This feeling of gratitude visits me regularly. It’s like a sunbeam piercing through grey clouds, even on the darkest days of the year, bringing warmth and a sense of fulfilment, making my life considerably brighter.

In the hustle and bustle of the day, with its everyday concerns like looming deadlines, high work pressure, being late for important appointments and faulty laptops, it’s easy to overlook the many daily blessings. Whether they are big things, like freedom, safety, a roof over your head, loving support from friends and family, good health, an enjoyable job that also earns you a living, interested students in the lecture hall, the impact you make with your research or a good hair day (with stubborn curls, that’s a big deal!), or smaller joys, like waking up before the alarm goes off, your regular cup of cappuccino at ten o’clock, the bus driver’s smile or singing along with your favourite song on the radio – there is always something to be grateful for.

Scientific research indicates that gratitude has both short-term and medium-term effects. It is not just a pleasant feeling, and it actually supports physical and mental health in a positive way. Expressing gratitude can contribute to greater life satisfaction, an improved quality of life and increased resilience during challenging times.

As I reflect on the upcoming year, I acknowledge that life cannot be fully planned. Similar to 2023, unexpected setbacks, challenges and successes are inevitable. However, I will strive to embrace everything that comes my way with a generous helping of gratitude. Here’s to a surprising 2024!

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