It’s a new year. Already, it looks as though there is much for us to appreciate in gratitude since the dawning of 2017. Years ago, Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote this enlightening wisdom: “Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.”

Still, his message rings crisp and clear. While it can be difficult to stretch the mind to think gratefully at times, Emerson’s words are just the encouragement necessary for changing what can be our weary perspectives into hopeful ones. We desire to enter this new year with a renewed hope and gladness, and gratitude for the good things is a bright way to start.

These five things particularly mark turning points towards health of multiple kinds — in the workplace, for the body, for the mind, for emotional well being, for the environment. I remember sitting at the dinner table as a young girl and my dad going around to each of my family members to listen for what we made us grateful; he consistently inspired us to start with our health. Advancements in human health are the basic miracles of today, allowing us to appreciate the simple, sustaining gifts of everyday life to a greater extent. Today, we aim to rejoice in them.

1. French Workers Granted New Legal Right (1/1)

In France, a new law called “the right to disconnect” has recently begun its enforcement. Advocates for the law claim that employees who are expected to tend to their email outside France’s working week of 35 hours are not being paid justly for their overtime. They argue that this can carry with it implications of stress and burnout. The law was introduced in a group of labor laws in May of last year. It being the only one of these laws to resist widespread protest and strikes tells us that it might, in fact, be on its way to working well in France.

For more on this story, read here.

2. Oldest Yoga Teacher (1/10)

Ninety-eight-year-old Tao Porchon-Lynch was declared the world’s oldest living yoga instructor by the Guinness World Records in 2012. She started practicing yoga nine decades ago in India, when she saw a group of boys doing yoga and asked to join. She says that she has practiced for so long because, “The overall sense of mental, physical and emotional wellness that comes from even just yogic breathing can do wonders.”

She rises at 5 a.m. daily to go her studio and practice yoga by 8:30 a.m. Each day, she also teaches several classes. She led a retreat of more than 1,000 students in the Bahamas earlier this month. Her grounded words are so simple and good; she says, “Know that the joy of living is right inside of you. Believe it. Believe in it.”

For more on this story, read here.

uk happy news

3. UK Wind Generated More Electricity in 2016 than Coal (1/9)

According to recent research by Carbon Brief, UK’s coal output fell to its lowest since 1935. This milestone, wind energy outweighing coal energy, is a first for the UK and reflects a decline in the generation of coal, which contributed just 9.2% of UK electricity last year while 11.5% came from wind.

It’s also estimate that CO2 emissions from the country’s power generation fell by around 20% in 2016, as coal was succeeded by lower-emissions gas. Analysis by Carbon Brief shows that solar also generated more electricity than coal in April, again, the first month ever for this to occur. This trend continued between April to September 2016.

For more on this story, read here.

4. Journalist Investigates Links between Nutrition and Health (1/10)

Journalist and author, Rachel Kelly, found herself suffering debilitating depression years ago. Despite managing her life as a busy wife and mother of two boys, while working her job as a reporter on The Times, she felt that she was coping fine with her hectic schedule. One night amidst this, she couldn’t get herself to sleep. Worry flooded her mind, and her heart rate sped up, she felt herself needing to vomit. After three nights of this, she ended up in a psychiatric hospital.

She was ill for six months and finally recovered, only to endure another severe depressive episode six years later. This led her to begin trying to make some changes in her life. She shared, “Being so ill for so long has meant that I’ve had a huge reason to try and change.” She found herself making great strides in her mental wellness through exercise and diet changes. She added, “Cultivating a healthy digestive system has proved an important way to cheer me up. As well as its role in producing these hormones, our gut also supports our immune system and digests the vital minerals and vitamins that affect our mood. Changing my diet and sweeping my kitchen clean of processed foods in favor of ‘real’ food as well as eating ‘happy’ foods such as oily fish, dark chocolate and green leafy vegetables has made me calmer and less anxious. Food has proved to be my medicine.”

She released a cookbook recently, The Happy Kitchen: Good Mood Foods, and she assists others in their mental health journeys. While Kelly’s journey will differ from the next person’s, her words, “I’ve learned how to eat myself well. It’s made me more confident after a long period without hope,” are encouraging for those of us seeking some positive, healthy change in our lifestyles, for the sake of our greater wellbeing.

For more on this story, read here.

happy news

5. Fine-Dining Restaurant Has Hired More than 200 Former Criminals (1/11)

Edwins, an upscale French restaurant in Cleveland, OH, may be the only fine-dining restaurant in the U.S. in which ex-offenders comprise the majority of the staff. More than 200 ex-convicts have gone through a six-month rotation at Edwins and not one has re-offended. Ninety percent of them have since gained permanent employment.

Owner Brandon Chrostowski shared, “I was a reckless teenager, and one night, I was arrested and thrown in jail,” said Chrostowski. “Fortunately, I had a judge who gave me a break instead of 10 years in prison. While I was on probation, I met a chef who mentored me — and once I was in the kitchen, I knew that’s where I belonged for the rest of my life.” He offers this same opportunity to his employees, providing 40-50 hours of training each week for six months and giving them each a weekly payment, as well as tips from diners. Going above and beyond, he provides a dormitory for them, as well.

For more on this story, read here.

What have you been encouraged by lately? Share something good with us in the comments below!

Images via Victoria Bardega


  1. I’m especially loving the one about food and mental health! My boyfriend and I have just started a vegan super-immunity diet and reading this I’m hoping it will help with my anxiety! What’s funny is we were grocery shopping the other day and filled our cart with basically everything in the produce section and for a second we stopped and looked at it and commented on how happy and colorful everything looked! Hopefully all of that happiness and colorfulness transfers to our bodies and moods!

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