What are you thankful for?

picture of sylvieWhen I was in my early 20s I started what has become a personal tradition of reflecting on what I’m grateful for at the end of each year. It’s a natural time for this kind of reflection, as the days begin to lengthen once again and the promise and freshness of the new year approaches.

Gratitude is a powerful practice. Shifting our attention toward what we’re thankful for and what we appreciate, rather than what’s lacking or missing, can profoundly affect the quality of our lives. Frankly, this isn’t something that comes easily to me; on the contrary, I’m some what of a connoisseur of “what’s wrong” in the world and in my own life.

So the end of the year is a good time to remind myself of how important gratitude is. And this year I thought it would be a good idea to share what I’m grateful for with you, and ask you to share what you’re grateful for with this community. This is not the same as “positive thinking; it’s consciously shifting our attention to what we are thankful for and choosing to cultivate the emotions that we experience in that appreciation.

Here’s what I am grateful for as 2012 comes to a close:

My family. I’m blessed to have a kind, wise and unconditionally loving wife that I can share both the joy and pain of life with, and who supports me in so many ways. And I am head-over-heels in love with my daughter Sylvie, who continues to stretch the boundaries of my heart until I feel it will explode!

My health. 10 years ago I was still so sick I could hardly work or function. Today I have a successful practice, a wonderful family and an active life.

You. I wake up every day feeling excited about the work I do, and without you, that would not be possible. I’m so thankful for this thriving community of people dedicated to improving their own health and helping others to do the same. I truly feel that we have the potential to change the world, and I’m grateful to be a part of such a smart, passionate and caring group of “revolutionaries”!

My patients. It’s an amazing gift to be able to use my knowledge and experience to serve others. Seeing a patient that has been sick for years get their health and their life back – when they had all but given up hope – is the most rewarding work I can imagine doing.

An ancestral perspective. The more I learn about health and medicine, the more grateful I am for how an evolutionary perspective informs my approach. There are some questions that can’t be answered and contradictions that can’t be resolved with modern clinical science; studying ancestral health can fill in the gaps.

Real food. We’re blessed to live in an area with a strong local food movement. We get our beef and pork directly from a farmer in Sebastopol. We get our A2 raw milk from a farmer in Santa Rosa. We buy our produce from vendors at the farmer’s market. I can’t imagine living in a place where this fresh, natural food isn’t available.

Now I’d like to hear from you. What are you grateful for this year? What changes have you seen in your health? Who in your life are you thankful for? What accomplishments are you proud of? What else in your life do you appreciate?

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  1. Charley says

    Change – My wife and I decided to seperate in April. We had been continually growing apart the past few years. Both of us will be better off. I am thankful that we made the hard decision and are still able to communicate and support each other.
    Family – The friendship and support I get from my family is beautiful!
    Job – I enjoy coming to work every day and I enjoy the people I work with.
    Cooper – my loyal best friend Golden Retriever. The long walks, play time, and smiles make a big difference in my well being.
    Chris Kresser / Robb Wolf / Mark Sisson – my health and happiness is great with the help of the advice from these guys. Thank you for the knowledge you provide!

  2. says

    I’m thankful for my family as well, and my cats (: I’m thankful to have the opportunity to go to a great school like UNC Chapel Hill, and to have met people there that are also into ancestral health. And I’m thankful that I have access to real food, and a kitchen to cook it in, and resources I can use to try and improve my health.

  3. Alex says

    Is the beef you buy in Sebastopol from Victorian Farmstead? Can you share the name of the source of your raw milk? (I’m in the area as well). Thanks.

    • Chris Kresser says

      The beef is from Freestone Ranch. I also get pork from them. They’re in (surprise) Freestone, right near Sebastopol.

      I get my milk from Leras Family Farm.

  4. says

    I’m grateful for the hypoglycemia that forced me to adopt a healthier lifestyle about 40 years ago. Avoiding sugar, caffeine, alcohol, grains and, more recently dairy has made it possible for me to enjoy my 80th year as much as my 40th, if not more.

  5. Su S. says

    I’m so incredibly thankful to feel SO much better now than I did a year ago, thanks to your guidance, Chris, and that of many other people who are not afraid to put their best thinking out on the interwebs. Feeling better and thinking better are allowing me to enjoy the good parts of my life, which are many, and not obsess on the not-so-good which have dominated since, say, the crash in 2008.

    In particular, I am thankful for now knowing that small, relatively subtle things I can do (like choosing not to eat gluten any more) can eventually make such a huge difference in my life, which gives me hope that small, subtle choices that many people choose to make can make life better for the world at large. It just takes a long time and is hard to see at first!

  6. kathy says

    I am grateful every healthy bowel movement I have had in the last couple of months and the knowledge I have acquired from this web site that made this possible. Thank you, your guests and commentators… for all of time, effort and wisdom they have shared.

  7. Merridy Pugh says

    I’m immensely grateful for having found your website, Chris, and for the incredible work you do collating so much information and disseminating it in a readable and understandable way to the community. For many years I have been seeking healing for several chronic conditions (pain, fatigue etc) and have found the mainstream medical approach mostly dismissive and unhelpful. It is a relief to read the balanced evidence-based information you present.

    I hope in ten years time I too will be able to say ’10 years ago my health was so poor I could hardly work or function’ – from a position of increased energy and vigour!

    A thousand thank yous!

  8. Meg says

    Funny, I have just been thinking of practicing gratitude more so your post was a tiny reminder to me reflect on the good things in my life:
    A peaceful home, a loving partner, beautiful grown up daughter, lovely garden to energise and exercise in as well as to appreciate beauty and to hinge me to the ebb and flow of the seasons (it is summer here in the Southern Hemisphere and the bird life is bountiful). I have wonderful health and access to affordable nourishing food and I am grateful to be able to tap into the collective knowledge of the online community. Life is good. Thank you Chris for your wisdom so freely given. I have learned so much this year.

  9. says

    Health – My rheumatoid arthritis has seen some very severe days but this last year has been awesome! I haven’t been able to get off meds, but the meds and diet together have allowed my body to do long daily walks, bike ride, lift weights, hug my family without pain, walk without a limp. etc.

    Family – This year will mark 25 years of married life with my husband. Honestly, he is my best friend. To add to my good life I have a 16 year old son that creates calm in my life and a 14 year old daughter that reminds me to go after the things I am passionate about.

    Extended family – Although all of my family isn’t as close as I would hope, I have chose to focus my attention on relationships that nourish me and my family. I am so thankful for my sister, mom and mother in law.

    Work – I love my job!!!!! I teach Adult English Language Learners. Each day we finish class I am met with “Thank you Teacher.” I feel that with each thing I teach my students, I learn from them.

    Food – We are lucky to have had a family farmer for the last nine years that has provided meat, eggs, maple syrup, honey, and veggies.

  10. Joy says

    I am grateful for my family, friends and my health and living in a country that is not a war zone. Best wishes to everyone here for a happy and successful New Year. Joy. PS Thank you Chris for this great site.

  11. Katy says

    I am grateful for my urge to seek information and research. I just won’t lie down and give up. I had a skin condition crop up again following a break after childbearing years. And just before going back on standard medication I decided to have a look around the net again for the latest info. And my search was fruitful and I didn’t have to go back on the standard meds. And in a round about way the success from this process led me to look again into diet and nutrition. I’m seriously considering re-commencing study in the area of dietetics and nutrition in due course.

    I’m grateful for my patient husband who embraces my seeking personality.

    I’m grateful I live in a society where I have the opportunities to recreate my life.

    I am so, so grateful for my beautiful children who teach me about love, patience, fun and the perseverance to always try to be the best version of myself.

    I like the way you describe the use of gratitude and I shall endeavor to use my gratitude app more often!

    Katy

  12. Lizzie says

    1. I LOVE your site.
    2. “My health. 10 years ago I was still so sick I could hardly work or function.” If you could name ONE thing that helped the most, what would you say?
    3. When are you accepting new patients?!

  13. Tyler Wood says

    I am thankful for many of the same things – family, healthy, lifestyle. Wish I had more local “real food” choices but we do our best on that.

    One tip I picked up in 2012 was to write down the things I am are grateful for every morning. It’s not easy, and I’ve missed more days than I’ve made, but the shift in mindset is the key. It changes the way you look at things. If it’s good to do once a year, or month, imagine being grateful everyday. It’s also good to think about this list every time you think the stuff is hitting the fan. Brings perspective.

    Cheers!

  14. Michelle says

    I’m grateful that I am married to the love of my life! I have a supportive husband, family and friends. I’m grateful I have had a stellar education. I’m actually thankful I broke my leg earlier this year because it taught me to slow down, practice “acceptance” and strengthened my marriage and made me see who and what was important. I improved myself in so many ways and I learned to say “no” to the people and things that were draining me or asking too much of me. I’m grateful I have evolved enough in my own personal growth to be thankful for a broken leg!

    I’m grateful I live in San Francisco, a beautiful, tolerant city with lots of culture, beauty and charm. I’m grateful I live in the Bay Area where I have access to clean water and food, and that I can afford those things.

    I’m grateful that there are people out there like Chris Kresser who know how to approach alternative health ideas with a scientific, empirical approach – and that he generously shares that knowledge on his site.

  15. Evelyn says

    I am truly blessed in sooo many aspects of my life. First and foremost I have a healthy and happy child who has taught me the meaning of true love. She makes me a better person.

    Having family and friends that have been supportive through thick and thin. They have been inspirational and always manage to put a smile on my face.

    I do not take it for granted that I live in a free country that allows me to openly express myself. All people are treated equally in the eyes of the law.

    As a single mom I am proud of my inner strength and limitless energy. My dedication, loyalty and love are
    boundless to all the special.

    I am thankful that I have my health to enjoy the people in my life and live life as it should be…in peace and gratitude

    for

    freelyto express myself openly.

  16. says

    Chris, I love this post.

    My gratitude list is way too long to list here but here’s a few of the biggies…

    My wife and best friend. I love who we have grown to be as individuals and a couple.
    My incredible daughters. There are no words to describe the love I feel for them or the joy they have brought to my life.
    My immediate and extended family. They are always there will love and support. Especially when I need it most.
    The Internet and Blogs for the ability to connect with incredible people and learn from awesome people (like Chris Kresser, Mark Sisson, Davey Asprey and many others)
    This moment. Each second I get to spend in this incredible world is a blessing.

  17. Tina says

    Top of my list you’ll find two people I’m grateful for who have only been making a difference in my life for the past 6 months. Not long but what a difference! I still remember crying every other day in pure desperation and thinking if this is life then all there is for me is retirement – migraine almost every day and medicine not working – been a test bunny the past 6 years getting all kinds of bad medicine that was supposed to make me better but only made me worse. 6 months ago I was in a dark pit but stumbling onto paleo sure made a difference and continues to have an improving effect on my health for which I am forever grateful – so this year I’m thankful for Robb Wolf for his book that caught my attention and turning me onto the paleo track and Chris I’m thankful for u for your podcasts helping me understand different aspects and being a guiding light I have faith in (you’d be surprised how little faith I usually have in doctors). So thank you both for giving me a gift better than any I could ever have wished for myself – a better health and renewed hope for my future – may you have a happy new year! sincerely Tina.

  18. says

    I too am slowly learning to see things in a brighter light. I have a daily boatload of blessings from my family, my friends, and in truth even the people I work with and the fact that I have a good job.
    I am incredibly thankful for my improving health. I have lost 123 pounds (Jan 1) and was able to participate in the Resolution Run (Walk) 2013 this morning with my friend & my daughter.

    This learning journey is made so much easier by people like you Chris, who put a lot of work into providing information in digestible forms (LOL!). Seriously tho – the “blogosphere” as you put it, is an amazing resource that has allowed me to un-learn my university level nutrition courses and manage my own health improvements.
    All the best in 2013
    Meghann

  19. anna says

    I am grateful that I was born abroad away from the luxury, crassness and idiocy of California and was raised to value ethics instead of pretensions of the “cultured.” The culture of Nazi Germany was enough for the world.
    And yes, I like your website.
    dr anna

  20. Deborah Eaves says

    I am grateful for people like you and the sense you make. I am grateful for having a wonderful husband and two beautiful healthy kids (that I hope to keep healthy by following as much as possible healthy eating habits etc) I am very grateful for having lived for 23 years in the beautiful country of Iceland and that my kids had a free and wonderful childhood there. I am grateful that we now have a new life in Australia and hope to make the most of it. I hope that I can be grateful that I have not done too much damage to my health and my kids, before I found low carb paleo (whatever you want to call it)
    Deb

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