Before I share my November
Chair's message, let us pause for a moment, take time to think of and continue to pray for the families and those in the Panhandle, i.e. Mexico Beach, who continue to pick up the pieces of the absolutely devastating results left by Hurricane Michael in October. This, of course, hits close to home; our very own Florida Bar missed by a mere slant one way. Then, to learn of the horrific Pittsburgh murders, the Kentucky couple murdered at the grocery store and the terrifying bomb threats tainting our front pages and headlines as we enter into this week. Don't lose sight of the terrible news spreading throughout the country and take a simple pause to just hope for better, less terror and destruction. Less hate and terror. Thank you.
In an effort to shift gears from that, not so easy, I would like to ask you, step back. Breathe and let's try and recall what it is that is really important. This November, I challenge you to give
thanks; it actually can make you a happier person.
November kicks off the holiday season each year, with high expectations for a cozy and festive time of year. Yet, with so much sadness and terror around us, can we really feel grateful and thankful? Research (and common sense) suggests that one aspect of the Thanksgiving season can actually lift the spirits, and it's built right into the holiday - expressing gratitude.
The word gratitude is derived from the Latin word gratia, which means grace, graciousness or gratefulness (depending on the context). In some ways, gratitude encompasses all of these meanings.
Gratitude is a thankful appreciation for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible. With gratitude, people acknowledge the goodness in their lives. It is in that process, people usually recognize that the source of that goodness lies at least partially outside themselves. Thus, gratitude inevitably helps people connect to something larger than themselves as individuals - whether to other people, nature, or a higher power.
Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.
People feel and express gratitude in multiple ways. They can apply it to the past, the present and the future. Regardless of the inherent or current level of someone's gratitude, it's a quality that individuals can successfully cultivate further.
Most of the studies published on this topic support an association between gratitude and an individual's well-being.
Other studies have looked at how gratitude can improve relationships. For example, a study of couples found that individuals who took time to express gratitude for their partner not only felt more positive toward the other person but also felt more comfortable expressing concerns about their relationship.
Managers who remember to say "thank you" to people who work for them may find that those employees feel motivated to work harder.
How can you cultivate gratitude?
Gratitude is a way for people to appreciate what they have instead of always reaching for something new in the hopes it will make them happier, or thinking they can't feel satisfied until every physical and material need is met. Gratitude helps people refocus on what they have instead of what they lack. And, although it may feel contrived at first, this mental state grows stronger with use and practice.
As we go into November 2018, try and remind yourself to think of and share your gratitude on a regular basis, both for yourself and those surrounding you. Here are some of my tips to do so:
Write a thank-you note. For me, writing a note to someone special to let them know that I am grateful for them always puts a smile on my face. It is true that you can make yourself happier and nurture your relationship with another person by writing a thank-you letter expressing your enjoyment and appreciation of that person's impact on your life. Send it, or even possibly, deliver it in person.
Thank someone mentally. There are often times when you know you want to thank someone, and you've written yourself thousands of post-its or emails to do so, but you simply find NO time to actually write it. It may help just to think about someone who has done something nice for you, and mentally thank the individual. Although it may not impact that specific person, it still will make you feel good.
Keep a gratitude journal. Make it a habit to write down or share with another, thoughts about what you are grateful for each day.
Don't take good things for granted. Pick a time every week to sit down and write about your accomplishments, achievements, goals or simply the good things around you - reflecting on what went right or what you are grateful for helps remind us of those good things, which also comes in handy when things may not go so smooth or so well. Sometimes it helps to pick a number - such as three to five things - that you will identify each week. As you write, be specific and think about the sensations you felt when something good happened to you. This task is sure to help you get through a few bumps in the road should they appear.
As we all know, at times, it seems, there is just no time. But, it is imperative, that you stop, take a moment and look around. Look at yourself, your life, your home and take a moment, on occasion, to remind yourself that what you have around you, in your office, with your team or staff, your immediate family or extended, close friends and even acquaintances are YOURS. This month, please remind yourself not to take any of that for granted. Don't let your hard work or THIS life pass-by and not remember to appreciate it. Do not take any of it for granted. Nurture it, appreciate it and take the time to care and make sure to show your gratitude. Even just a small token, goes a long way.
On another note, in October, the Family Law Section enjoyed Nashville, Tennessee, and the wonderful Thompson Hotel. We kicked off with a "bourbon and boots" welcome reception, we enjoyed a tour of the Ryman theater and a concert there that evening, sponsored by Foster Morales, Sockel Stone, LLC. We were honored to welcome Chris Mercer, Mercer Capital, who presented on Business Valuation, good will and shared some wonderful insight to our group about divorce litigation and experts in this arena. In closing, we enjoyed the most wonderful section dinner at Kayne Prime to close out the weekend. Overall, the retreat was a HUGE success in enjoying Nashville, getting to know each other and sharing knowledge, expertise and wearing our cowboy boots, of course!! Take a look at the Family Law Section
for information about the In-State Retreat coming up in April 2019 at the exclusive Ocean Reef Club, Key Largo, Florida. We hope to see you all there.
Happy Thanksgiving & Happy November!