One Investment That Always Pays Off Big: Gratitude

Things are tough these days — in more ways than one. To deny that things are a bit crazy is to be an ostrich with his head stuck in the sand. (Although, ostriches don’t actually put their heads in the sand. Did you know that? Does that ruin the analogy?)

Turn on the TV, check your phone, read a newspaper, or simply drive past your gas station and you can’t help but become painfully aware that things aren’t looking too good for us humans. Go grocery shopping, (something I used to enjoy doing) and you’ll see that buying a car isn’t the only act that can cause sticker shock. Strolling down an aisle in a supermarket and checking the prices gives new meaning to the phrase ‘death by a thousand cuts.’

So, what are we to do? Since most of us don’t hold congressional seats or run energy companies, maybe come up with a different strategy to save our collective sanity. My suggestion is a simple one. It’s something that I’ve tried and know works: make an investment in something beyond the market –stock, super, or otherwise. It’s not a fix for economic woes, but it might balance out all the handwringing and politician-bashing.

The idea is to simply invest in the deliberate act of gratitude. You have things and people in your life, right? SO, BE GRATEFUL! Be thankful for what you have and for where you live. Actually, stop and smell the roses  (or in my case the lilacs). Become genuinely appreciative of those wonderful family members and friends you’ve been blessed with. That part is easy if you think of what your life would be without them. And do all this investment in an ‘attitude of gratitude,’ intentionally. Consciously think on those things, those situations, and especially, those people. Make it a daily habit, much like you do as you’re checking your portfolio or doom-scrolling on social media. Paying attention to what you’re grateful for in your world is a much healthier habit. You can either run it through your head, like counting rosary beads or make a little list in a daily Gratitude Journal.

Not to go too far out on a ‘wearing your heart on your sleeve’ limb, but writing this reminded me of my favorite singer, James Taylor, and my favorite of his songs, “Shower the People.”  One line says: “Shower the people you love with love. Show them the way you feel. Things are gonna be much better if you only will.”

I once saw a bumper sticker with the saying: “Gratitude is the best therapy.”  I believe we can, together, get through all this tough stuff around us if we remember that. So, shower the people you love with love, be mindfully grateful, and the next time you can’t sleep don’t count sheep. Count your blessings.

-G.E. Shuman


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George E. Shuman is a longstanding Vermont novelist, newspaper and magazine columnist, and former high school English language arts teacher. His human-interest columns have appeared twice monthly in Central Vermont’s largest paper for nearly thirty years and in The Sturbridge Times, a Massachusetts-based magazine, for eight. George’s novels, “The Smoke and Mirrors Effect,” “A Corner Café,” and his most recent, “Cemetery Bridge” are available in Kindle and paperback versions at George resides in Barre with his beloved wife. The couple are the parents of five, grandparents of twelve, and great grandparents of two… so far.

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