiness researcher Shawn Achor, author of “The Happiness Advantage,” says that at the end of every day take a few minutes to think of three new things you’re grateful for and why. Write them down so you can look at them again at the end of the week. By doing this, you can train your brain to be more optimistic. If you do this for 21 days in a row, you’ll start to see more meaning in your life.

What am I grateful for as I ring in the New Year?

My husband – my best friend.
My children and their significant others.
My dogs, Lily and Marley, a source of so much unconditional love.
My extended family, friends, fellow authors, and my awesome readers.
My work – it’s a privilege to explore my curiosity about the world in my stories.

I wish all my Cowboy Kisses pals a wonderful 2020!

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Julie Lence said...

Great blog, Kristy! And a great idea to list 3 things at the end of the day. I will have to remember to try this. Hugs and all the best to you in 2020!

Kristy McCaffrey said...

Thank you, Julie. And thanks for everything you do to keep this blog running and the authors organized. You're the best!

Julie Lence said...

Thank you, Kristy! I love all of you, too!

Renaissance Women said...

A perfect way to start the new. Thank you for inspiring us, it is appreciated. All the best to you in the coming days, months and years. Doris

Elizabeth Clements said...

I count my blessings every day, but never thought of writing down three every day and reviewing them at the end of the week. May I share that suggestion, Kristy? Such a good blog, as always. Sending you a ((hug)) for bring my friend and always so supportive.