This time of year many of us take the time to reflect on our life. We look at our past months or years and think about where we are, and where we are going. This is a good time to notice the positive in our lives and express gratitude for all that we have. So many of us take basic things for granted. We instead focus on what we do not have, on what we feel we need, or on the difficulties we face, individually or collectively. If you are reading this you have the ability to see and can access the internet in some way. It is likely you have a place to live and food to eat. You are alive right now. You can breathe. You can notice and feel grateful for the sun, rain, water, and the earth we live on. As I write this I am looking out at the sage in my garden and the hummingbird that sips its nectar from the purple flowers.

I am thankful for the hummingbirds and the flowers.

Perhaps you have friends and/or family that have helped you in some way. Have you let them know you appreciate them? You may find that they feel the same way about you. Even if they do not or cannot express it, reaching out to thank others for their help or kindness, or for just being there, brings you closer to others. We all need support at some point in our lives. Humans would not exist as a species if we did not have community relationships. Feeling and expressing gratitude reduces stress, and that extends our health span (as opposed to life span). Optimists do live longer and healthier lives.

So tell someone you know how much you appreciate them. Thank them for even their small kindnesses. They will feel better, and you may find that you feel better too.