What a breath of fresh air it is to interview the original Bachelorette star Trista Sutter. From the moment she walked into the KKTV 11 News studios I felt like I had met an old friend. I guess that's what living a life full of gratitude does.
Trista is promoting her new book, "Happily Ever After: The Life Changing Power of a Grateful Heart." I talked to her about how she got the idea for the book and what one thing you can do right now to live a more grateful life.
Trista told me she wrote the book to inspire people and leave a legacy for her children. "Every day on social media I post my favorite part of the day (#favpartofday) as a way to focus on the positive and think about the good things, especially if it was a not so great part of the day," she said. "I just want to be able to put something out into the universe that inspires people."
Sutter says the book is not just about her. It has stories from her life, from her family and friends, from people who inspire her and research about how gratitude can make your life happier.
Sutter told me her editor guided her to write to moms. But she feels the book appeals to all readers. "Who can't use gratitude to make their life happier," she said.
At the end of each chapter Sutter has several "Happily Ever Actions" that readers can use to inspire them to live a more grateful life. I asked Sutter to pick just one for people to use right away. She suggested thinking about or writing down what you're grateful for each day. "Do something that consciously you are choosing to be grateful for like doing your favorite part of the day," she said. "I got my kids gratitude journals and have them each write in them or draw a picture."
Here is an excerpt of Sutter's book:
IN SICKNESS AND IN HEALTH, AT THE SPA AND ON THE SLOPE
Every year on my birthday, Ryan sends me off for an incredibly cherished visit to a fabulous local spa for the day. It’s one of my favorite traditions. I get a day to feel pampered and have the cares of the world massaged away . . . at least momentarily. All I have to do is lie back and relax and say thankful prayers for being so lucky.
The other 364 days of the year, Ryan and I realize how important it is to our individual sanity to indulge in a bit of “me time,” so we try our best to strike a balance of when we’re each allowed to be off the parenthood clock. On the rare occasion that my girlfriends and I can plan a night away from our duties at home, I give my goodnight kisses and hand over the kids’ reins to the man of the house. Pass this mama a glass of red wine and a gab session with the girls, and I’m a happy camper. On the flip side, if we wake up to a fresh-powder day in the winter, or a cool day full of sunshine in the summer, I practically shove Ryan out the door with his snowboard or mountain bike. Without that time to enjoy his passions, he would not be the man I fell in love with, and I want that man around for a really, really long time.
Part of a healthy relationship is not just creating time with each other, but creating time for each other. It’s making sure that your partner nourishes the hobbies and passions and interests that make up the person he or she fell in love with, and vice versa. Not only is it a way of keeping resentment at a minimum, but by encouraging your partner to do what he loves, you are saying: I love you. I appreciate you. I am grateful for you.
There are few better feelings than those.
HAPPY LIFE, HAPPY WIFE . . . AND PARTNER
In a study published by the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology in 2012, Amie Gordon and her colleagues found that people who feel more appreciated by their romantic partners report being more appreciative of their partners. Here’s what their results revealed: When you are feeling the most grateful for your significant other, you are more committed to making your relationship last. When you are more committed to making your relationship last, you are more responsive to the needs of the one you love and become a better and more caring listener. When you are a better and more caring listener, your partner feels more appreciated by you. When your partner feels more appreciated by you, they feel more grateful for you—and the cycle begins again. As Gordon said, “By promoting a cycle of generosity, gratitude can actually help relationships thrive.”
But not only can gratitude help those in the midst of good times get to better times, it can help those in an otherwise healthy relationship experiencing tough times breeze past them. According to researchers at the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley, “When we hit a rocky patch, this research suggests, it’s the upward spiral of gratitude that encourages us to risk vulnerability, tune into our partner’s needs, and resolve the conflict, rather than turning away from him or her.” It builds security and helps partners recognize the true value of their relationship.
Reprinted courtesy of Da Capo Lifelong Books.
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