from Running Joyfully

Recently, this New York Times op-ed on gratitude has been making its way across the interwebs, and with good reason. In the article, author Arthur Brooks explains how choosing to practice gratitude actually increases your happiness. The simple act of listing the things you are grateful for has been shown to increase your overall life satisfaction. So simple! you might think; why don’t we all do this more often?

Well, because life isn’t all rainbows and ponies and happily-ever-afters. It can be cruel, unfair, incomprehensible, horrific – the recent attacks on Paris are an awful reminder. With so many tragic things in our world, it can be hard to find the good amidst the sadness.

But if we can look beyond the tragedies, we do indeed have so much to be grateful for. This Thanksgiving, here’s a small sample of my gratitude list:

  • My husband – 1.5 years of marriage down, a lifetime to go! <3
  • My family – their love and support boosts me up me in every race.
  • My coach – expertly guiding me toward my running dreams. Olympic Trials, let’s do this!
  • Training partners – I’m blessed with kind, inspiring, tough, kick-ass friends and running buddies who challenge me to be better.
  • A healthy body – knock on wood, I’m injury-free!
  • The opportunity to train – I recently quit my jobs to focus on training for the upcoming Olympic year. I’m grateful for the chance to go all-in on my running dreams.

Dad with the Davis High girls XC team My dad, Bill Gregg, introduced me to the act of practicing gratitude. As a high school cross-country and track coach, he teaches his athletes to run with gratitude (and with joy!), approaching each race and each season as a gift.

Running is a blessing, he says, something we have the wonderful opportunity to do. My dad reminds his team of how lucky they are — to have a roof over their heads, food on the table, and a community that loves and accepts them. This is not the case for many across the world – so when the stresses or pressures of racing seem like too much, one needs to simply remind him or herself that running is a gift, and one to be grateful for.

If you find yourself along the Pacific Crest Trail near Donner Summit at the end of August each year, you just might hear a bunch of high school runners shouting, “I’m the luckiest kid alive!” If you hear this call of gratitude echoing across the mountaintops, you’ve happened upon the Davis High School XC team, at their annual pre-season camp. These kids are out for a long trail run, running together filled with appreciation. Call it hippy-dippy, but shouting out this declaration of thankfulness works for them and it works for me, and I challenge you to try it to. You just might find yourself feeling happier and running joyfully 🙂

Thanks, Dad, for teaching me how to give thanks, in running and in life. I’m grateful for you today and every day. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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