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By: Caren Mansfield (Guest Blogger)

Those of you who know me are probably thinking that I am going to roll out my list of blessings and how it correlates to being a paralegal. For the past ten years, I have shared my Top Ten list of blessings in my association’s paralegal newsletter, much like David Letterman, but don’t worry — that’s not what’s happening here today! Being a paralegal means that while we not only suffer from the every day stresses like worrying about bills, traveling to and from work, grocery shopping and family stressors, we also have all those deadlines hanging over our heads and employers who sometimes have to be instructed on what we can do, as well as what we cannot do. So how do we cope?

I heard on the radio the other day that some colleges and universities are now offering classes and studies which examine the topic of gratitude. Whoa, you get college credit for studying gratitude? Tell me more. The University of Connecticut and the University of California have done studies which show that being grateful can make you better. The studies show that participants who journaled and recorded reasons why they were grateful were healthier and slept better than those who did not. The University of Pennsylvania offers a Master of Applied Positive Psychology Program. It’s all about being positive and grateful. If you are interested you can do a search on the Internet to read about this subject.

You say you don’t have time to journal or review more articles online? Here’s what I do — and have done for several years. Each day, when I drive to work (you can do it when you take the train or bus), I take a moment to say out loud (if you are on the train — please don’t talk out loud!) reasons why I am grateful. I have a little mantra, for lack of a better word, of items I use and I outline one reason for each item.

My mantra is: Happy, Healthy, Hopeful, Joyful and Grateful.

Sound silly? Bear with me. Each day I give one reason for each. What am I happy about, healthy – I usually just give thanks for being healthy, what I am hopeful for, what can I be joyful about and what am I grateful for. Even if my morning has been pretty sucky, or I feel crummy, or something is bringing me down, coming up with the reasons makes me realize how lucky I am. Sometimes the reasons are pointed and directed toward what is happening to me that day. But, almost every day after I complete my little mantra, things look pretty good.

Is it too simplistic? Perhaps. I can do this every day and it does not take time away from other tasks. I don’t have to sit in a darkened room to meditate (though that might be suggested) and I don’t have to have a mat or special equipment and I don’t write it all down. So try it, what can it hurt? I hope it helps you to enter the new year filled with the power of positive thinking and gratitude!

Wishing everyone Happy Holidays with those you love.
~ Caren & The Paralegal Society Crew


Caren has been a paralegal since 1987.  She is a member of the Illinois Paralegal Association, NFPA, and NALA.