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Cheri Burcham

I read this article from Extension Educator Kristin Bogdonas’s blog “Turnip the Beet! Nutrition and Wellness”, and I wanted to share it with you. I thought this was great advice and motivation for the new year:

1. Be Grateful

Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never, ever have enough. –Oprah Winfrey

This quote reminds us that we need to live gratefully. How do we do this? Remember that this moment is not earned but given. The greatest gift of the present moment is the opportunity to (fill in the blank). Every moment brings a new gift if we make ourselves available to it. Make the most of all of life's opportunities and you will experience more joy. A grateful world is a happy world.

Here are three ways to express your gratitude:

  • Send hand-written letters to say 'thank you'
  • Give someone your undivided attention (this includes digital distractions)
  • Share your knowledge or skills (big or little) with others

2. Slow Down

There is a method to the madness as they say. One way to slow down and make the most of opportunities that arise is to: Stop. Look. Go.

Some may call this mindfulness. If we practice mindfulness in our everyday lives and in every moment, then we can increase that gap between impulse and action. Impulse control is important for healthy relationships, purchasing habits, eating behaviors and much more! We could all use a little more impulse control around the holidays.

Here are three ways to develop mindfulness:

  • Stop and take a step back to observe the current situation from a broader perspective
  • Look at the facts, weigh your options, acknowledge other point-of-views
  • Move forward knowing you are making a conscious effort to be the best you

3. Laugh More

If you search for "I love to laugh" in Google, the first result will be the song from Mary Poppins starring Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke and Ed Wynn. This was my favorite movie as a kid and this scene has stuck with me through the years. I believe it's good for mind, body and spirit so I practice it every day.

One minute of laughter is like 10 minutes on the row machine! This "internal jogging" has short-term and long-term health benefits. Incorporate more people, photos, songs, movie clips and experiences that make you laugh throughout the day.

Read more about the amazing benefits of laughter in a publication from University of Kentucky Extension found online at

Your body cannot heal without play.

Your mind cannot heal without laughter.

Your soul cannot heal without joy.

- Catherine Rippenger Fenwick

Source: Turnip the Beet! Nutrition and Wellness

For more information on family life-related topics, contact Cheri Burcham at University of Illinois Extension at 217-543-3755 or at For more information on University of Illinois Unit 19 programming and to read more helpful articles, visit our website at or call us at 217-345-7034. Also visit the Family Files Blog at


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