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Natural Awakenings Greater Boston - Rhode Island

Seventeen Seconds

With Thanksgiving upon us, I’d like to share some insights I’ve recently gleaned on how moments of gratitude for daily blessings can set the tone of our entire day.

This summer our parent company treated our nationwide family of Natural Awakenings publishers to a 12-week Happiness Delivers online workshop with Life Coach Mary Lynn Ziemer. Saying that I’m grateful for the experience is an understatement.

One of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned is to be grateful for literally everything! It begins from the first stirrings of our day, expressing gratefulness for waking up, to the coolness of the air as we nod off and everything in-between.

The sweetest discovery has been learning to apply gratitude to trigger a change in attitude when life presents hurdles or fears of an unknown future bubble up in thought. The key has been catching whatever it is soon enough, noticing it before it consumes my attention and pushes me into a proverbial rabbit hole.

I’ve heard that we have 17 seconds to change a thought from the negative before momentum kicks in and it gets exponentially more difficult to bring ourselves back into a positive balance. Conversely, when we can keep an uninterrupted 17 seconds of positive emotion going, we more easily and consistently feel good.

These days, whenever I’ve allowed myself to derail, it’s increasingly natural to make a shift by querying, “How many seconds has that been?” Often that’s enough to snap my focus right into gratefulness, realizing that it’s all small stuff in the big picture, no matter how big it might feel at the time. Life’s too important to sweat the small stuff. What relief!

To a joyous and peaceful season of Thanksgiving,

Maisie Raftery, Publisher